Borno is 90% safe, ready for elections

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From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

With 49 days to the general elections in Nigeria, Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum  has boasted that his state is 90 percent secure and safe, assuring the voting public of their safety before, during and after the elections.

The Governor gave the assurance after a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday at the presidential villa.

Borno state has in recent times grabbed headlines for electoral violence with the November 2022 attack on the PDP presidential campaign train in Maiduguri, the state capital.

Asked what he was doing to assure those afraid to go collect their PVCs because of insecurity as they may not be able to use it during the election, he said: “The People of Borno State voted during the 2015 election. They also voted during the 2019 election. Can you compare the security situation in 2019 and 2015 and now? The security situation has improved tremendously by over 90 percent so we don’t have any problem.

“Eligible voters can go and cast their votes on election day, Inshallah, in Borno State, we don’t have any problem.“

Speaking on the state of security currently, he said: “We thank that there is great improvement in terms of security in Borno State. We are doing very well now, rehabilitation and resettlement is also going very well. We are looking forward to see how we can rehabilitate Maiduguri, Gamborun-Gala  road and then Maiduguri-Banke road with a view to opening up opportunities for the people to earn their means of livelihood.

Asked what is to be expected in the new year, Zulum, he said: “Want to see how we can sustain what we are doing. So far so good in terms of security, the federal government has done well, the military has also done very well. We are now looking into the possibility of rehabilitating the victims of the insurgency, a lot of them have surrendered. The Federal government is supporting our mission of rehabilitating. But most importantly, we are yet to complete our resettlement project and very soon we will resettle victims of Gudubali local government area and also we will resettle all our refugees that are living Republic of Niger and Chad and Cameroon. Mr. President has  given approval to this effect and very  soon we will complete the entire settlement.”

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Asked when the resettlement will be completed, the governor said: “Resettlement is not something that is easy, it will take a long time. But the most important thing is that those that are very much in need to be resettled will be resettled. But most importantly we have closed down all official IDPs camps  winin Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Gere local government area, as I said, last one year ago. For now, we don’t have any official IDP camps within Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, the unofficial camps will also be closed in the next few months.

Asked to confirm or deny reports that there some areas in the state where insurgents  are still holding sway, he said: “Even in the developed world we still have some pockets of insecurity. But by and large, we have succeeded a lot. Over 90 percent of our security situation has been improved.

Asked how he was prepared in his re-election bid against an opposition in the state, he said: “It is impossible to question the destiny of God. Campaign is going on very well, Borno  State is one big APC family.”

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