Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, yesterday, broke down in tears at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over the increasing spate of killings by Boko Haram insurgents in his state. Reports indicate that Boko Haram terrorists may have taken full control of Baga town, after series of heated battle with Nigerian soldiers.
But, Shettima, who led elders from the state to seek the President’s urgent intervention in the crisis, had hardly finished reading his address to the President before he broke into tears. Our correspondent gathered that the meeting between the President and the Borno elders was a follow-up to an earlier emergency security meeting held in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital over the crisis.
However, Shettima, in a moody tone, expressed confidence in the ability of President Buhari and the Federal Government to restore peace to the troubled state. According to the governor, they were in the Villa to meet President Buhari with the belief that government will give the people of the state a renewed hope.
He said: “Between 2013 and 2014, we witnessed the most daring and most vicious evil of the Boko Haram, losing 20 local government areas. However, we rushed here because of the recent upsurge in the activities of the demented monster called Boko Haram, especially in Borno North senatorial district. We are here because since prayed and waited for your presidency with the firm belief that with you as the commander-inchief, Boko Haram will become history in Borno. “Mr President, we have not, and Insha Allah, we will not lose hope in you because we have witnessed and survived worse moments before you came. We do not feel hopeless. Our hopes are very much alive and they are very high. “We came with some observation and 10 requests for urgent presidential intervention.
These observations and requests are products of discussion in the aftermath of our extra-ordinary security meeting held one week ago. “We didn’t rush to come after the meeting. We felt the need to travel to northern Borno, interact with displaced persons and the military, so as to strengthen public confidence. “I will seek the understanding of the journalists by not making public any of our observation and 10 requests. They are matters of security, which we hope to discuss with Mr. President in a close-door.”
The meeting which was initially opened to the media later went into a closed door. 2015, Mr. President, you were able to restore our hope. “Sir, you have demonstrated empathy for Borno and the overriding commitment to ending the Boko Haram. This is why we rushed here on witnessing some set back. “We are here because we thought that Allah will use you to fully reclaim Borno traditional glory of being the home of peace.
We are here as a people who worked, It was attended by lawmakers representing the three senatorial districts of the state, members of the House of Representatives, All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, traditional and religious. Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, in a statement confirmed that President Buhari, during the meeting, reasserted his administration’s unwavering support to equip the military to overcome the insurgency in the North-East. The President also told the delegation from Borno State that the collective safety and security of civilians will continue to remain paramount in the administration’s strategy to restore peace and stability in the region.
“Having been a former governor in the North- East, a GOC in the region and very familiar with the terrain, I assure you that as Commander-in-Chief, I’ll raise the standard of the Nigerian Armed Forces and get the resources to encourage them to do better than what they are doing,” Buhari was quoted to have said. The President also told members of the delegation that he was impressed by their leadership roles and participation in helping the government deal with the insurgency in the North-East.
The President commended the contributions of the stakeholders from Borno State and particularly stressed the need for more air support for troops on the ground and coordination among different security agencies. “I am getting at least weekly situation report from the services and of course from other sources. I encourage the commanders to remain committed,” he said. President Buhari also thanked Governor Shettima for demonstrating leadership in the State during these difficult times. ‘‘I have an idea how much you are doing and I very much appreciate it. I’m sure that has earned you more respect from the people,” he said. Others who attended the meeting were the Chief of Defence Staff General Abayomi Olonisakin; National Security Adviser (NSA), General Babagana Monguno; Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Ysuf Magaji Bichi and Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.