Borno Govt Suspends French NGO Over Shooting Training At Maiduguri Hotel

Some of the toy guns seized by the Borno state government from French NGO, ACTED, on June 26, 2021.
Some of the toy guns seized by the Borno state government from French NGO, ACTED, on June 26, 2021.

 

Blessing Tunoh, Maiduguri

Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, has directed the immediate suspension of ACTED, an international Non-Governmental Organization (iNGO) following Saturday’s discovery that the humanitarian organisation was using a hotel in Maiduguri for training some persons on shooting.

Zulum’s spokesperson, Malam Isa Gusau, who announced the Governor’s directive, said the French iNGO was found using toy guns and simulators in training exercises at a hotel located off circular road in Maiduguri.

Gusau explained that residents near the hotel had reported to officials that they were hearing sounds of gunshots from the hotel, following which government officials reported the matter to GRA Divisional Police Headquarters which oversees the hotel’s location.

The police found three toy pistols at the hotel while two trainers, both Nigerians, were at the police station with investigation ongoing.

The statement said pending the outcome of police investigation, Governor Zulum has directed sealing of the hotel and suspension of ACTED from any humanitarian activity in Borno State.

Gusau noted that Governor Zulum acknowledges and deeply appreciates the roles of credible iNGOs which have been providing critical humanitarian interventions in different parts of Borno.

He assured them of government’s continued cooperation and support while also upholding obedience to prevailing laws, policies and rules guiding all activities and actions across the state.

Buhari Visits Borno, Addresses Troops Fighting Insurgency

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday visited Borno State and addressed troops on the frontline battling insurgency in the Northeast.

The President landed at the airport located at the Air Force base in Maiduguri, the state capital a few minutes before 10.00 am on Thursday for the one-day working visit.

He was received by the state governor Babagana Zulum and other top government officials in the state.

Students were lined up on the streets while military and paramilitary officers were also at the Headquarters of Operation Hadin Kai also to receive the President.

The President during the visit addressed Nigerian army troops at the headquarters of Theatre Command Operation Heading Kai and 7 Division Nigerian Army, Maiduguri Malari Cantonment, Maiduguri.

He also commissioned some projects including 4,000 houses which were part of the Federal Government’s housing project, as well as some local projects executed by the state government.

In a statement issued earlier, the Borno State government said “the President would commission the first phase of the 10,000 houses which he graciously approved and funded for the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.”

According to the Governor, the housing project in Borno is the largest Federal Government housing intervention sited in one state.

Governor Zulum highlighted the other projects approved which he attributed to the President’s compassion and concern for the humanitarian situation in the state.

See more photos from the President’s visit to Borno…

Buhari To Visit Borno, Inaugurate 4,000 Houses Built For IDPs On Thursday – Zulum

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will arrive in Maiduguri on Thursday on a one-day working visit to Borno State, Governor Babagana Zulum has said.

Governor Zulum who disclosed this on Tuesday evening at the Government House in the state capital noted that the President would be appraising the security situation in the northeast.

During his visit, he said the President would inaugurate 4,000 houses which were part of the Federal Government’s housing project, as well as some local projects executed by the state government.

“The President would commission the first phase of the 10,000 houses which he graciously approved and funded for the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.”

According to the Governor, the housing project in Borno is the largest Federal Government housing intervention sited in one state.

He, therefore, urged the resident to come out and accord the President a rousing welcome and reminds the people of Maiduguri of the President’s recent approval for the establishment of a power plant by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Borno, to address electricity problems.

Governor Zulum highlighted the other projects approved which he attributed to the President’s compassion and concern for the humanitarian situation in the state.

“Most respectfully, I urge all of us to demonstrate Borno’s creed of hospitality which we are known for, with the culture of dignity, the culture of respect, and the culture of honouring our guest.

“Let us once again show the Borno in all of us as we host our guest,” he pleaded.

President Buhari’s last visit to Maiduguri was in February 2020 where a viral video showed youths in front of the Ramat Polytechnic booing at his convoy as he made his way into the town from the airport.

