The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum has paid a visit to communities attacked by Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday evening, in Hawul local government area in the southern part of the state and he is promising them that better days are ahead.
The governor who inspected the destroyed property in Yimirshika, Azare, Sabon-Kasuwa and Shafa communities immediately ordered the reconstruction of properties, including a police station and market stalls.
He ordered the provision of six patrol vehicles and other security components to strengthen local security network in Shafa while surveillance vehicles are to be provided for hunters and vigilantes in Yimirshika.
Borno Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, has felicitated with Christians in Borno and the rest of Nigeria, wishing everyone a peaceful, joyful, and blessed Christmas.
Governor Zulum, however, called on all Nigerians to take some moments today for deep reflections.
“While felicitating with fellow citizens and wishing everyone a peaceful, joyful and blessed Christmas festival, I will like to urge all of us, Nigerians, to take some moments today, to deeply reflect by wondering within us, how soldiers who are genuinely dedicated, how security armed forces like them, how our volunteers from the civilian JTF, local hunters and vigilantes, are currently marking their own Christmas in bushes, hunting Boko Haram and also being hunted by the insurgents, and also how families of these forces and volunteers are celebrating without their breadwinners.
At the same time, we should ask ourselves how thousands of yet to be resettled internally displaced persons and fellow Nigerians taking refuge in foreign countries are also celebrating today’s Christmas, lined up for food in camps and host communities. Reflecting on the conditions of fellow citizens will push every one of us with a conscience to rededicate ourselves to ceaselessly pray for peace, to support the fight through generating relevant information for security agents, and to supporting IDPs, returning refugees and any other victim of the unfortunate insurgency” Zulum was quoted by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, in a message released Christmas morning from Maiduguri.
Gusau added that Zulum had like other festivals, ensured salaries of workers were paid well ahead of Christmas, while all kinds of welfare support were provided to numerous groups of persons in line with critical needs and traditions.
‘Why I believe in Carrot and Stick approach’
In his Christmas message, Governor Zulum called on security agents to remain committed to their patriotic duties and solemn pledge to safeguard the lives and property of citizens, promising them sustained encouragement.
“We will continue to accord far-reaching support to security forces, especially those who have shown their dedication and gallantry. We will commend and reward, and where there is the need to raise voices of concern, we will do so on behalf of our citizens whom we were sworn to protect. I believe in the carrot and stick approach, and this is based on my personal principles and my training in academics.
Critical thinking is the foundation of academics and in this, the philosophy is to look at the opposite sides of every case study. From the academic point of view, there is never one side to any case under study and this is why I commend, reward, and I also criticize.
I take every issue on its own merit and I do so with the best of intentions and without fear or favour, affection or ill will. May God grant us lasting peace in Borno and Nigeria”, Zulum said, as quoted in the Christmas message.
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, alongside Nigerian ambassador to Chad, Zannah Umar Bukar Kolo, on Wednesday, met President Idriss Debby of the Republic of Chad over the repatriation of thousands of Nigerian refugees, the majority from Borno, who in batches, fled killings by Boko Haram since 2014.
The meeting, which held at the presidential palace in N’Djamena, was also attended by the Chadian ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Abakar Saleh Chahaimi.
“I am here in Chad to see our people currently taking refuge at The Darsalam camp in Baga Sola. We met them yesterday. Our people are doing very well, the government of Chad is taking care of them. So I am here to express appreciation to the President for his generosity towards our people here in Chad. We have also discussed how we can voluntarily repatriate our people back to Nigeria.
Basically, we are here for three things: meet our people, thank the government of chad, and intensify collaborative efforts to repatriate those who are willing to be safely resettled in different parts of Borno” Zulum said while briefing journalists after the meeting.
Before today’s meeting with the President, Zulum crossed over Lake Chad on Tuesday to the refugee camp in Baga Sola, interacted with citizens and supervised the distribution of N50 million to 5,000 families as part of social protection.
The majority of the families hail from different parts of Kukawa local government in which the commercial town of Baga is located. Other families fled local government areas in northern Borno and some extreme portions of Borno central located around the border with Cameroon through which Chad is accessed by land.
Governor Zulum was in Chad back in January, this year, to meet commanders of the Multinational Joint Task Force over the fight against Boko Haram.
Zulum has had visited Cameroon and Niger republic at different times to meet Borno citizens taking refuge in the three neighboring countries with land borders connecting Borno from different angles.
