From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has hosted that given their massive laying down of weapons by terrorists, the insurgency will end under his tenure “God willing.”
The Governor who was in the State House to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to apprise him of progress in the surrendering of Boko Haram terrorists, told State House Correspondents, Abuja that over 30,000 former fighters have now surrendered and are in the custody of the authorities.
He said Borno state government does not offer any incentive to the fighters to come out of the forests, rather, they have done so voluntarily.
Zulum disclosed that he discussed the continuing surrender of the insurgents and the case of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with the president.
He assured that the security situation in Borno state has improved considerably, hoping that things will continue in that direction.
Zulum reiterated that kinetic measures alone will not end the war and therefore advised that political solution be applied.
On the ongoing, massive defection of Boko Haram members, he said: “This time around has also started with a defection of ISWAP members. This is a welcome development and under a closed-door session we discussed a lot of issues and how the government of Borno State as well as the federal government will manage the ongoing surrender by the intelligence.”
On the number that have surrendered, Zulum said: “As at now we have received nothing less than 30,000 from beginning to date for both Boko Haram and ISWAP. ISWAP, we have started receiving them in few numbers, but Boko Haram, we have started receiving them in huge numbers.”
On significance of their surrendering, the Borno Governor said: “As I’ve been saying before, the kinetic measures alone will never end the insurgency. The social and political dimension of this crisis is very important. So we have decided to engage them through dialogue and mediation, with a view to ensuring that many of them should lay their arms.
“So far, so good, the objective has started yielding positive result. Apart from this also, in the Borno State, for example, as I told you last time, we had problems in the shores of the Lake Chad as well as in Southern Borno, I’m pleased to inform you that there was a very heavy military deployment into the southern Borno. And I hope such a deployment will also take place in northern Borno, with a view to clearing the ISWAP insurgents in the Lake Chad. So, this has also yielded positive results. And then on the relocation of the two local Government Area that last time, I said are not occupied by human beings, we are also doing very well with the military to see how we can return the population.
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“The military have also given us the go ahead. So we’re working with them to see how we can return them. Things are getting better in Borno State and this is the major reason why I came to see Mr president.”
On the numbers her to surrender he said: “There are some issues that should not be discussed in the public. These issues are security issues.”
On the secret behind the defection, Zulum said: “Well, all these issues, I don’t think it’s good for me to mention it in the public. But the most important thing is that the federal government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Buhari the Borno State Government, the military, we’re all working in close collaboration to ensure that those that are willing to surrender are given the opportunity to surrender.
“The way we are going, with the support of the federal government with good management, Boko Haram will be over very soon.”
Asked if it will end in his administration, he said: “Insha Allah. Even now in Borno State, we’re doing very well, extremely well.”
Asked the kind of assistance he requires from the federal government, he said: “Mr President has inaugurated a committee being headed by the Vice President, and my humble self as the vice chairman, to look into the issues of repatriation, resettlement, and reconciliation. The mandate of this committee among others also includes the management of defectors. I think this committee is strong enough to give the desired support to the program. The Federal Government is doing very well.”
Asked if he is saying insurgency will end effectively in 2023, he said: “Insha Allah. You know what I mean by Insha Allah, God willing.
“We don’t have any promissory notes, to defectors, honestly speaking. But you have to also understand one very important thing, there is a difference between those that have been captured and those that have surrendered. People should understand these two unidentical situations. Go back and Google and see the international conventions, rules and regulation. There is a difference between those that have been captured and those that are willingly surrendered. And I’m calling upon all of you to give a very positive insight to this development. Because there’s no where in the whole world such kind of war ended with kinetic measures. There must be some certain political solutions and believe, if there is peace in Northeast and Borno, there will be peace in Northern Nigeria. If there is Peace in Northern Nigeria, there will be peace in southern Nigeria. Thank you very much.”
Speaking on issues of poverty and illiteracy, he said: “Where do you think in Nigeria that there is poverty and illiteracy? Yes, I know it’s high up there. So we are containing it. You have seen the massive number of schools that we’ve built in Borno state. This morning, the Yobe state government has launched the Education fundraising. And then the Borno State Government has been recruiting a lot of teachers because what matters is not only the construction of classrooms, in terms of human resources, we’re also doing well. So the government at the sub regional level, well, we’re doing good to tackle the issues of lack of education among others.”