His visit was to sympathise with the people of the state over the attack on stranded travellers in Auno that left many dead.

Attahiru Was Determined To End Boko Haram – Zulum

Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum and other top dignitaries observe prayers at the National Mosque in Abuja during burial rites for the COAS Attahiru.

 

Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum on Saturday paid tributes as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and ten other officers were buried in Abuja.

In his comment, Borno Governor, Professor Zulum said the late chief of staff was evidently committed to the fight against Boko Haram and was determined to significantly contribute to ending the insurgency.

“The commitment of the late chief of army staff to the fight against Boko Haram was very obvious. Within the short time he served, he had been to Borno on multiple occasions, meeting operational commanders and troops at battlefronts.

“In all his interactions, he regularly motivated troops. The people of Borno thank him and all our gallant fallen heroes for their unquantifiable service to Borno and the rest of Nigeria,” Zulum said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Zulum was accompanied by Senator Kashim Shettima; Senator Abubakar Kyari for the funeral prayers at the National Mosque in Abuja.

Other dignitaries at the event include the Senate President, Ibrahim Lawan; Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni; Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Defence; the Sultan of Sokoto; Inspector General of Police, Comptroller General of Immigration, amongst other serving and former public office holders, top military officers, families, friends and associates of the late COAS.

Bodies of the late COAS and five others were brought by military ambulances to the national mosque for the funeral prayers that took place immediately after zuhr prayers.

The late chief of army staff had since his appointment, been to Borno State on several occasions to supervise ongoing military operations against Boko Haram.
He had visited different army formations, mobilize and motivated troops in front lines in peace-building efforts.

Insurgency: It Is My Responsibility To Tell Buhari The Truth – Zulum

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, meets with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on April 26, 2021.

 

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, on Monday met with President Muhammadu Buhari over the worsening insecurity in the north-east region of the country.

“It is my responsibility to tell the President the truth,” the governor said while briefing reporters on Tuesday on the outcome of his meet with President Buhari in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Governor Zulum condemned the growing spate of attacks across the country, particularly in the renewed activities of terrorists in the North East.

According to him, there is a need for greater support from the Presidency to surmount the insurgency crisis that has left thousands killed and millions displaced in the troubled zone.

The governor decried that the military has yet to receive the equipment ordered, noting that this might be responsible for the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria.

Some of the residents displaced by Boko Haram terrorists in Niger State.

 

His meeting with the President followed renewed attacks by Boko Haram/ Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters on communities in Borno and Yobe States in recent times.

Some of the affected places included Damasak town – where the terrorists attacked a humanitarian hub, and Mainok town where at least seven military personnel were confirmed killed – in Borno.

In Yobe, the insurgents overran Geidam and hoisted their flags there, forcing hundreds of residents, including women and children to flee to neighbouring villages.

The terrorists have also begun to expand their areas of operation from the North East recently as they took over some villages in Niger, a state in the north-central region of the country.

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, confirmed the presence of the insurgents in the state to reporters on Monday.

The visibly worried governor had said, “We have over 3,000 people here from communities that have been displaced by bandits and Boko Haram elements around Munya and Shiroro Local Government Areas.”

“There are some other communities that we think are safe but a vast majority of them (the displaced residents) will have to remain here because their villages and towns have been taken over by the Boko Haram elements; their wives have been forcefully attached to Boko Haram elements,” he added.

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Zulum Spends Night In Damasak, Says Boko Haram Killed 18 Residents

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, visits Damasak town on April 15, 2021.

 

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, says 18 residents were killed and 21 others injured when Boko Haram insurgents attacked Damasak town.

He confirmed the figures from residents who witnessed the attack and saw several properties destroyed when he visited the town, the governor’s media aide, Isa Gusau, said in a statement on Friday.

The governor who was in Damasak on Thursday and spent the night had interactions with soldiers and others security forces involved in the counter-insurgency operations in the town.

He also sympathised with the residents and assessed the level of destruction caused by the insurgents, noting that Tuesday’s attack on Damasak was the sixth in two weeks.