During all of these trips, Zulum supervised the distribution of food items and financial support to thousands of refugees and extended gratitude to host communities and government at the local and national levels of the three neighboring countries.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State says despite recent happenings, the security situation in the state and the northeast region is better under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Zulum made the comment on Sunday while addressing northern elders from the Arewa Consultative Forum in Maiduguri, the Borno capital.
“From statewide statistics on affairs in the 27 local government areas since 2011, the fact is that despite the recent happenings in Borno State, the security situation in Borno State and indeed that of the Entire North East Sub-region is still far better under Buhari, and this is based on records,” Zulum said while addressing the delegation led by the chairman of the forum’s board of trustee, Ambassador Shehu Malami and its Executive Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
“For instance, unlike the years before Buhari when a number of local government were no-go-areas, we now have citizens led by our traditional rulers, safely back to Bama, Gwoza, Askira-Uba, Dikwa, Ngala, Monguno, Kukawa, Damboa, Konduga, Mafa, all of which no one could visit not talk of living there. Our emirs were all in exile. Today, Bama is coming back to live and so is Askira-Uba, Damboa, Gwoza and others. Live is even returning go Baga.”
Governor Zulum explained that this “was impossible before Buhari. In fact, it was not possible to move a few kilometres out of Maiduguri.
“Insurgents were so bold to attack and take over military facilities like the army barrack at Monguno, Bama, Giwa Barrack and Multinational Joint Task Force Headquarters at Baga to mention just a few.
“There were daily attacks bomb blasts in many parts of Maiduguri, the most populated part of the state but all of these have stopped under Buhari. These are the records and no one can dispute these records.”
According to him, he is, however, concerned about the current security situation in the region than comparing it with what happened in the past.
“The insurgents by their nature, always want to attract publicity which is very strategic for terror propaganda, so they resorted to attacking our communities and running away and of course this worries us,” the governor further noted.
Borno State and the northeast have been targets of attacks by insurgents in recent years, the latest being the killing of scores of farmers in Zabarmari in Jere Local Government Area of Borno.
The incident drew wide condemnation from within and outside Nigeria and heightened calls for the sack of Nigeria’s security chiefs.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State on Thursday received a delegation of the Cameroonian Military, harping on the need for a joint effort to defeat insurgency.
The event took place at the Government House in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital with Governor Zulum saying the central African country and Nigeria can share experiences and collaborate to defeat insurgency in the Lake Chad region.
“Cameroon and Nigeria, most of our people shares the same tradition and culture. Though the insecurity has affected all the countries in the Lake Chad region, all our economies have been affected. Therefore, there is a need for us to come together and fight this insurgency,” the governor noted.
“The issue of trans-border trade is very important, all of us know Banki. We are doing everything possible to reopen Banki market, we are planning to reopen Bama-Banki road. Let us support the security architectures so that we can ensure the free movement of our people.”
During the event, the Cameroonian Military delegates were led by the 4th region joint military commander, General Saly Mohammadou and accompanied by Commander Sector 1 Multinational Joint Task Force, General Bouba Dobekreo; Commander Fourth Gendarmerie, Brigadier General Essoh Jules-Cesar; GOC 7 Div Bridgdier, Gen. AK Ibrahim and others.
Borno State and the northeast, in general, have been the target of attacks by insurgents in recent years, the latest being the killing of scores of farmers in Zambarmari near Maiduguri.
The development elicited condemnation and outcry from across the world with calls mounting for the sack of Nigeria’s service chiefs.
A few days after the incident, the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) said it has lost confidence in the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. The group called on him to resign if he can not halt the spate of killings in the country, especially in the northern part.
“Under this administration, life has lost its value, and more and more citizens are coming under the influence of criminals,” it said in a statement. “We do not see any evidence of a willingness on the part of President Buhari to honour his oath to provide security over Nigerians.”
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has commiserated with Governor Babagana Zulum and the people of Borno State over Saturday’s killing of over 40 farmers in Zabarmari community, Jere Local Government of the state by Boko Haram.
In a press statement released by Tinubu’s media office on Wednesday, the former Lagos State Governor described the killing as not only callous but also satanic.
“It is with utmost sorrow and distress that I commiserate with you on the dastardly and inhuman killing of dozens of farmers in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government Area of Borno State, on Saturday 28th November 2020,” Tinubu said.
“The cold-blooded murder of these innocent citizens, toiling to eke out a living for themselves and their families and provide food security for our nation is not only callous but satanic.
