CONCERNED about attacks on him by Boko Haram terrorists, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has promised to henceforth, be very careful in the way and manner he traverses the state.
This came following the ambush of his convoy yesterday by members of Boko-Haram insurgents, making it the second time within 48 hours he has come under their attacks.
Governor Zulum however, vowed that inspite of the cautionary measures he was putting in place, he will not be forced by the insurgents to make him chicken out of pursuing his goals of returning his people to their ancestral homes.
Recall that barely 48 hours when some members of dreaded Boko Haram ambushed convoy of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum along Cross Kauwa-Baga road in Borno State, leaving over 30 people dead including 10 policemen and four soldiers, another set of insurgents laid ambush along Monguno- Maiduguri axis and attacked the returning convoy yesterday.
The Borno State Governor declared this when the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi visited him in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to demonstrate solidarity and commiserate with him on the recent attacks on his convoy.
In a statement yesterday by NGF Head of Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Barkindo, Governor Fayemi was accompanied on the trip by the Governor of Sokoto State and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Bako Lalong.
The statement read, “The Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has promised to be careful in the way he traverses his state but vowed that that does not mean that he will be forced to chicken out of pursuing his goals of returning his people to their ancestral homes.
According to the statement, “the Forum also assisted the government and people of Borno State with N100 million, while admonishing Zulum to exercise caution in his activities in the state.”
He noted that the Borno governor had always responded to such attacks with the saying that his life was in the hands of Allah and that death will only come when Allah wills.
Fayemi emphasised that Nigeria owes the Borno people a duty to end this insurgency and nip it in the bud.
The Ekiti State Governor described how Zulum attempted to dissuade them from visiting his state but the Chairman of the NGF insisted that it is not just a duty but the most realistic thing to do because an attack against one is an attack against all.
“Responding, the Borno State governor thanked the NGF for its kind gesture saying it is not the amount of money but the gesture behind the donation that matters.
He thanked the NGF on behalf of the Borno people and went further to explain the dire condition into which the insurgency had thrown the Borno people.
He emphasised that he would not be deterred from pursuing his goals of emancipating his people because, according to him, ‘security and development are two sides of the same coin’.
Zulum argued that Borno people had been forced to be unproductive and depend on aid while noting that farming will be greatly affected by the development.
“The Chad Basin employs about 10 million people, the Sambisa Grazing Reserve and the Mandara Mountains employ 3million people but no one is farming there because the insurgents have made these places inaccessible to the people. “The situation in our state is has become very dire,” the Borno governor stated.
He however called for endurance, commitment and dedication If the people hope to be drawn out of the woods.
“He further stated that more than 800.000 people are resident in Monguno and all of them are under the age of 20, yet all of that population is lying idle, making them susceptible to going astray if nothing is done to engage them positively.
“Zulum added that Gajiram Local Government has over 300000 internally displaced persons, all of them bereft of education and employment.”
He made a passionate plea to the federal government to ensure that Chadian soldiers are invited to join the Nigeria Army in their fight against insurgency if any meaningful success is to be recorded on the battleground.
The Bornu Governor rationalised that no single army anywhere in the world has ever succeeded in quelling insurgency and requested that the government looked into ways of complimenting the efforts of the Nigeria Army with the Chadian soldiers.
He emphasised that his insinuation is not by any means undermining the Nigerian soldiers but helping them in finishing the job within an appreciable time frame.