The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal on Saturday led a Presidential delegation on a sympathy visit to the people of Borno State at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari. The visit was in response to a suicide attack on predawn worshippers at a mosque in Polo-High Court, a new community layout in Maiduguri, on Friday which left five persons dead and scores severely injured. The delegation had the National Secretary of the APC, Mala Buni, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu among others. The delegation visited the Maiduguri Specialist Hospital and met victims.
The SGF who was received by Governor Kashim Shettima at the Government House, Maiduguri, said President Buhari had asked the team to visit Borno, meet victims of the attacks and commiserate with them over the unfortunate incident and to reassure them that the Federal Government was fully committed to ending the Boko Haram insurgency by December, 2015. Lawal also said that the President was calling on residents to increase their involvements in community policing so as to identify strangers in their midst with a view to reporting to appropriate authorities to prevent planned attacks. The SGF also said President Buhari was solidly behind Governor Kashim Shettima and acknowledges the Governor’s firm commitments to complimenting the efforts of the Federal Government in the fight against insurgency. He added that the President also admires Shettima’s compassion towards the welfare of Borno citizens and as such the FG will always be ready to support the Government of the State whenever such help was required.
Meanwhile, Governor Kashim Shettima has since summoned an Imams of mosques in Maiduguri, Jere and surrounding areas as well as district heads, village heads and those manning streets called lawans and Bulamas for a security meeting to be facilitated by the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi. Shettima had sent out the invitation on Friday with the meeting scheduled for Sunday to discuss firm measures that might require policy pronouncements aimed at addressing the newest attacks on mosques during prayers as carried out by insurgents.
The Governor informed the Presidential delegation that he was taking part in the meeting hoping that the outcome will be fruitful.
Shettima thanked the President for the visit noting that despite the attacks, whoever assumes insurgents were winning the war is far from the truth. The Governor recalled that there have been serious changes in the ongoing counter insurgency since President Buhari assumed the mantle of leadership, listing that the Nigerian troops liberated Gamboru, Dikwa and Mafa in the last five months of Buhari’s administration. He said insurgents were confined to villages in the outskirts due to consistent pressure from the military. Shettima however said that there were still insurgents in some parts of Abadam local government area of northern Borno while the military has presence in other flash points like Marte, also in northern part of the State. He nonetheless expressed high optimism that the insurgents would be brought to their needs from indicators available to him.
“At some point, Boko Haram overran 20 out of our 27 local government areas in Borno State. They overran four local government areas in Adamawa and two in Yobe. For us in Borno, we are combining whatever we are doing with the second phase which is reconstruction, rehabilitation and re-settlement of victims. Our plan is to close all Internally Displaced Persons ( IDPs) camps by May 29, 2016 after rebuilding all communities with all sons and daughters of Borno back to their homes. We don’t want to allow camps to beome homes like we have seen with a camp in Kenya which has been in existence for over 20 years. We are sure that Mr President will give us the support we need in the reconstruction works so that we rebuild Borno. We will do everything humanly possible to rebuild every affected community insha Allah, we have already started with Kaga in northern Borno under the first phase and we will accelerate to other phases. Borno shall overcome it’s challenges and be great again insha Allah” Shettima said.
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