A photo taken on April 15, 2021, shows a deserted community after Boko Haram insurgents attacked Damasak, a town in Borno State.

 

According to the statement, thousands of residents who had fled to border communities in the Niger Republic returned on Friday while residents to the governor that the insurgents attacked the town with three gun trucks.

The UN humanitarian hub, private residential houses, a police station, the palace of the district head, a primary healthcare centre, and a GSM Village were among property destroyed.

Governor Zulum assured the residents of robust measures to avert future insurgent attacks on Damasak, saying he has directed the strengthening of agricultural activities in the town.

A photo taken on April 15, 2021, shows some residents and cattle in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

 

As part of the measures, he held an operational meeting with soldiers and other security forces after which he presented 12 security vehicles, including an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and 11 patrol vehicles.

The governor travelled to Damasak along with the lawmaker representing Borno North, Senator Abubakar Kyari, who hails from the town, as well as some government officials.

Damasak, the headquarter of Mobbar Local Government Area in northern Borno, is located on the fringes of Lake Chad and shares a border with communities in the Niger Republic.

The town used to be a producer and exporter of vegetables to target markets within Nigeria and neighbouring countries before Boko Haram occupied it in 2014 as one of their caliphates.

In this photo taken on April 15, 2021, a bus burnt by insurgents is seen in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

I Have Not Lost Hope That Remaining Chibok Schoolgirls, Others Will Be Freed – Zulum

In this photo taken on April 14, 2021, the names of the Chibok girls still in captivity are displayed on desks in commemoration of the seven years anniversary since they were abducted by Boko Haram in Borno State.

 

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, is hopeful that the remaining Chibok girls and others still held captive by Boko Haram will return safely.

He stated this as an assurance to the parents of the girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok in April 2014.

“As a father of all sons and daughters of Borno, I have not lost hope that our remaining Chibok schoolgirls and other abducted persons will be safely recovered,” the governor was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Isa Gusau.

He added, “Parents of Chibok schoolgirls have been devastated, yet they have demonstrated faith and strength in the hope of reconnecting with their missing daughters.

“They deserve our continued empathy, our compassion, our support and most importantly, sharing their optimism.”

Governor Zulum, as a father of daughters, said he could not imagine the pains of having one’s daughter held by terrorists for as long as seven years.

He urged parents, especially anyone with a female child, to pause for a while and imagine how it would feel to have their daughter abducted and held for more than 2,549 days.

A file photo of Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum. Photo: [email protected]

 

Pains Of Anxiety, Depression

The governor was worried by the series of imaginations that could come to the minds of the parents and relations of the girls still held in the captivity of the insurgents.

According to him, the mental torture of not knowing the fate of one’s daughter in the hands of Boko Haram is far worse than losing a child.

“No parent can ever lose hope in a missing child and having that hope comes with so much pains of anxiety and depression,” said Governor Zulum.

He noted that he has had a series of interactions with President Muhammadu Buhari on the release of the girls, adding that the President was as concerned as their parents.

“Countless times, the President has shown me that he is not losing hope on the Chibok girls. He says to me although a number of our girls were reunited with their parents and are being catered for by the Federal Government, he is not happy until the remaining girls are freed.

“I believe the President and I urge everyone in Borno to sustain prayers for those girls and everyone in abduction to be safely freed, and for peace to be fully and permanently restored in Borno,” the governor said.

He prayed for peace in Borno and gave an assurance that the state government would not relent in its support for security agencies and funding thousands of recruited volunteers.

‘You Will Join Us Very Soon,’ Zulum Woos Bauchi Governor To APC

Governor Babagana Zulum and Governor Bala Mohammed.

 

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, will join the All Progressives Congress (APC) soon, the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has stated.

Governor Zulum said this on Thursday during the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of the N6.3 billion-worth new Bauchi State Government House.

“Let me once again express my appreciation to my colleague the governor of Bauchi State and my other colleagues, that’s Governors of North-East sub-region for giving me the support to take the forum to a greater height and indeed the next level.

