61 Infants Hospitalized As Shettima Orders Special Care For Rescued Persons

Children rescuedA total of 61 critically malnourished infants have been hospitalized in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in Northeast Nigeria.

This was on the orders of Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima after he relocated for medical care, the 478 children and 219 adults, who were rescued from Boko Haram by the Nigerian military.

The victims, all of whom were malnourished due to two years captivity in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents, were moved from Bama to a special care unit in Maiduguri on Monday.

The Spokesman to Governor, Mr Isa Gusau, gave the details in a statement on Tuesday.

The adults consist of 196 women, some of whom gave birth to part of the 478 children. The rest of the adults are 23 men who looked thin.

The victims were among those rescued by the military in continued operations against Boko Haram insurgents who in the last six years attacked communities, killing residents and abducting many.

Dozens of buses conveyed them to the newly opened special care unit in Maiduguri.

The 61 infants, now hospitalized at Umaru Shehu Specialist Hospital, owned by the State Government in Maiduguri, are undergoing medical care arising from extreme deprivation of food.

After ordering Health and Emergency Management Agency staff to set up the special unit on Monday night, Governor Shettima was at the unit on Tuesday to meet the kids and parents.

The Governor mobilized workers on water and sanitation, environment and other senior government officials. He also supervised administration of care to the children and the parents.

“Anyone that shows sign of being in critical health condition should be sent for medical admission on Government shoulders. Food and water must be constant and so should medical staff and drugs at the unit. I will monitor every step of what happens here,” Shettima told the staff.

Humanitarian Support

There were also volunteers from Empower 54, a US-based humanitarian organization led by a Benin Princess, Modupe Ozolua.

According to the Governor’s spokesperson, Ms Ozolua played a key role in working with the Borno State Government since the past weeks and she accompanied government officials to Bama on Monday to convey the 697 victims to Maiduguri.

“Modupe has done very well in supporting Borno,” Shettima praised.

At the special care unit were members of the Dangote ‎Foundation who immediately donated food items.

There were officials from the United Nations Office on Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and so were members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and those from UNICEF.

Everyone wanted to help as they were inspired by Governor Shettima’s two hours supervision at the special unit.

Newly Rescued

Meanwhile, Governor Kashim Shettima also on Tuesday, relocated some newly rescued thousands of villagers displaced in Marte and Mafa.

The Governor went to see the victims who stayed under trees along Maiduguri-Dikwa road on the outskirts of Maiduguri.‎

The villagers, said to be in their thousands were rescued around Mafa and Marte after a recent raid by the military.

They were trapped due to insurgency activities on the routes to their villages, they told the Governor.

Shettima not only ordered that a new camp be opened for them but he waited for four hours, supervising the creation of the camp and ensured that the rescued persons had settled in the camp.

He ordered construction of boreholes and restrooms while a medical unit would also be set up.

The Governor was concerned about security around the new camp but he was assured by soldiers that there was no cause for worry.

I Earned 5,000 Naira To Burn School, Says Teenage Boko Haram Recruit

Isa-Gusau“One of the Boko Haram suspects presented to Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, said he was given 5,000 Naira to burn our school,” an official of the Borno State government told Channels Television on Saturday. 

The Special Assistant to the Borno State Government on Communication, Mr Isa Gusau, said that the nine-year old recruit made the confession in 2014 after some suspected terrorists were presented over to the Borno State government by the military.

Giving an account of what transpired when the suspects were presented to the Governor, he said: “The Governor asked one of them how come he was recruited into the Boko Haram. He was just nine years old.

“He said he was given 5,000 Naira to spy on the soldiers while another said he was given 5,000 Naira to burn our schools.

“There was another lady who was being paid 10,000 Naira to smuggle arms,” Mr Gusau.

On the military effort to end the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists, he said that the Governor of Borno State had always suggested the deployment of three approaches – military deployment, deployment of economic stimulation package and political solution.

