UNIMAID Workers Abducted By Boko Haram Will Regain Freedom Soon – Gov Shettima

Shettima, Borno, Northern Leaders, Northern Nigeria

The Governor of Borno State has said all hope is not lost for the University of Maiduguri workers who were abducted by Boko Haram in July as talks are ongoing for their release.

Governor Kashim Shettima gave the assurance in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye.

“I believe discussions are currently ongoing. I would rather not comment on this issue so as not to jeopardise the lives of those hostages. But I can assure you that discussions are ongoing and very soon they will regain their freedom,” the governor said.

The hostages were among the UNIMAID staff and workers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation who were ambushed in July with more than 20 members of the team and soldiers meant to provide security for them killed by the insurgents.

Shortly after the ambush, Boko Haram had released a video showing three of them appealing to the Federal Government to meet the demands of the terrorists and secure their release.

Governor Shettima, in giving the assurance that they would regain their freedom soon, expects exploration activities to continue in the Chad Basin despite the attack.

He said he had witnessed the flaring of gas in the region more than 20 years ago and that there had appeared to be more gas than oil in a well that was explored then.

With the growing importance of gas, the governor said it was important to pursue the exploration of the Lake Chad basin.

“Gas has become the product of choice. Oil will become to Nigeria what coal is to Newcastle in the next 20 to 30 years but gas will continue to be relevant in the foreseeable future,” he said.

“So, I believe that even for the sake of national stability and complementarity, the issue of exploring for oil and gas in the Lake Chad Basin should be pursued with vigour.”

Youth Employment Will Eradicate Boko Haram – Borno Governor

The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has said that the “madness” occasioned by the activities of radical sect, Boko Haram in the state would “evaporate” once the youths are gainfully engaged.

The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima

Mr Shettima, who spoke on Tuesday at the signing of tripartite agreement for the establishment of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs) in three geo-political zones, including the North-east, North-central and South-south zones, said he believed the insecurity and hardship in the state would be a thing of the past once it was able to create jobs and engage the youths.

The governor said, “We are going to partner with the CBN to see to the realisation of this very noble and lofty initiative of the central bank towards ameliorating poverty and creating employment opportunities in the northeast sub-region of the country.

“We are not going to disappoint you; we would fulfil our own part of the bargain of the EDC and create the enabling environment for the EDC in the North-east sub-region,” he assured.

“Believe me, beneath the mayhem of Boko Haram, beneath the madness, lies extreme poverty and joblessness and hopelessness of the people. Once we create jobs, once we engage the youths, believe me, this madness will evaporate,” the governor stated.

He said he believed the issue of Boko Haram would be a thing of the past within the next two years.