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“The only quarrel that I am having with my colleague the Governor of Bauchi State is his refusal to come into APC. In sha Allah, very soon he will join us; he will join the progressive In sha Allah. I am here to support him,” Zulum said.

Zulum who is also the Chairman of North East Governors’ Forum spoke about the development of the North-East region noting that the forum has made a tremendous effort to reposition the region a few months after its establishment and it is determined to bring change.

“One of the resolutions considered during the North-East Governors forum meeting is the establishment of north-east airline and it will go a long way in ameliorating the transportation problem in the region,” Zulum added.

He added that the forum is considering the establishment of the north-east bank that will provide enabling finances to SMEs especially for young men, women, and the vulnerable to enable them to have a sustainable means of livelihood.

Insurgency: Zulum Asks FG To Seek Support From Neighbouring Countries

Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum

 

Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has called on the Federal Government to seek support from neighbouring countries in the fight against insurgency.

Zulum said this on Wednesday at the North East Governors’ Forum held in Bauchi, the state Bauchi state capital, noting that joint action is required to end the insurgency.

“Again, I want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to seek support from our neighbours, especially the Republic of Chad and Niger with a view to providing a joint action that will look into the possibility of ending this crisis.

“Furthermore, Federal Government has to look into the possibility of employing mercenaries with a view to ending this insurgency.

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“For us to end this insurgency, we must be committed enough. We must bring in external support; ensure mercenaries are hired to end this insurgency,” the governor said.

Zulum, who is also the Chairman of the North East Governors’ Forum urged the newly appointed service chiefs to devise new strategies and initiatives in tackling insecurity in the country.

“Violence been perpetrated by the insurgents seems to be on the increase both in scope and viciousness and it has become a matter of tactical necessity for the new service chiefs to devise new strategies to counter the current attacks and forestall any future attacks.

“Undoubtedly, the commitment of our military to the war against insurgency is unquestionable and the determination to succeed is undeniable.

“However the current escalation of deadly attacks by the terrorists and the various causes of actions being pursued seems to have some limitations in terms of the expected impact. Hence, the need for a new set of a pragmatic approach to completely subdue the terrorist and ultimately end the insurgency,” Zulum added.

The fourth North East Governors’ Forum meeting which was held in Bauchi had various dignitaries in attendance.

They include the host, Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri; Gombe State Governor Muhammad Yahaya; Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku among others.

British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing was also at the event.

 

Joint Support

This is not the first time Governor Zulum will be suggesting engagement of mercenaries in fighting insurgency.

The governor in November 2020 gave six recommendations to the Federal Government on how to win the war against Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents terrorising the north-eastern region of Nigeria.

The governor believes engaging mercenaries, as well as the immediate recruitment of youths into the military to boost its strength, will go a long way to defeat the insurgents.

He said it was also important to engage the services of neighbouring Niger Republic, Chad, and Cameroon to clear the remnants of the insurgents in the Lake Chad region and the Mandara mountains.

Zulum Visits Victims Following Boko Haram Attack On Borno Communities

Governor Zulum at University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital following Boko Haram attack on Borno villages on Tuesday night.

 

Borno State Governor, Babagana  Zulum visited two hospitals after Boko Haram fighters fired shots from Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), which hit Gwange and Adam Kolo communities in the state.

The governor also confirmed that 10 residents were killed and 47 left injured in the attack.

According to a post by the governor on his official Twitter page, the shots by the insurgents, on Tuesday night, came from Kaleri, outskirts of Maiduguri, but grenades traveled to hit Gwange and Adam kolo communities, both densely populated areas in the inner city.

Most of the deaths occurred in Gwange. One of the RPG shots hit a children’s playground in Gwange.

Governor Zulum confirmed the attacks during his visits to the State Specialist Hospital, and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, both in Maiduguri.

He said some of the victims had sustained various degrees of injuries and were being treated, for which he directed that the state ministry of health shoulders the bills.

