Political Violence In Borno: Zulum Orders Arrest Of Culprits

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum

 

Angered by rising political violence in Borno State in recent times especially during last month’s attack on the PDP presidential campaign convoy in Maiduguri, the state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum has ordered the Nigerian Police Force and the DSS to arrest the culprits irrespective of their political party affiliations.

Zulum, in a statement issued on Thursday by his spokesman Malam Isa Gusau, directed Borno State’s Commissioner of Police to investigate and ensure all culprits are arrested and prosecuted according to the law.

He said the safe existence of societies, is the fundamental basis of government and as such the state ought to be secured for the people to enjoy the dividends of democracy.


READ ALSO: Alleged Defamation: Aisha Buhari To Testify Against University Student


Below is Governor Zulum’s full statement as issued by his spokesman.

“I have received reports on renewed acts of political violence in the state. I strongly condemn these extremely unnecessary acts of violence and hereby direct the Commissioner of Police and the DSS to immediately investigate and ensure anyone involved is made to face the full wrath of the law.”

“I am directing heads of security agencies under the Borno State security council to immediately convene a meeting with critical representatives of all major political parties, particularly the APC and PDP, get them to sign undertakings and strikingly warn against all acts of violence with punitive measures rolled out for any culprit, especially politicians who might be instigating violence, no matter how highly placed they might be.

“In the meantime, I strongly urge supporters of all political parties not to disseminate false statements that can insight violence. We should endeavor to promote peace.

“I have always been against political thuggery and for us in Borno State, we have seen enough of violence from our over 12 years of insurgency. Instigating political violence is simply being ungrateful to Allah for the peace He is granting us after over 12 years of prayers for His divine intervention.

“Many soldiers, policemen, personnel of the DSS and paramilitary as well as our volunteers in the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes have given their lives in battles and many are still in the front lines, towards full restoration of peace in Borno State. Insha’Allah, we will not allow anyone reverse the supreme sacrifices of our armed forces and volunteers.

“With the peace gained so far across Borno State, we have safely resettled close to one million internally displaced persons and refugees in rebuilt communities. Our focus, which is very firm, is to sustain our ongoing construction of 10,000 new houses and rehabilitation of thousands of destroyed houses to continue our safe and dignified resettlement, alongside the provision of livelihood support so that our fellow citizens can eventually cater for themselves through productive agriculture and other businesses in ways they can live without depending on the food and cash aides we are currently giving based on our routine humanitarian needs assessments for all communities.

“I urge all stakeholders of political parties in particular, party executives, candidates and campaign teams to desist from any form of violence and to campaign peacefully and in accordance with all provisions of the electoral act and laws of Borno State. For me, electoral victory should be one that is earned not one that is forced through acts of violence.

“It is Allah that gives power to whoever He wills but that divine declaration by the Almighty Allah doesn’t include using unlawful means to acquire power. Moreover, for political offices to be meaningful, societies for which such offices are established, must first exist and do so safely.

“That safe existence of societies, is the fundamental basis of government and insha’Allah, we will ensure that Borno State Government lives to that sacred purpose of guaranteeing public peace and public freedom.” Zulum maintained.

Tinubu’s Running Mate: Zulum Is The Best Bet, Says APC Stakeholders Forum

A file photo of Tinubu and Zulum.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Stakeholders Forum has called on the leadership of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, as its vice-presidential candidate.

The 840 groups, which make up the forum, believe that if Zulum is considered, it will assist the party to win the forthcoming 2023 general elections and also help in the effort to rescue the country from collapsing.

The National Chairman of the forum, Abdullahi Aliyu Katsina, while addressing leaders of the seven states of the Northwest in Katsina on Sunday, explained that only governor Zulum, who has won the hearts of Nigerians through his exemplary leadership over the last three years, can, in turn,  make people vote for the party next year.

According to Katsina, the sacrifice Governor Zulum made in Borno State is enough for the APC to give him the opportunity to replicate it in Nigeria.

