As part of his ongoing multi-stakeholders’ consultations on the massive surrender by Boko Haram insurgents in different parts of Borno State, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum on Monday visited the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, in Abuja.
The meeting, which was held behind closed doors, was in furtherance of Zulum’s resolve to widely consult security and Borno stakeholders towards developing a framework that would.address concerns raised over the surrender by members of the Boko Haram/ISWAP through the military’s ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ deployed as a psychological warfare to weaken the ranks of the terrorists.
Governor Zulum arrived Abuja from Maiduguri same day and headed to the Office of the Chief of Defence.
The governor is scheduled to hold series of other consultations.
It would be recalled that Zulum had, on Saturday during his visit to Bama and Gwoza, addressed military commanders and community leaders. During the meeting Zulum lamented what he described Borno in “catch-22 situation”.
“We (in Borno) are in a very difficult situation over the ongoing surrender by insurgents. We have to critically look between two extreme conditions and decide our future. We have to choose between an endless war or to cautiously accept the surrendered terrorists which is really painful and difficult for anyone that has lost loved ones, difficult for all of us and even for the military whose colleagues have died and for volunteers. No one would find it easy to accept killers of his or her parents, children and other loved ones. In the last 12 years we have been in this war, and we have lost thousands of fellow citizens. We don’t know the whereabout of thousands of others, we don’t know whether they are alive or dead. In these 12 years, millions have been made homeless and many wealthy farmers, transporters and others have been rendered poor. In these years, we were able to cultivate maybe around 3% of the arable land, and as a result our people became dependent on food aid amid donor fatigue and potential food insecurity, infact the repercussions of the Boko Haram crisis are enormous and as someone who has been involved with assessment of the impacts and rebuilding efforts in the last seven years, I am in position to know the endless negative impact the Boko Haram has made in Borno” Zulum said.
He had then disclosed plans to engage in a high-level consultation with President Muhammadu Buhari, the service chiefs and the resident security heads, traditional rulers, elders and religious leaders, national and state assembly members, academics, other stakeholders and victims of insurgents’ attacks with a view to addressing what he described as a difficult situation.
The governor noted that though the surrender by thousands of insurgents provides a significant opportunity to end the 12 years of war, there were concerns that needed to be addressed. The concerns, bother on the feelings of victims as well as the confidence of citizens in the event repentant insurgents are to be reintegrated.