“People are talking from the point of sentiments. We are not looking at the reality on ground.

“We need to ask ourselves, why the Boko Haram has kept growing despite the counter-terrorism operations?

Mr Gusau further explained that it had become difficult for persons that had been recruited into the Boko Haram to reintegrate into their communities.

“When they are recruited, the leaders of the group take them to their communities to attack them and people in the community will see them as members of the Boko Haram and will never allow them back, even when they want to come back.

“The government must create a window for those who were forcefully conscripted into the Boko Haram to get out,” he stressed.

77 Abducted Schoolgirls Have Been Identified By Their Names – Borno Government

Sunrise Isa GusauThe Special Adviser on Media to the Borno State Governor, Mr Isa Gusau, believes that the efforts of the Borno State Government have been a major force driving the progress in the search for the abducted schoolgirls from Chibok.

He made this assertion on Thursday while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, where he revealed that as soon as the video showing the girls was released, the State Governor, Kashim Shettima, directed that it should be mass produced for the Chibok people to identify the girls as a means of confirming the authenticity of the video.

He noted that despite the positive responses which had some of the girls identified by family members and schoolmates, the Governor insisted that the exercise should go beyond facial identification but to identify the girls with their names, and he facilitated the movement of some of the parents and witnesses of the abduction of the students to Maiduguri.

He said: “So far 77 of the girls have been identified by their names.”

Mr Gusau also said that the intentions of the State Governor was to send the free girls abroad for rehabilitation, but the manner in which some Nigerians have promoted pessimistic views about the girls’ abduction makes this difficult for the Governor.

He noted that in a situation where many Nigerians were already of the opinion that the schoolgirls’ abduction story was not real, any attempt to send them abroad would seem like a cover-up; a controversy that the State Governor was not willing to be involved in.

He also responded to a Security Consultant, Max Gbanite, who while appearing on Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, made comments suggesting that the Governor of the State had been too vocal and was out of place for divulging information on the number of girls identified in the new video released by the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Whilst thanking the analyst for his concerns, he berated him for speaking to the media from an uninformed mind-set.

He berated him for also misunderstanding Vanguard Newspaper which said that 77 girls had been identified as at Tuesday and going on to condemn the newspaper for giving information contrary to the number of 54 quoted by the Governor.

Mr Gusau corrected the notion by stating that the identification exercise was a continuous process and this was stated in the publication. He alleged that Mr Gbanite probably did not read the said newspaper before condemning it in the media; an act he noted would not help the situation.

He insisted that Chibok was never considered an unsafe zone and that was why the school was identified as one of those suitable for girls from other regions to converge for the purpose of writing their examination. He said that it was unfortunate that the incident happened.

Gusau declined comments on the alleged shooting incident in an Army Barracks, as he insisted that it was a military affair, which would be out of place being picked on by him in the media.

He, however, said that the Governor and all the security agencies in Borno State have been having a very cordial relationship, with the State Government offering quality cooperation to the military in the fight against insurgency.

He also claimed that Governor Shettima of Borno State had been the only governor in the affected states who have consistently provided real intelligence support to the military, a fact he said has been acknowledged by top military personnel.

He blamed the discrepancies in the information being released about the search for the abducted schoolgirls on lack of proper communication between the military and the government.

There had been a story in the dailies that some villagers in Borno State have killed about 200 Boko Haram members and Mr Gusau refused to give the actual figures as he claimed that this could cause confusion, but confirmed that there was indeed an attempt by the sect members to attack the village in their usual manner but the people put up a resistance which led to the killing of scores of the sect members.

He noted that there has been a mass movement by the people to resist the incessant killings and the state also has a vigilante group called the Civilian JTF trained, equipped and being paid by the State Government.

Mr Isa Gusau said that beyond efforts by all concerned parties, for the fight against the insurgents to be won, the blame game among Nigerians has to end. He called for more cooperation between the state and the Federal Government, as this would greatly help in fighting the insurgents.