The forum believes Zulum is the best-placed person for the role.

 

“Our request is open and is no more than taking Governor Zulum of Borno State as the vice-presidential candidate of APC,” he said.

“We understand that only Governor Zulum can galvanize the votes from entire nineteen northern states.

“To avoid losing the election, the only person in Nigeria today who can bring the desired success for the party is Governor Zulum. Anybody today that is picked as vice-presidential candidate for the APC, if not Zulum, may not give us the desired success.

“Failure for the party to pick Zulum, it may end up losing the election.”

Boko Haram Will End Within My Tenure, Says Zulum

Zulum is optimistic that with the right strategies, insurgency will end in Borno.

 

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State is confident that the challenges posed by the Boko Haram insurgency will end within the duration of his tenure which expires in 2023.

The governor stated this after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday where he appraised the president of progress regarding the surrendered insurgents.

He disclosed that the surrendered terrorists, numbering 30,000, are a combination of Boko Haram and ISWAP members.

READ ALSO: Don’t Allow ISWAP To Grow, Governor Zulum Tells FG

According to him, dealing with the insurgents would not only require kinetic measures but political solutions as well. Although the Borno State governor declined to give details about the motivating factor behind the willing defections, he believes adequate intelligence is being garnered from the already surrendered insurgents.

The governor was also optimistic that with more cooperation from the Federal Government, the insurgency, which has lasted for many years, will end.

Zulum’s comments come a few days after one hundred and four members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and their families surrendered to troops of the Nigerian Army. According to the army, the former ISWAP fighters surrendered their weapons to troops of the 25 Task Force Brigade in Damboa town of Borno State.

A breakdown of the figure shows that 22 of those received by the soldiers are men, 27 of them are women and the remaining 55 are children. The Director of Defence Media Operations at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, while confirming the development, said troops in the North East have continued to gain successes over the activities of ISWAP fighters in the region.

In a more recent briefing on Thursday, the Defence spokesman revealed that in the last three weeks, troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralized 120 Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province Terrorist (ISWAP) fighters within the theatre of operation in Borno State. He added that 50 other terrorists were arrested within the period under review, while the troops also captured 5 gun trucks, 50 assorted arms, and 200 rounds of different calibers of ammunition. Additionally, the troops rescued 25 abducted civilians.

Insurgency: Build On Gains Rather Than Denigrate Efforts Of Nigerian Military – Gen Usman

A former Nigerian Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman.

 

A former Nigerian Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, has asked authorities to look at the feats attained by the Nigerian Armed Forces and stop denigrating the military, even as the war against insurgency rages on.

General Usman made the call on Friday while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. His comment was in reaction to a statement by Governor Babagana Zulum of  Borno State, who during the weekly ministerial briefing at the State House on Thursday, asked the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army to fix gaps in the fight against insurgency by considering, as a matter of utmost importance, the need to engage external mercenaries for support.

Addressing Zulum’s request, General Usman believes that such statements are highly demoralizing to the troops and as such should be stopped forthwith. The general, while enumerating some of the feats attained by the troops including the dismantling of Boko Haram and ISWAP caliphates in the Northeast, said what is required now is to “build on the gains rather than denigrating the efforts of the Nigerian Military”.

READ ALSOFG Uncovers 96 Financiers Of Boko Haram, ISWAP

Gen Usman said it is one thing for Zulum to commend the military when he is in their midst and then head to the seat of power and propose something in contrast.

“We should be on the same page, if there is anything, we should always be talking to each other on the same platform; so that even if the soldiers are doing wrong, then they will be made to know that they are going wrong and correct it, this is how it is supposed to be,” the General declared.

He further asserted that hiring mercenaries is not the solution to insurgency in Nigeria, adding that the country has all it takes to defend its territories and defeat those threatening its sovereignty and peace.

Giving inferences as to what the nation needs to total decimate the terrorists, General Usman said additional numbers to the ranks, more equipment, and weaponry, will serve in consolidating the victory over the insurgents.