“I recall your strident sacrifices to ensure that millions of displaced Borno residents are resettled in their ancestral homes and return to their various occupations. These efforts have not only helped in increasing agricultural output but have also given joy to the displaced.
“Your Excellency, this unfortunate incident despite your spirited efforts in complementing the efforts of the Federal security forces is a sad reminder that the war against these desperate and blood-thirsty insurgents will require more efforts to win.
“My hope and prayer is that Allah will give you the courage to continue to provide succour to your people even in the face of this rather depressing event.
“My condolences go to the families of the deceased and the entire Borno citizenry. My prayer is that Allah will give comfort them and bring quick recovery to the injured. May he also grant the deceased eternal rest.
“Once again, please accept my heartfelt condolences.”
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has said there is a need for the redoubling of efforts to rid the country of violent extremism.
Fayemi made the call on Tuesday when he led a delegation of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on a condolence visit to Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State over the recent massacre in the northeast state.
“This insane attack, like so many before it, is an assault on our fundamental freedoms,” Fayemi who is the chairman of the NGF tweeted, a few days after scores were killed around Marrabati and Hammayya villages, near Zabarmari by Boko Haram terrorists while on their way to their farms.
“We must recommit and redouble our common efforts to rid our country of violent extremism and we are in solidarity with the people of Borno and all Nigerians.”
While condoling with the victims of the attacks, their families and Borno people over the incident, the 55-year-old former Mines and Solid Minerals Development minister described it as “unspeakable.
“Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the people of Borno State,” Fayemi added.
Led a delegation from Nigeria Governors' Forum to commiserate with our brother, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, on the unspeakable massacre of innocent farmers in Zabamari village. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the people of Borno State. pic.twitter.com/Kv7OM0in3G
This insane attack, like so many before it, is an assault on our fundamental freedoms. We must recommit and redouble our common efforts to rid our country of violent extremism and we are in solidarity with the people of Borno and all Nigerians. JKF pic.twitter.com/zIfjAYhRMj
The killing of the farmers has drawn widespread condemnation and outcry from within and outside the country, sparking calls for the sack of Nigeria’s service chiefs.
During plenary on Tuesday, the Senate called for their replacement, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure and remodel the entire security architecture and investigate allegations of widespread corruption and leakages within the security architecture.
Earlier on Monday, Buhari condoled with the families of the victims and gave a “marching order” to the military to flush out insurgents in the country. Buhari told the military that the fight should not be one-off, but on a continuous basis until “we root out the terrorists.”
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Ahmed Idris Wase, has described as unfortunate the attacks on the convoy of the governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
The governor’s convoy was reported to have been attacked by the insurgents during the weekend on his way to Baga, a town in the state, during which some security operatives were killed.
In a statement issued on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Umar Mohammad Puma, the Deputy Speaker said the attacks and resultant deaths are painful, condemnable, and highly unpardonable.
The statement quoted him as saying: “I wish to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the Governor of Borno State, His Excellency, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, over the unfortunate attack on his convoy last Friday by suspected Boko Haram insurgents on his way to Baga Town, which led to the death of several soldiers and policemen attached to him.
“My sympathies are with the families who lost their loved ones in this callous act. I also wish to condole with the Nigerian Army and also to the family of Col. Dahiru Bako who was ambushed on September 20, while leading his troops on clearance at Sabon Gari-Wajiroko axis in Damboa Local Government Area of the state.
“I pray that the Almighty Allah will accept the souls of all those who lost their lives in these unfortunate incidents. May Allah grant their families the fortitude to bear their untimely deaths.”
Wase further commended Governor Zulum for his bravery and courage in the face of the insurgency, and also the gallant soldiers and security personnel who confronted the attackers.
“My prayers are with all the military men and security personnel who are in the trenches fighting against the insurgents. May Allah grants us victory,” he said.
The attack happened barely 48 hours after Borno State Government officials were ambushed on the same route while travelling to Baga to join the governor who had flown in via an Air Force chopper.
Reporters on the ill-fated convoy say sixteen persons were confirmed dead while the whereabouts of an unspecified number of people can still not be accounted for.
Members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) working with the state government’s resettlement committee to clear shrubs from the road for clearer vision, also reportedly disappeared after the attack.
The Executive Governor of Borno His Excellency Prof Babagana Umara Zulum has redeemed his pledge to the family of Late Col DC Bako and the 3 other soldiers that died with the senior officer in the course of defending the country.
This is according to a statement by the army spokesman, Colonel Sagir Musa.
