Out of office, Governor Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State, may not be able to sleep with all eyes closed as his successor, Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday hinted that he will certainly probe his predecessor. He said the aim of the probe will be to recover funds belonging to the state which were allegedly stolen during the life of the incumbent administration. Specifically, El-Rufai said “the APC-led government will ask politicians who stole government money to return such funds”. He spoke when executive committee of the National Union of Textile Garments and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria paid him a courtesy visit.
El-Rufai said that his government was going to inherit a huge debt burden due to mismanagement of state resources, adding that, “this is because the people who are in government now are there to work for themselves but the APC government is made up of people who are ready to work for the masses and the good of the country. “We will work with the textile union to ensure that lives of the average Nigerians get better”, he also said. El-Rufa’i further decried what he described as the “shameful” state of the textile industry in the area, pledging that his government will reverse the trend. According to him, textile industries in Kaduna used to employ a total of about 33,000 workers, saying that the current figure of 1,600 employees was unacceptable. He said that the APC government would revive the textile industries in order to generate more employment and improve lives of the people.
“We have met at a forum of northern governors-elect and we decided to ensure the revival of the textile industries. “It is a shame that the largest economy in Africa imports textile materials from Senegal and other countries”, he said. Speaking earlier, President of the union, Comrade Oladele Hunsu, urged El-Rufa’i to work towards resuscitating the textile industry. According to Hunsu, 26 states grow cotton of both long and short stable lengths. “Sadly, Nigeria has become a dumping ground for smuggled fabrics and even second-hand banned unhealthy cloths. “In the 70s and up to early 80s, Nigeria was the largest producer of different range of textile, garment and carpet products surpassed in production only by Egypt and South Africa.
“The first textile mill in sub-Sahara Africa started in 1957. It is Kaduna Textile Limited (KTL) opened by the late Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello. “Key problems facing the textile industry in particular and manufacturing industries in general are infrastructural inadequacy, electricity supply, smuggling, counterfeiting and faking, raw materials among others. “The major threat to the realization of the great potential of Nigeria in textile production is high influx of counterfeit and smuggled goods. “Over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s huge market size is dominated by smuggled and counterfeit goods, killing local companies in Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Gusau, Aba and Port Harcourt, and millions of direct and indirect associated local jobs”, Hunsu noted.