“These guys (troops) are doing marvelously well,” the former army spokesman remarked.

He also advised that issues that have to do with local support and good governance must immediately be addressed, adding that constructive engagements with the host communities are pivotal to winning the war.

General Usman urged people to commend the Nigerian troops for what they have done and are still doing, stressing that the grounds they have covered in less than two decades within which the war has spanned, is indeed laudable.

Don’t Allow ISWAP To Grow, Governor Zulum Tells FG

 

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has warned the Federal Government against relenting in its terrorism fight, admitting that the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) has continued to grow.

The governor said this during the weekly ministerial briefing at the State House on Thursday. According to him, this is an early call to the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army to fix gaps in the fight against insurgency by considering, as a matter of utmost importance, the need to engage external mercenaries for support.

READ ALSO: FG Uncovers 96 Financiers Of Boko Haram, ISWAP

While lamenting the growing number of ISWAP members in some parts of Borno, the governor insisted that sanitizing the recruitment process of the security agencies is fundamental otherwise the country’s progress in war will be diminished.

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum

 

Three Years After Attack, Naval Base Returns To Baga

 

The Borno State Government has announced that the naval base in Baga has been reopened as part of efforts to boost security in the Lake Chad region.

Governor Babagana Zulum announced this during a media briefing on Friday after a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the statehouse.

According to him, he informed the President that the Chief of Naval Staff had ensured the return of the naval base to Baga last month, requesting additional support from the President to appropriately deal with the rising number of ISWAP members operating in the southern and northern part of the state.

The Baga naval base was attacked by Boko Haram insurgents in December 2018.

The terrorists carted away a cache of arms and ammunition from the armoury, forcing Nigerian troops to withdraw from the region.

But in June, Governor Zulum urged the military to reopen the base saying it had become necessary to secure farmers in the Lake Chad region.

He further maintained that in view of the relative peace experienced within the state, the President had given an assurance to provide support towards ongoing efforts to return Internally Displaced Persons to their ancestral homes.

He added that the state has concluded arrangements to shut down all IDP camps within the Maiduguri metropolis by December 31, 2021.

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Governor Zulum also stated that earlier in the year he had survived many attacks numbering over 40 by insurgents in the state.

“I was attacked more than 40, 50 times,” said the governor while responding to questions from reporters. “I know the magnitude of this problem.”

He decried the impact of the over one decade-long insurgency which he said has gravely affected the livelihood of the people of the state.

“We have estimated a total number of over 50,000 orphans and widows; these are official figures, the unofficial figures are more than these, and we were able to cultivate not more than three per cent of our total arable land because of the insurgents.

“And right now, the whereabouts of not less than 10 per cent of the people of Borno State is not known to all of us – at all. This is a very serious matter,” Governor Zulum lamented.

Six Women, Nine Children Escape From Boko Haram Captivity

Some of the rescued victims.

 

Six women and nine children kidnapped in the North-East have escaped their captors, walking for six days through the bush to freedom, an official said Monday.

The 15 hostages were seized separately from the farming villages of Takulashi in Borno state’s Chibok district and Cofure in neighbouring Adamawa’s Hong district several months ago.

Chibok was the scene of the 2014 abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram which earned the jihadist group global notoriety.

Three of the hostages along with their five children were seized during a raid on Takulashi in October last year, while the other three with their four children were abducted from Cofure in May, according to Zuwaira Gambo, Borno’s women affairs commissioner.


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A Display Of Resilience

The North-East region has witnessed a decade-long conflict.

 

The hostages, including an eight-month pregnant woman from Cofure, “trekked for six days” from Buni Yadi forest in nearby Yobe state to Damboa town in Borno, a distance of around 90 kilometres (56 miles), Gambo said.

“They have displayed resilience, trekking in the bush for six days,” Gambo said while presenting the escaped hostages to Borno state governor Babagana Zulum and Christian leaders.

