Governor Kashim Shettima has yesterday urged the Military to redouble their efforts in clearing remnants of the Boko Haram sect still occupying some communities of Gudumbali, Abadam and Marte Local Government Areas in Northern Borno Senatorial District, so that thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who are willing to vacate camps from Niger, Chad Republic and other resettlement areas in the country can go back home and pick up their pieces.
Shettima frowned at the situation where thousands of IDPs whose communities are still under boko haram territory who were willing to go back home cannot do so due to pockets of attacks.
He said this situation have forced many IDPs to turn into professional beggars and strongly depend on food and other relief items from United Nations and other humanitarian donor agencies for survival, insisting that, it was not in the culture and tradition of Borno people to beg for alms.
Shettima stated this when he paid a courtesy call on the Brigade Commander/Sector 3 of the Multi National Joint Task Force, MNJTF, Brigadier General O.O. Soyele and his troops at their Headquarters in Baga town.
Baga is on the fringes of Lake Chad Basin and largest producer of Fish in the country, that was hitherto overrun by Boko Haram with the massacre of 300 residents and fishermen with the destruction of over 2000 houses on 16th April, 2013, before it was later liberated by the military in 2015.
Shettima while addressing officers and men of the military said he was on a 2 Day official tour of six Local Government Areas of Magumeri, Nganzai, Guzamala, Marte, Monguno and Kukawa to flagg off the distribution of 11,000 bags of Rice, Soyabeans, Sorghum and other relief items to households and IDPs under the Federal Government Emergency Food Intervention in the North East.
His words: “We are in your area of responsibility to see our people, especially thousands of the IDPs who are in dare need of food and other incentives.
“We as a Government have started rebuilding all destroyed public and private infrastructures. We are building new General Hospitals in Baga and Gajiram town, in addition to over 20 Model Primary and Secondary Schools in Monguno, Gajiram, Kukawa and other Local Government Areas across the State.
“We are rebuilding houses of our people that were completely razed down by activities of insurgents, including business centers/shopping complexes and places of worship. It is interesting to know that most of these projects being handled by Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, RRR have been completed while others are at various stages of completion.
“We have also commissioned a lot of completed projects such as school classroom blocks, shopping complexes, mosques, residential houses, government lodges and other public buildings that were destroyed by the insurgents.
“I am highly impressed with troops’ performance in this part of the country, and I want to appeal to the military here to intensify efforts in clearing remnants of boko Haram in Abadam, Gudumbali and other communities for their people who are displaced go back and pick up their pieces.
“As a Government, I assure you of our unflinching support in the fight against insurgency and other criminals terrorizing our territories. Staying in this unhospitable area with risks involved is highly shocking, but commendable.
“I promise to be coming to this area on a monthly basis for the period of six months to see how we can partner together and degrade boko haram and restore dignity of our people”. Shettima said.
Briefing the Governor on the activities of the command, Brigadier General Soyele said the security situation in Baga and other parts of area of responsibility is calm, though unpredictable.
He admitted that there were pockets of attacks by insurgents in communities of Doro Duguri, where five fishermen were killed recently.
He explained that even in some surrounding communities of Doron Baga, Ali Sheriffti, Tumbun Jaki, other highlands/Islands and riverine areas around the Lake Chad Region, where relative peace was witnessed, there were renewed attacks by insurgents, adding that the ongoing ‘Riverine Clearance Operations’ by troops under his command, with support by fishermen and other locals, pockets of boko haram attacks will soon be a history.
“We have some challenges regarding our operations, but I assure the people of this region that very soon, we will all sleep with our eyes closed. We have been receiving full support from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, particularly on the ongoing operations and the free medical outreach to people.
“But the challenges has to do with the nature of some riverine/ highland areas, where these boko haram took advantages to perpetrate their evil acts, but with support from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in collaboration with Nigerian Navy, Civilian JTF, fishermen, locals and government at all levels, these challenges will be summountable soon”. General Soyele stated.
He therefore thanked the Governor for the visit and the state government’s support to the military in the fight against boko haram sect.