Governor Zulum at University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital following Boko Haram attack on Borno villages on Tuesday night.

 

“Indeed it is a very sad moment for the people and government of Borno state, about 60 persons were affected, among them, 10 have died. It was as a result of long-distance shots fired by the insurgents. I believe this is a new trend we have to raise up and stop. We experienced a similar incident exactly one year ago.

“The solution is to deploy an appropriate form of technology, which will have to work on. I share the pains of all those affected but we are not just visiting hospitals, we do so much behind the scene in our combined responses to the Boko Haram insurgency and we will keep making these and more efforts” Zulum said.

Speaking on military’s regain of Marte, another Borno community that came under Boko Haram’s attack a few days ago, Governor Zulum said he is optimistic that the Nigerian military will work had to retain, continue its peace-building and stability efforts in ways that should ensure the insurgents do not take Marte again, or any part of the state.

Governor Zulum at University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital following Boko Haram attack on Borno villages on Tuesday night.

Zulum, Humanitarian Officials In Cameroon For Repatriation Of 9,800 Refugees

A file photo of Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum. Photo: [email protected]

 

Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum alongside officials of Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has arrived Marwa in Cameroon for the repatriation of 9,800 Nigerians of Borno origin.

The 9,800 Nigerians constitute the first batch of 46,000 citizens taking refuge in Minawao camp and who have shown willingness to be evacuated to resettlement houses built by Borno Government in Bama and Banki towns.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the governor’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, the Borno leader arrived Cameroon on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, he led a Nigerian delegation to a meeting on the tripartite (repatriation) agreement signed between Nigeria, Cameroon and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which is to hold in Marwa in far north Cameroon.  Governor of Cameroon’s far north, Mijinyawa Bakare is to host the meeting.

Before travelling to Cameroon, Zulum has had series of meetings with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the federal commission, National Commission and with relevant ambassadors with all meetings aimed at following all established procedures towards lawful repatriation.

Today’s meeting is in line with provisions of the tripartite agreement which has spelt out international best practices on humanitarian issues involving movements of persons between two or more countries as well as roles and limitations of all parties, and the protection of the rights of refugees who can only be repatriated at their own will.

Majority of refugees at the Minawao refugee camp, who are mostly from Borno State, have regularly appealed to Governor Babagana Umara Zulum to spearhead their repatriation to safe and rebuilt communities in Borno in order to return to decent living.

In September 2019, Zulum during his trip to the camp, promised citizens that he would in response to their appeal, work with stakeholders towards their successful reparation and dignified resettlement.

Zulum Commissions Health Centres, Begins Bama-Maiduguri Highway Construction

 

Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has commissioned five healthcare centres in Maiduguri metropolis and flagged off the complete overhaul of the dilapidated Maiduguri-Bama highway. 

According to a statement on the official Facebook page of the Borno State governor, the projects commissioned by the governor include four primary healthcare centers along Baga road, Njimtilo; 777 housing estate, and Abuja Talakawa and an overhauled infectious disease hospital along Kirikasamma road.

Zulum also commissioned a township road at Abuja-Sheraton community before laying the foundation for the construction of another 50-bed health center in Wulari area of Maiduguri.

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Governor Zulum’s administration aims to ensure that each of Borno’s 312 wards is provided with a primary healthcare centre in compliance with the standard of the World Health Organization (WHO).

More importantly, he noted the employment of hundreds of healthcare personnel already done by his administration to make healthcare centres functional. The Governor said all the numerous healthcare centres built in the central, southern, and northern parts of the State, will be equipped with competent staff.

On Maiduguri-Bama road, Zulum said the State was in talks with Alhaji Aliko Dangote to support in extending the road from Bama to Banki by the time the project reaches Bama from Maiduguri. He noted that connecting Banki will enhance trans-border trade and increase access to livelihood.

Zulum commended the quality of the commissioned projects executed by the State’s Ministry of Health and that of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement.

Maiduguri is the most populated local council in the state because of the displacement that has forced many local people to now live in suburban communities.