It was not clear who kidnapped the women and children, but Buni Yadi is a known enclave for the IS-linked Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), which split from Boko Haram in 2016 to become a dominant force in the region.

Zulum expressed delight receiving the hostages after they “fell prey to Boko Haram terrorists,” a name officials use for both groups.

“We thank God Almighty for rescuing and protecting you from the hands of terrorists,” Zulum said.

Boko Haram and rival ISWAP are notorious for kidnapping women.

They have been engaged in a 12-year old conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people and displaced around two million.

 

Maiduguri Church Violence: Shooter Who Reportedly Killed Pastor’s Son Arrested – Zulum

Governor Zulum speaks during the visit.

 

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State says security operatives have apprehended the shooter who reportedly killed the son of Pastor Bitrus Tumba when violence broke out between a demolition task force of the Borno Geographic Systems (BOGIS), and worshipers at a branch of EYN church in Maiduguri on August 5, 2021. 

Zulum disclosed this on Tuesday night when he visited the cleric whose son was killed during the incident.

“So far, suspects have been quietly arrested and all those involved in that dastardly act are being detained and God willing, they will face justice, as soon as the Police complete their investigation and make appropriate recommendations.

“We shall do justice to the matter without fear or favour. We share your pains. No exercise of government is ever aimed to cause injury let alone the death of any citizen. Every person in Borno has equal rights and we have a duty to protect the rights of all persons, top of which is the security of lives.

“We are pained by what happened and we condole you and your family,” Zulum told those present.

Governor Zulum says justice will be served.

 

At the pastor’s house, Governor Zulum said his visit is proof that his government has not forgotten the issue. He assured the family of the deceased that justice will come as soon as the police complete investigations.

READ ALSO: UNICEF Condemns ‘Unacceptable’ Deaths Of Children In Borno
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While responding on his family’s behalf, Pastor Bitrus thanked the governor for the visit and said he considered Ezekiel’s death as an act of God which the family has accepted in good faith. 

Governor Zulum says his government is committed to protecting lives.

 

Pastor Bitrus added that everyone dies in a different way, and God has destined Ezekiel to die from a gunshot which no one could have stopped. 

“Whatever we do, we cannot bring the dead back to life; as true Christians, we have accepted it in good faith. Your Excellency, we express our appreciation to you for the visit, I have followed all your efforts on the death of our son, and they show your concern and the fact that you did not forget us, we really appreciate you,” he said.

The police are investigating the incident.

 

Before the visit, the governor had on the day of the incident sent Borno’s deputy governor, Umar Usman Kadafur, to meet the victims.

He also invited and met with Christian leaders, led by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chairman in the North-East state, Bishop Mohammed  Naga, after which he directed the police to investigate the incident and report to him. 

Pastor Bitrus commended Governor Zulum for his efforts since the incident happened.

 

Governor Zulum was received on the visit by the victim’s family and some CAN officials led by Bishop Naga.

2023: Zulum Backs Southern Govs On Power Shift

 

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has reechoed calls for power to shift to the southern part of the country, backing the Southern Governors’ Forum’s resolution on the zoning of the presidential seat in 2023. 

The southern governors had during a meeting in Lagos on Monday agreed that the region should produce Nigeria’s next president based on the principles of equity, and fairness, an assertion Zulum also corroborated.

“I have said it times without number that I, Professor Babagana Zulum, I am of the view that the presidency should go to the south in the year 2023 because the unity of our country is very important,” the governor said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.

“Secondly, inclusivity is very important. Thirdly, I am in the APC. Six or seven years ago, APC had zoned the presidency to northern Nigeria based on the agreement that in the year 2023, the presidency should go to the south.”

READ ALSO: I Don’t Like The Sound Of Yoruba Nation But Nigeria Is A Basket Case – Wole Soyinka

‘This Is Politics’

Southern governors in a briefing after their meeting in Lagos on Monday, July 5th, 2021.