According to Colonel Musa, the governor redeemed the pledge when he visited the wife of the fallen hero, Col Bako this morning in Maiduguri.
“He was received by the Acting GOC, 7 Division Brig Gen AK Ibrahim. The Governor consoled the wife and family members of Col Bako and prayed for the repose of the late senior officer and the 3 other soldiers who paid the supreme prize along with him. He described him as a great patriot and formidable commander,” Colonel Musa stated.
The governor used the opportunity to present a cheque of 20 million naira to Mrs. Bako, which he earlier pledged and also promised to redeem his pledge of getting the family a house.
The governor also donated 2 million naira each to the families of the 3 deceased soldiers; they are – Lance Corporal Nwobuji Desmond, Lance Corporal Adebiyi Oluwaseye, and Private Aliyu Ibrahim, whom he described as gallant and patriotic soldiers par excellence.
Colonel Musa noted in his communique that the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE hereby on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, officers, and soldiers of the Nigerian Army extends its immense appreciation to the governor for the kind gesture.
The army spokesman assured Nigerians that the Nigerian Army is continuously determined and committed to ending terrorism and other insecurities in Nigeria.
Governor Babagana Umara Zulum has approved the engagement of 84 medical doctors, 365 nurses and midwives, 45 pharmacists, and 100 health technicians and other support staff, making 594 personnel being added to Borno’s healthcare sector.
Zulum announced the recruitment on Monday in Maiduguri at the end of a meeting with Borno’s public healthcare stakeholders attended by the Chairman of Borno Assembly’s Committee on Health, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Salihu Kwayabura, Chairman, National Association of Nurses and Midwives, Umar M. Shettima, and heads of the State’s Health Management Board, Contributory Health Scheme, and Primary Healthcare Development Agency amongst other stakeholders. The meeting held at the Government House.
Of the 365 nurses and midwives, the Governor explained, half were fresh graduates of colleges while the others were recruited from experienced persons who had retired from the Borno civil service after years of serving in hospitals as nurses and midwives. Zulum said they have now been recruited on contract.
On the 84 medical doctors, the Governor said, some were recruited as permanent staff while some are being engaged on contract and sabbatical services.
Zulum noted that the 45 pharmacists and 100 technicians and supportive staff he approved, would work in laboratories and other diagnostic sections as key components of the health sector.
The Governor said the far-reaching decision, aimed to drastically increase the number of healthcare professionals across Borno State so as to bridge existing gaps in citizens-doctors and nurses ratio and to eventually match the increase of hospitals and primary healthcare centres in the state, 51 of which were established by the administration.
Zulum also announced that he had given approval for the State College of Nursing and Midwifery to begin annual foundation programmes that will aim to admit 200 student nurses and midwives annually. He said the foundation will commence with initial 135 student nurses, with five drawn from each of Borno’s 27 local government areas.
The Governor said the State will however enter an agreement with all students who will enjoy steady payment of allowances, that upon graduation from colleges, they will not leave the State, until after working in the State’s health sector over a period of time, for which they will be paid like other workers.
Zulum also announced that the State will soon embark on aggressive construction of new staff quarters for doctors, nurses, and midwives, to encourage productivity.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kwayabura, pledged the commitment of all stakeholders in the health sector to improved access to quality and affordable medical services in line with Governor Zulum’s development objectives.
The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum has confronted the army over an attack on his convoy in Baga, a town in Kukawa local government.
Governor Zulum had departed Maiduguri, the state capital on Monday afternoon for the northern part of the state in continuation of the food distribution programme which he started earlier in July.
On Wednesday, he was scheduled to visit Baga, a fishing town on the shores of the Lake Chad region which has been under the control of insurgents for many years until the military declared its liberation, insisting no Nigerian territory is under the control of Boko Haram.
But, few kilometers to Baga, gunmen opened fire on the Governor and his entourage.
The Governor was forced to retreat as security operatives on escort duties repelled the attackers.
A furious Zulum confronted the Commanding Officer in Mile 4, mincing no words in expressing his disappointment at the inability of the military to rid Baga and environs of insurgents.
“You have been here for over one year now, there are 1,181 soldiers here; if you cannot take over Baga which is less than 5 km from your base, then we should forget about Baga. I will inform the Chief of Army Staff to redeploy the men to other places that they can be useful,” Zulum said.
“You people said there’s no Boko Haram here, then who attacked us?”
The Governor has since returned safely with his entourage to Monguno where the distribution of palliatives continues.