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.
Governor Zulum made this proclamation when the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode fayemi visited him in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to demonstrate solidarity and commiserate with him on the recent attacks on his convoy.
The Forum also assisted the government and people of Borno State with N100m.
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, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Bako Lalong.
Addressing the embattled Governor, Dr Fayemi admonished Prof Zulum to exercise caution in his activities in the state, even though he narrated how the Borno Governor always responded by saying that his life was in the hands of Allah and that death will only comes when Allah wills.
Dr 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 Gov 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”, to which the Government House Maiduguri erupted in a thunderous applaud.
The NGF Chairman announced a donation of one hundred million Naira to the Government and people of Borno State from the NGF before handing the cheque over to the Borno Governor.
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 goes further to explain the dire condition into which the insurgency had thrown the Borno people.
Gov Zulum who spoke in a sombre mood explained 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”, arguing that Borno “people had been forced to be unproductive and depend on aid.”
Painting a very gory picture of the situation of the population in Borno, Zulum narrated that 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 governor of Borno stated “because, everything calls for endurance, commitment and dedication, if our people were 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 before making a passionate plea in which he asked 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.
Zulum 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, emphasising that it is not to undermine the Nigerian soldiers but to help them in finishing the job within a realistic deadline.