 

The governor admitted that the southern leaders have the right to call for power shift to the region but faulted those insisting that the zone must produce the next Nigerian leader.

“But again, this is politics. We are supposed to meet and discuss this issue among ourselves, among the political class,” he explained, as he called for caution so as not to overheat the polity in the lead-up to the 2023 polls.

“This statement that people are making that the president must go to the south, I want them to remove the word ‘must.'”

He also refuted speculations that his stance on zoning was due to his political interests.

“And I have said it before, I am not interested in becoming the vice president of the country, neither the president of the nation but I want to say the right thing,” Zulum added, doubling down on his earlier stance.

READ ALSO: Southern Governors Set Deadline For Promulgation Of Anti-Open Grazing Law

A Hotly-Debated Policy

 

Nigerian leader, Muhammadu Buhari is expected to hand over to a president from the southern region.

 

Since the return of democracy in 1999, Nigeria has had an unwritten agreement for the rotation of power between the largely Muslim northern region and the Christian-dominated south.

Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari who hails from the northern state of Katsina is expected to hand over to a president from the south in 2023 in line with the rotation principle.

The arrangement which is often referred to as “zoning,” however, continues to draw intense debates from political leaders in the country.

Although proponents of the zoning principle, maintain that the power-sharing deal has helped in boosting unity among regions in Africa’s most populous nation,  critics believe the policy is outdated, undermines democracy, and panders to ethnoreligious sentiments.

“Zoning is a party issue, every party has the right to say where they want a position to come from but in APC, there is no issue of zoning,” a senator, Orji Kalu said late last year during a meeting with ex-Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), at their residences. “Anybody can contest for the presidency.”

 

 

 

Shooting Saga: Safety Of Staff Is Our Priority So We Train Them, ACTED Tells Zulum

 

 

The French international Non-Governmental Organization (iNGO), ACTED has said that it organized a shooting training for its staff in Borno state in order to get them prepared for safety emergencies they may encounter in the course of executing their duties.

In a statement on Sunday, the organization said the shooting practice put together for its staff became imperative because over the past year while providing critical humanitarian assistance to the people in the Northeast and other parts of Nigeria, staff of ACTED and its partners have found themselves in very dangerous situations where their safety and security were severely compromised.

“In May 2020, an ACTED contractor was abducted between MaiduguriMonguno road, and tragically killed while in service; in March 2021, ACTED staff faced imminent danger during an attack while providing humanitarian assistance in Dikwa; in April, the ACTED office and warehouse in Damasak were attacked by armed groups, and large stocks of humanitarian supplies meant for the people in need were destroyed,” the organization disclosed in its attempt to create context.

Speaking further about the shooting practice, the iNGO said “ACTED must exercise its duty of care for staff, and make every effort to ensure the safety and security of its staff.

“This includes regularly organizing training and simulation exercises, such as the one held on June 26, in order for them to be prepared to cope with unexpected security incidents”.

READ ALSO: Borno Govt Suspends French NGO Over Shooting Training At Maiduguri Hotel

ACTED said it complies with relevant laws in Borno and in Nigerian in carrying out its humanitarian works in the northeast, adding that these simulation exercises are standard procedures for many NGOs globally.

The organization further held that and in no way, neither during those exercises nor during the delivery of assistance, does ACTED carry weapons, in line with international standards and its dedication to upholding principled humanitarian action.

This response from ACTED is in reaction to the decision of Babagana Zulum, Borno Governor, to suspend its operations in the state after it was found to be organizing a shooting training in the capital, Maiduguri.

Following the incident, an investigation was launched while the hotel where the training held was sealed.

In further pleading their case, ACTED stated that it remains committed to cooperating with the Nigerian authorities as well as ensuring “the highest levels of transparency towards the authorities and the people we serve.”

