The Borno State chapter of Niger Delta Peoples Forum has criticized elder statesman, Mr Edwin Clark over his call for the removal of governors in the three states under emergency rule.
Members of the group, who paid a solidarity visit to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state in Maiduguri, pledged their support to the governor in the fight against terrorism in the state.
The group, during a protest against full emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, said it empathises with the parents of the abducted Chibok school girls and share the pains of the government and people affected by terrorism.
The Secretary General of the forum, Stephen Ebri, faulted Clark’s agitation for full emergency in the three states.
He said members of the group used to feel ashamed when some elders from the Niger Delta speak ignorantly on issues.
“There is one issue that is seriously troubling the mind of every one of us here and that is how some of our elders from the Niger Delta that are completely ignorant of the true situation in Borno State are attacking this government that is doing everything within its powers to address the problem.
“Sir, we were in Maiduguri when you were sworn in on May 29, 2011. In case our elders in the Niger Delta do not know, there are Niger Delta people living in Borno. We are from the Niger Delta, but our difference is that we are well informed about the true situation and they are ignorant, they don’t know, they don’t want to know and we don’t think they will ever know.
The Secretary-General also added that “we are worried so much by some of the utterances of our Niger Delta brothers like Asari Dokubo and elders like Chief Edwin Clark. Only yesterday, we read an advert by Chief Edwin Clark in the newspapers calling for the removal of governors, saying all manner of things that are out of absolute and annoying ignorance.
“This is a government that appointed an Igbo man as a cabinet member and that Igbo man is in charge of community relations, that Igbo man has been with Your Excellency for many years.
“Sir, anytime people from Niger Delta speak on Borno out of ignorance, we feel very ashamed because all that they say are not the truth of the ground realities in Borno State and some people assume that we from the Niger Delta share the hate views of some of these people.
“We have had enough of them. They are trying to mislead Nigerians and they are making us unhappy in a place we have been happy for many years. In the light of the foregoing, we, the great people of the Niger Delta in Borno State, hereby, disassociate ourselves from all utterances made against the government and people of Borno State.
“Anybody calling for the military is talking out of ignorance of the laws of this country. If anyone has a military man he wants to make Governor of Borno State, he shouldn’t come through the backdoor. He should sponsor that person to retire and contest elections for the governorship of Borno in 2015 and we will be very happy to send that person letters of commiseration after we successfully and proudly re-elect Governor Kashim Shettima in 2015 to continue his great work of sustaining the peace in Maiduguri and working to attract peace in the entire Borno State” the forum said.
Governor Kashim Shettima promised that his administration will continue to work to make sure that Borno state is hospitable and safe for every Nigerian irrespective of ethnic and religious affiliations.
He also told the Niger Deltans that he regards them as Borno people, contrary to what they named their group.
“I will prefer to call you the Forum of Borno People from the Niger Delta. Some of you were born here in Borno State; some of you probably had parents or grandparents born in Borno.
“Most of you have something doing in whatever respect whether as businessmen, traders or whatever it is you are doing and by that, you are contributing to the economy of Borno State.
“The allocations given to Borno from the Federation Account is given based on our population amongst other indices being considered, and all of you here, regardless of where you consider your roots, make up the population of Borno State and this means you are stakeholders in what we get from the Federation Account, you are fully entitled to all public services and privileges that we provide as a government.
“When Boko Haram members, in their evil ways, planted explosives around the post office in January, this year, the explosives did not choose victims based on their backgrounds and what part of the country they came from, the explosives simply targeted residents of Maiduguri who happened to be on the spot. This is the same of other wicked attacks in any part of Borno State.
Governor Shettima also cautioned Nigerians particularly politicians against making inciting remarks which could destabilize the country.