Premium Times (Abuja)

17 February 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Nigeria Is in a State of War - Governor Shettima

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima today warned that Boko Haram members may continue to wreak havoc on residents of the state as they are more ... ( Resource: Nigerian Army Can't Defeat Boko Haram- Governor Shettima

The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has said that Nigeria is in a state of war as the military tries to defeat the Boko Haram.

Mr. Shettima also said the fight against Boko Haram is far from being won, as the insurgents seem to be more motivated than the Nigerian military. He said though the troops were doing their best, the insurgents were better armed.

Fielding questions from journalists after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House in Abuja, Mr. Shettima said Nigeria was facing a threat of war. He said the faster Nigerian leaders braced up to the challenge, the better it would be.

"Well, in a nutshell what we are being confronted with is that we are in a state of war. It is what I came to update Mr. President, the sooner we stop playing the ostrich and rise up to the challenges of the day, and marshal all resources towards visualizing the antics of Boko Haram, the better for all of us," the governor said.

"But the bottom line is that we need more resources, more vote on ground. In all fairness to the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and Police, they are doing their best given the circumstances they have found themselves in. But honestly Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops.

"And believe me, I am (an) eternal optimist as I have always said. But I am also a realist. Given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible for us to defeat Boko Haram," he said.

Asked if the president was made to understand that the Boko Haram were better armed, the governor said, "I made it emphatically clear to Mr. President that the Boko Haram are better armed and better motivated, anybody who is following events in this country can attest to the fact that they have a very smooth sail overrunning communities, killing people.

"Have we ever succeeded in thwarting any of their plans? They went to Konduga and did what they wanted to do; they held sway for several hours before they left. They were in Kauri, Izge.

"And I don't blame the Nigerian military honestly, we the leaders should be held responsible for our failure in leadership".

No fewer than 100 people were killed, weekend, in separate attacks in Baga and Izge villages of Kukawa and Gwoza Local Government Areas of Borno State by suspected members of Boko Haram sect.

On the figure of lives lost in attacks by insurgents, the governor said, "In Idzge alone we lost 106 people and they raided eight other communities so until I get back home, today or tomorrow I cannot give you the exact figure. But some were hospitalized with very great injuries so I am afraid the figures might climb".

On an alleged recent threat by members of the insurgent group to launch an onslaught if Cameroon assists the Nigerian government to fight it, Mr. Shettima said, "I am not privy to such an information."

"But the President has assured us that he will put in his best to see that the unfortunate tendency of the Boko Haram overrunning communities and butchering innocent souls is brought under control," he said.

When asked about the implication the Boko Haram attacks will have on the 2015 elections, the governor said he did not care about the elections. He said his major concern is that peace should return to the state and the northern region as a whole.

"It's too early for anybody to talk about election when human lives are involved, power comes from God and He gives power to whom He will. I don't care a hoot whether elections are here but I do care that peace is restored in Borno and the North East sub-region, so people should stop playing politics" he said.

Borno, like Adamawa and Yobe, has been under emergency rule for almost a year as the military tries to defeat the insurgents.

Hundreds of people have been killed by the insurgents since the start of the year with hundreds of houses burnt in several communities. Over 6,000 Nigerians have also been displaced to neighbouring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon in 2014 alone, according to the United Nations.

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InFocus

Nigeria Is In a State of War, Says Borno Governor

Boko Haram militants appear to be more motivated than the Nigerian military and are much better equipped, says Kashim Shettima. Read more »