Thursday, December 8, 2022

By Editor

Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar El-Kanemi, has described the problem of Boko Haram insurgency in the country as the handiwork of foreigners who penetrated the Northeast region in the guise of seeking to acquire Quranic education.

The traditional ruler, who spoke during the town hall meeting organised by Yateem Faqeer Global Foundation in Abuja, said the people of the region had suffered so much in the hands of the insurgents. 

He, however, commended the Federal Government for the successes recorded in the fight against terrorism; noting that the authorities have reclaimed the 17 Local Government Areas in Borno which were hitherto under the control of Boko Haram insurgents before President Muhammadu Buhari took over power in 2015.

According to him, "Borno has witnessed so many things, both good and bad. Boko Haram is something meaningless, mindless and without any sense of direction as none of the Holy Books, either Quran or the Bible, indicates that you show disrespect to others, burn and destroy their properties. And I want people to know that Boko Haram was never initiated or started by people of the North-East Zone. It is something they just brought to us from nowhere. 

"Boko Haram insurgents came to Borno and the North-East in the guise of acquiring Quranic education while not many knew they had an ideology which was polluted as well as promoted into the minds of the youths, and created havoc in our area. Our airport had been vandalised. We were not receiving visitors; no commercial flights, no roads. The only road we had was Maiduguri - Kano road as all other roads were besieged and taken over by Boko Haram. At that time, Maiduguri was hosting over two million people as IDPs and the majority of them were women and children suffering very seriously. 

"Honestly, we have suffered; the people have suffered. The palaces of our Emirs were destroyed; some of them were killed including other traditional rulers, religious leaders and district heads, and so many other people were killed. The North-East has so many problems. But, before we had this administration, out of the 27 local governments in Borno, 17 were under control of Boko Haram. But now, not any local government in Borno is under the control of Boko Haram.

"When these things started, we were telling people that something has to be done otherwise it will escalate to the other part of the country; they thought it was only a Borno affair, but look at it critically, everywhere today there is the problem of kidnappings, pipeline vandalism, cultism, communal clashes, and cattle rustling. So, the only permanent solution to this problem is prayer and provision of useful and credible intelligence to the security agencies."

In the same breath, former Chief of Army Staff, General Alwali Kazir (rtd) dismissed insinuations that the bandits and other armed criminal gangs operating in the Northwest and other parts of the country were the offshoots of Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast; insisting that apparent ideological differences separated them. Nevertheless, he recommended both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches as panacea to Nigeria's insecurity.

Kazir explained, "The terrorists or the insurgents are very smart. When they find it difficult to operate in a particular place, they will look for softer ground. Now don't forget, those operating in the Northeast may not be the same people as those operating elsewhere. Don't forget, when Boko Haram started, they were not kidnapping people for ransom. They were kidnapping people to convert them for their own purposes. Later on, the issue of kidnapping for ransom. reared its ugly head. For such people their own motives and ideology must be different from that of Boko Haram.

"The security agencies must be up and coming with dealing with such criminals. Also, don't forget, there's also another way out - Dialogue. Yes. When do you dialogue? How would you dialogue? With whom would you dialogue? That is the situation. Those two must be used i.e. the kinetic method and then dialogue."

Also speaking, the National Coordinator, National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Umar Buba Bindir, called for the formulation of a 15-year regional policy and strategy to rehabilitate and develop the Northeast region post-Boko Haram era.

"In the national interest, if Nigeria does not understand that it should work with us to help the Northeast, it should note that a danger to one region is a danger to all regions. If this thing continues in the Northeast, it will reach Lagos. There is no gap to danger. So, in my opinion, we would have done more quality infrastructure. But how do we do this? We must have a deliberate regional development policy and strategy. 

"We have universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education in all these states. All of us here have sons and brothers who are professors and PhD holders. We must put these people in a room to develop a strategy to actualize this, and then new put all our political leaders irrespective of their party, and the governors will have to accept this and then subscribe to it,' he said. 

On her part, the Chairperson of Yateem Faqeer Global Foundation, Hajiya Yagana Abba Hassan, said the mission of the humanitarian organisation is to serve humanity and to provide sustainable economic assistance to communities affected by insecurity to help them fight extreme poverty amongst other challenges.

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