SECRETARY to the Borno State Government, Ambassador Baba Ahmad Jidda, has lamented that most parts of the state are being occupied by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Jidda, who spoke in an individual capacity in Abuja, at the weekend, called for a stakeholders’ summit of eminent citizens of the North-East zone, to articulate a broad-based solution to the threat posed by the insurgents.
According to him, government’s presence and administration remained minimal or non-existent across many parts of the state, with economic, commercial and social services totally subdued.
He said “schools and clinics remain closed. Most settlements in the affected areas in the state have either been deserted or access to them practically impossible, thus majority of the political stakeholders cannot, in real fact, reach their constituencies.
“So, the threat of insecurity affects everybody, irrespective of political differences. The enabling environment for politics and electioneering campaign is simply not obtainable at present in Borno State,” he said.
This was as he cautioned that scheming for elective offices for 2015, in the face of threat to survival of the country, was callous and repulsive.
He challenged politicians in the country to de-emphasise discussions on 2015 election in the state or anywhere in the country, owing to the rampaging onslaught by the Boko Haram insurgents.
He argued that there was the need for all stakeholders in the country and Borno State in particular to jettison politicking for now.
“In the view of this, the thought about politics and pursuit of political interest in this environment appears absurd, callous and morally repulsive.
“In the light of this, it is absolutely essential for all patriotic citizens of Borno State to rise in unison to focus and proffer solution to the challenges posed by insecurity, which is a real threat to our collective survival.
“In this regard, it is, hereby proposed first that a meeting of all stakeholders, elders and statesmen from Borno State, irrespective of sectarian, ethnic and political persuasions, should be convened, to review the state of affairs in the state.
“Second, this group should seek audience with President Goodluck Jonathan to present collectively, the unbearable conditions imposed on the people of Borno State by this, including the agony and pains of the abducted Chibok girls and their parents.
“Such an approach is expected to specifically open gates for decisively tackling insecurity and its attendant economic and social burdens on Borno State, the North-East zone and Nigeria as a whole.
“Finally, related to this is the proposed bye-election for Jere Local Government House of Assembly constituency. It is imperative to appeal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone forthwith, this bye-election slated for October 3.
“This fervent call is necessary, because the environment is not conducive for conducting elections. At the moment, Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere Local Government are full of refugees from Marte, Gwoza, Ngala, Bama and other parts of the state.
“Once again, I wish to stress that in Borno State today, pursuit of personal or partisan interests can wait till peace, law and order is fully obtained.
“At this juncture, it is pertinent to make some clarifications. Though I remain a member of All Progressives Congress (APC), current SSG in Borno State and having served the nation in the past as Ambassador of the Federal Republic and SSA to the President, I make this particular call in my individual capacity, as a privileged citizen and elder in Borno State.
“I, therefore, crave your indulgence not to see my current endeavour from any political standpoint, but one borne out of patriotic interest for the peace and development of Borno State, the North-East zone and Nigeria.”
Insurgents expand territory, move into Michika
From James Bwala and Wale Akintunde
REPORTS from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, indicated, on Sunday, that residents are living in fear of uncertainties.
This came after locals in Bama informed some of their relatives in Maiduguri that the soldiers had moved almost 30 kilometres away from Bama, while the insurgents, on the other hand, had invaded Gulak, Michika and Madagali in Adamawa State.
The development in Adamawa, it was gathered, forced some residents of Uba and Mubi to leave their homes for Yola, the state capital.
Sources who, on Sunday, spoke to the Nigerian Tribune on phone said the insurgents were expanding their territories, in order to create more rooms to accommodate their fighters and equipment.
In Adamawa, panic has gripped residents of Madagali, Michika and Gulak towns, as gang of Boko Haram besieged the northern part of the state.
Gulak, it will be recalled, was the first to be attacked on Friday, while Michika and Madagali were attacked thereafter, a development that made the residents to scamper for safety.
There were, however, claims and counter-claims from the military and locals of the towns the distribution of foods and arms to members of the sect.
While the locals said the sect had continued to use helicopter to distribute food and equipment to the insurgents, the military denied such claims.
“There are some of the insurgents who were arrested in Baga town, we learnt that they told security operatives that helicopters supplied them with food and weapons, but the government has continued to deny this,” a local told the Nigerian Tribune.
However, other sources told the Nigerian Tribune that fighter jets were hovering around Bama town and bombing the insurgents.
The sources asked the military to move the jets to Gwoza to destroy the Boko Haram caliphate in the town.
Borno govt to establish mobile clinics, schools
By James Bwala -Maiduguri
FOLLOWING series of attacks and displacement of people by the Boko Haram insurgents, the Borno State government is planning to establish and equip mobile clinics in the state.
The government also planned to build more primary and secondary schools in the state, so as to cater for those affected in nine council areas and resettlement camps at Biu, Uba and Maiduguri metropolis.
Addressing citizens in a state-wide broadcast in Maiduguri on Saturday, Governor Kashim Shettima said the establishment of mobile clinics and schools had become inevitable to meet healthcare challenges and education of “orphans and widows.”
He said already, a task force had established clinics at the resettlement camps at Biu, Uba and in Maiduguri metropolis for healthcare delivery services and other emergency health matters.
“This taskforce is coordinating the efficiency of the clinics to guarantee the availability of health personnel, drugs, ambulances and other required materials at all times.
“It is also moving round Maiduguri metropolis and environs, including Konduga, Kawauri, Bulabulin Ngaura, Kayamla, Mainok and Jakana, to source for and attend to the health needs of these victims on both emergency and lesser cases.
The governor also said “defeating the insurgency is a collective task that must be done,” adding that “we must not be distracted. We must remain united, focused and vigilant.”
The governor affirmed that it was for the aforementioned reasons that he returned home amidst rumoured fears held by some residents on possible attacks on Maiduguri.
“I cut short my official trip to Sudan and United Kingdom (UK) last week Tuesday, so we can be together as we have always been in trying to overcome the threats before us.
“I am confident that together we can overcome this challenge. Our condition cannot be permanent, no condition, ever was. We can overcome this problem with the right attitude from the top to bottom,” he said.[Nigerian Tribune]