Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima on Monday lamented the terror attacks on communities in the North-East and declared that Boko Haram members were better armed and motivated than Nigerian troops.Briefing State House correspondents shortly after meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan and service chiefs over Saturday’s insurgents attack on Izghe, a largely Christian community in Gwoza Local Government Area, Shettima stated that going by the rising activities of the sect, Nigeria was in a state of war.
He spoke just as the Northern States Governors’ Forum said the onslaughts by the sect had gone beyond the traditional pattern of attacks.
Jonathan had summoned the service chiefs immediately he arrived at the Presidential Villa, Abuja from Lagos where he held private meetings and consultations over the weekend.
None of them spoke with journalists at the end of the meeting, which was also attended by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
Pointing out that the Federal Government might not be able to defeat the Boko Haram Islamists, Shettima said more resources must be committed to the anti-terror war if the government really desired victory.
The governor said, “In a nutshell, what we are being confronted with is that we are in a state of war. It is what I came to update Mr. President.The sooner we stop playing the ostrich and rise up to the challenges of the day, and marshall all resources towards neutralising the antics of Boko Haram, the better for all of us.
“But the bottom line is that we need more resources, more vote on the ground. In all fairness to the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and Police, they are doing their best given the circumstances they have found themselves in.
“I made it emphatically clear to Mr. President that the Boko Haram members are better armed and better motivated than our own troops. Anybody who is following events in this country can attest to the fact that they have a very smooth sail overrunning communities, killing people.
“I am an eternal optimist as I have always said but I am also a realist. Given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible for us to defeat Boko Haram.”
In Kaduna, Kaduna State, the Chairman of the NSGF, Babangida Aliyu, also lamented the rising number of attacks by insurgents and called for a political will by members of the forum to wipe them out.
“The situation has gone beyond the normal pattern that we gave to Boko Haram and I think we need to really appreciate the gravity of the situation,” Aliyu, told journalists.
The governor , who spoke on the agenda of a one-day general meeting by the forum, said now was the time for the NSGF to give the Federal Government every support to root out Boko Haram.
He said, “ We must take a position on the crisis in the North-East. If it is a political will on our part, we must create that political will to end the crisis in the North-East.
“Many countries will go to war on the death of one person but we seem to be callous about what is happening in the North-East. We must encourage the government(Federal Government) to arrest the situation.”
Aliyu, who is also the governor of Niger State, urged his colleagues to be frank and refrain from any partisanship in discussing some of the challenges confronting the region.
Apart from the security situation in the region, other issues that formed the agenda of the meeting, were oil and gas exploration; cattle rustling and the Almajiri system.
Among those who attended the Monday meeting were Governor Musa Kwakwanso of Kano State, Ahmed Abdulfattah (Kwara), Usman Dakingari (Kebbi) and Gabriel Suswam (Benue).
The deputy governors of Jigawa, Gombe, Kogi and Katsina represented their states.
Suswam’s presence at the meeting was a surprise to his colleagues and journalists as he had in June 2013 vowed not to attend any activity by the NSGF.
He arrived at the late Gen. Hassan Katsina House, venue of the meeting at about 11.19am in a black Mercedes Benz jeep marked ABC 928 AL and went straight into the presidential lodge where the meeting took place.
Suswam, his Bauchi and Katsina state counterparts, Issa Yuguda and Ibrahim Shema, had in the wake of the controversial election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum which gave rise to two factions, alleged betrayal by their colleagues in the region.
They had claimed that they endorsed Plateau Governor Jonah Jang as their consensus candidate for the NGF top post.
In the election which was held in Abuja, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, scored 19 as against 16 votes garnered by Jang .