Monday, 8 February 2016
Boko Haram not occupying any local government in Borno – Shettima
to have alleged that only 3 out of the 27 local government areas in the State were under the full control of the Nigerian Armed Forces, with the insurgents in full or partial control of most parts of the State.
The Governor spoke in response to questions by journalists shortly after arriving the Maiduguri International Airport.
Shettima had traveled to Saudi Arabia a week ago, to lead a delegation of northern Governors for series of meetings with executives of the Islamic Development Bank in Jedda, towards attracting support to rebuild the northern region.
“To me, it is unbelievable that such a statement could have emanated from Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai. I can’t believe he said that because as a Senator, he has access to the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the IGP and even the Presidency and he is not the type that even speaks to the media easily; so, this is why I am at a loss, I have not been able to get in touch with him yet to get his own side, to hear from him what he actually said; but for now, I suspect he must have been misquoted or if he wasn’t misquoted, he must have spoken based on emotional outburst and not anchored on ground realities.
“We cannot mix two things. There is a difference between Boko Haram insurgents seizing and occupying territories and Boko Haram attacking communities, these are two different things.
“In the past, Boko Haram used to come in commando styles to attack, seize, occupy communities and hold residents hostage and then administer territories, that is occupation. We no longer have that in Borno. None of the 27 local government areas is being occupied by Boko Haram. They have all been liberated. What we have are challenges still being posed by Boko Haram to show their presence and even these attacks are done from the position of weakness and not strength.
“In the past, they moved with audacity and arrogance, now they move with fear just like armed robbers do in other parts of Nigeria. Our military personnel have done marvelously well under the Buhari administration and I think we can only commend them and not vilify them.
“Buhari has shown uncommon and absolute commitment to ending this insurgency. Two sons of Borno, the Chief of Army Staff and the National Security Adviser are leading this fight and this goes to show the sincerity of the President. It was under Buhari that Bama, Mafa, Gwoza, Dikwa, Ngala and host of others were liberated.
“As we speak, we are rebuilding communities, we couldn’t have started if the situation wasn’t different from what Buhari inherited from the PDP led Presidency.
“Look, since the end of slavery and colonialism, no evil had befallen the black man worst than the emergence of the PDP as the ruling Party in Nigeria and we can all confirm this from the manner the PDP handled funds meant for procurement of arms to equip the military and protect our citizens in the northeast. Buhari cannot clean up the PDP mess in seven months, it has to be patient driven on our parts as citizens. Buhari has shown us love and empathy. Since he came, virtually every Minister has come to Borno with an agenda to heal our wounds in various aspects, we can only support the President.
“Then, leadership goes beyond talking without exhausting options, especially when dealing with an administration that is accessible to you to seek whatever clarifications you might need. There are privileges you enjoy that deny you certain rights and there are certain rights that deny you certain privileges”, Shettima said.