Governor Kashim Shettima alongside Heads of the Army, Police and Department of State Security and the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi on Sunday held a closed door meeting with Imams of mosques in Maiduguri, Jere and surrounding areas as well as district heads (Aja) and ward heads (Lawans) for a crucial security discussions that aimed at developing fresh strategies to prevent recent tricks deployed by Boko Haram insurgents who attack worshippers at predawn prayers at mosques in Maiduguri.
The meeting which held at the multi-purpose hall of the Government House, Maiduguri, was at the instance of Governor Shettima and facilitated by the Shehu of Borno who is the spiritual and traditional head of the State. The General Officer Commanding the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, the Police Commissioner and the Director of the DSS were in attendance along with other senior officers of security agencies.
Governor Shettima told the participants that similar meetings will be held by the Emirs of Biu and Shani who will imams in local government areas that not yet under attack in order for worshippers not to be taken unawares. Shettima told the invitees that they were carefully selected because of the strategic leadership positions they occupy in their communities. He said while the Imams lead worshippers during congregational prayers and also head management of various mosques, ward heads are required to ensure that worshippers in every mosque across the over 30 wards in Maiduguri, Jere and surrounding areas adhere strictly to the resolutions reached at the meeting in order to enhance community policing. Shettima also said that district heads who by tradition, coordinate and supervise the activities of ward heads under their territories, we’re invited to be part of the discussions so that they also ensure that ward heads under them comply with the security resolutions by oversighting imams.
The Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi who also addressed the gathering said Governor Shettima demonstrated wisdom in summoning the meeting, noting that every son and daughter of Borno has a role to play in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency that has left in its wake, deaths and destructions across the State.
Security representatives used the meeting to brief the participants on the importance of their collaboration and also educated them with useful security tips aimed at preventing further attacks on mosques. Metal detectors were handed over to some of the Imams which are to be deployed in searching worshippers. Undisclosed measures were also taken with all participants making commitments to the measures taken.
The meeting also provided avenue for the Imams, district and ward heads who spoke in local languages to raise issues of concerns they had on matters of security after which there was deep interactive between them and the security agents with deeper understanding achieved to enhance the commitment of all participants to the fight against insurgency.
In his opening address which was open to press, the State Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Usman Zannah said Governor Shettima sent out the invitation on Friday and it was based on the Governor’s trust and fate in the Imams and other participants. He said the Governor was committed to the safety of citizens in all the 27 local government areas in Borno State. He said Shettima was pained the insurgents were determined to stop worshippers from exercising their freedom of practicing their religion mainly because the worshippers do not subscribe to the Boko Haram ideology.
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