Joel: Why I’m calling out el-Rufai over my father’s death

WHAT was the first thing that ran through your mind when you first heard that your father was killed?                   

I can’t really recall exactly how I felt because I felt bad. There was no word and there is still no word to describe how hurt I feel; having my father killed that way prematurely. I am the only son of my late father. I have two sisters, so automatically, I have just being given a father’s duty. My mother has just been rendered a premature widow, my sisters don’t have any biological father anywhere to walk them down the aisle.

So, there is a whole lot involved in this thing. Why I’m speaking out is not just because of the fact that my father was killed, I also lost my aunty, my uncle in that same killing and other close relatives.  But  I am calling out particularly on Governor Nasir El-Rufai who till now hasn’t come out to make or give a speech or even visit the community or communities where these killings happened to even give the people hope that as the Governor, he is ensuring and promising that there will be protection of lives and properties.

Apart from just giving his words, we need actions to be taken, because after that killing or since that killing happened till now, I can assure from reliable source from our community and other communities that there are still no police, no army in those areas. These killers or bandits or Fulani herdsmen enter from the forests, how come the military has not been authorised to go into these forests to ensure that these people are completely wiped off or arrested and brought to book. I feel there is something going on  that nobody is telling us, and it’s either that the Governor is aware or is not bothered that this thing is happening under his tenure. All fingers are pointing at him and he is not doing anything about it. He is comfortable and he is not doing anything about it if you asked me.

You said something earlier that you would need the government to come out and say something. If the Government comes out to say something, would you believe them ?

I won’t believe them. When I say the government should come out and say something, they are not stupid enough to think that I am just saying they should come out and make those fake promises and ghost speeches. When I say they should come out and say something they know what I’m saying; take action!

So, you are holding the government responsible…

If you are the head of the house and you are capable of doing something and you are not doing it, your family is starving and you are a billionaire, all fingers will be pointing at you. How can you be a billionaire as a father and your children are not feeding fine? That is how we feel right now. How can you be a governor, a capable governor that can do something and you are still not doing anything?

Are you now speaking out because your father was a victim?

I have spoken before but I think it will not be an accurate statement to say because my father died, I am talking. I have spoken before but now that my father is dead, definitely it will be louder because my father was involved. I had a meeting on Thursday July 23, with a cousin here in Magodo, Lagos to do a song. I have a foundation and we wanted to do a song.

My foundation has been launched and is registered. We said we were going to do a song, visit the Kaduna State Government, and let them know that we are interested in using my platform to talk about peace in the state. The next day, my father was killed. We had a meeting on July 23 and my father was shot the following day. If my father had not been killed, I still would have gone ahead with that project.

Would you still be able to go to Kaduna?

I have been warned by different reliable sources not to come to Kaduna; that there are threats against me. However, I wouldn’t want to disclose who my sources are.

Do you think it is enough to call on the Governor of Kaduna State only or are you joining the President?

I feel the President is far from here. He is deaf to our cries because how can they be killing in your country and you are in Mali for peacekeeping? Now it is said everywhere, even Governor el- Rufai said it in an interview, that these killers are from Mali and Guinea. They were killing people in southern Kaduna, one of the states and regions in your country and you were in the same Mali for peacekeeping. Okay good, probably you had already left for Mali before they started these killings. How come you returned from Mali and you couldn’t visit these communities as the President of the country? That is the only issue I have.

Would it be right to say that there is no form of unity or collaboration amongst artistes?

It is unfortunate that my father is late and I don’t want to dwell on the fact that because my father is late, I expect every artiste to be my friend. You know it has always been said that the industry is fake, know your circle, know your clique, know your this, know your that.

I have never had the orientation that I should come into the industry and force people to be my friends. But I’ve tried to reach out to a couple of actors and celebrities that are willing to support. I cannot invite all the artistes for my press conference because of social distancing and all of that. I have different listed projects to be carried out concerning these killings that I can’t really disclose right now because I don’t want some people from Kaduna State to know. I will definitely be involving them.

Some are more powerful with their social media handles; they don’t really need to come physically. I don’t want to give anybody the impression that musicians are not supportive. Sometimes, you need to cry to be listened to.

A picture of you with some actors recently surfaced. Are you working with them on this same project?

Yes, there was a shoot that took place recently; Ice prince, Aki of Aki and Pawpaw, Hilda Dokubo, Sound Sultan and a lot of others were involved. Some even came after I left because I had another interview. There is a whole lot going on underground.

These whole killings and all, do you think it’s political?

Definitely, fingers are pointing at some names in politics that we feel are from some arms of government.

What kind of relationship did you have with your late father?

The last time I saw my father was in 2010. We spoke a week before he was killed, about family and business. And because I just ventured into agriculture this year before the COVID-19, I was using part of his land in the community to do my ginger farming.  We also discussed about expanding my agricultural business to Lagos. That was about what we discussed. Unfortunately, we cannot now go to the farm. I can’t even send anybody to the farm to harvest the ginger.

How safe are the rest of your family?

Right now, they have moved out of Kaduna. They are somewhere safe. I’m just waiting for things to calm down so I will probably relocate them to Lagos because the community is no longer safe for them to live in.

I thought you were originally from Benue State?

My Mother is from Benue State and my father is from Kaduna State.