A recent visit to Kano was faced with wide-scale, deeply troubling poverty. This was not always the case. This was not Kano of 15 years ago. This was not Kano of 50 years ago. Dating to as far back as the early 1900s, Kano was one of Nigeria’s fastest growing cities. Kaduna had her strength too. Both states grew in leadership and manufacturing capabilities. They had vast natural resources ranging from agriculture to cattle to minerals. Hundreds of factories rose across the states from cotton ginning to leather tanning to plastics manufacturing to tire manufacturing to vehicle production. Similarly, thousands of immigrants flocked to both states and rose in wealth and comfort.
Fast forward to a few years before year 2009, the year Boko Haram’s attacks intensified, both Kano and Kaduna states were gravely affected. Thousands of residents who could flee, fled rapidly. Hundreds of businesses shut down and hundreds of thousands of residents were left unemployed; many penniless. Poverty rose. Speaking to residents in Kano, it is evident that many are gripped with great anxiety and fear of the unknown future. Boko Haram ridden Kano and Kaduna will require time and significant efforts to fix but must not be neglected. Although Boko Haram activities have significantly reduced and have not affected the capital cities of Kano and Kaduna in over 5 years, companies and individuals continue to avoid both states, causing the economy to cripple. The government of Kano and Kaduna need to urgently provide significant incentives to bring back factories to these great high-potential states. They must ensure security, electricity, good roads/infrastructure and lucrative tax incentives to grow the high-potentials of these once great states.
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