The iNGO also presented its compliments to the Governor of Borno, His Excellency Prof. Babagana Zulum, noting that his leadership and guidance to the humanitarian community and particularly to ACTED, in providing support for the successful implementation of humanitarian activities in the Northeast over the past years, are highly appreciated.

The group said it relies on the support of the Nigerian Government and all its departments at both Federal and State levels, to facilitate the humanitarian assistance they are providing to the Nigerian people in line with humanitarian principles and government priorities.

UN Officials, INGOs Diverting Donor Funds, Says Zulum

 

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has accused the United Nations and other international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) of diverting and mismanaging funds donated for displaced people in the northeastern region of the country. 

Zulum shared his thoughts at the Borno State Government House on Wednesday when the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon led ambassadors of donor countries to Borno.

The UN delegation paid a courtesy call on Governor Zulum after interacting with the internally displaced in temporary shelters within Maiduguri.

At the meeting, Zulum expressed his displeasure at the UN’s handling of funds donated for humanitarian assistance.

READ ALSO: Borno Commissioner Queries College Provost For Suspending Students Over Buhari’s Welcome

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

 

According to the governor, some UN officials may be feeding fat on the misfortune of the affected population, insisting that the Unilateral spending style of donations must be investigated.

“You may announce some heavy donations, but if this money is left unchecked, believe me sincerely 30 per cent of this funding will not go to the target population,” the governor stated.

UN data suggests that the Boko haram conflict has led to one of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

This year alone there are at least 8.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance out of which no fewer than 4.4 million are expected to need food assistance in the current lean season.

The US ambassador, Mary Leonard, and her UK counterpart, Catriona Laing, met with major ‘stakeholders’ in the humanitarian services in Borno on the humanitarian and development priorities in northeast Nigeria.

This visit is a sequel to the UN’s request for donations to address the humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria, during the latest G7 meeting.

Prior to visiting Governor Zulum at the State House, the two top diplomats visited IDP camps, the military and some of the humanitarian offices. They were led by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon.

The prolonged unrest within the northeast has affected the Lake Chad Region, including neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Niger and Chad for over 10 years.

Borno Power Outage: NNPC To Establish Gas Plant In Maiduguri

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

 

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is partnering with the Borno State Government to establish a Gas Power Plant to solve the protracted blackout problem in the state.

The blackout followed the vandalization of power towers by insurgents cutting off Borno from the national grid since January this year.

The Group Managing Director of the NNPC Mele Kyari led a delegation to the Governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum for talks on Friday.

According to Mele, there is a lot the NNPC and the Borno state government can achieve together as value chain partners.

READ ALSO: Worsening Insecurity: PDP Gov’s Forum Calls For Devolution Of Power, Restructuring

“We are here to join you to resolve power problems in Borno state in particular Maiduguri metropolis and environs it is Mr president’s cardinal principles to deepen gas power consumption in our country In the domestic market and the easiest road to that is to deliver gas to power and ultimately to industries.
The GMD says its mission in Borno is in line with the federal government’s declaration of the next ten years as the decade of gas which will translate to physical gas entering into domestic markets.

“We saw the opportunity and the challenge to support Borno state in the course of the challenge we have with our power supply; we are now partners in the value chain, we have talked to each other and we think it’s very possible to establish a dedicated power plant in Maiduguri which will serve current needs of power supply not only in Maiduguri but to other parts of the neighboring cities,” Mele stated.

The gas plant will be ready in a maximum of four months, he told Zulum.

Governor Zulum welcomes the partnership which he believes will ease the agony of the people of the state who have suffered untold hardship since the power crisis began three months ago.

“The ongoing insurgency has cut off the entire Borno from the national grid in the last three months. We put all our efforts and restored it back, we have seen the joy and jubilation the people of Borno demonstrated after the restoration. But unfortunately, after 48 hours, the same group of insurgents went back and destroyed the main tower again,” Zulum lamented.

The governor believes that the restoration of power can reduce the effects of the insurgency and the attendant poverty as millions of livelihoods have now been affected by the crisis.