Maiduguri — Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, has declared Monday, February 24, 2020 for statewide fasting and prayers alongside an intensified offensive by Nigeria' military and volunteer forces against Boko Haram insurgents.
Zulum disclosed this on Wednesday in a six-minute broadcast to the people of the state. He, however, said there will be no public holiday on Monday next week.
The insurgents have lately resumed serial attacks on communities in different parts of Borno state with the latest in Chibok on Tuesday after previous one in Auno last Sunday.
The governor, after enumerating ongoing collaboration with the military, mass recruitment, equipping and deployment of thousands of volunteers in the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes, said his call for prayers was a strange but necessary decision made based on popular wish of Borno people.
"Even though this decision is based on the popular demand of our people, some observers may rightly argue that it is a strange call. But then, Borno has been befallen with a strange evil since 2009, and sometimes, strange ailments require strange approaches.
"As your Governor, I hereby declare Monday the 24th of February 2020 as a day of devotion to pray for the return of peace in Borno. I intend to fast on that day and I appeal to every one of us in Borno, who can, to join in that simple, but pricelessly rewarding spiritual endeavour.
"I also appeal for the sacrifices of all other well-meaning friends and associates of Borno who can, to join us in fasting on Monday, insha' Allah, for the restoration of peace in Borno state and rest of Nigeria.
"I urge all of us to be steadfast in prayers. But in doing that, we certainly do not need to congregate in open fields for dramas.
"It would also not matter whether we are within or outside Borno State and whether we are at work places, markets or not. There will be no public holiday; after all, God is everywhere, at home and at work.
"Let us pray to Him with the purest intention, total devotion, submission and unwavering faith.
"His eminence, the Shehu of Borno has assured me of his call on Imams of all mosques across the 27 local government areas of the state to recite the Qunut throughout the five congregational prayers on Monday. Leaders of the Christian community have also assured me of special prayer sessions in churches.
"However, as citizens, we are all free to pray in the best ways we prefer," the Governor said.
Daily Trust reports that Zulum began his broadcast by recalling recent security threats posed by the Boko Haram.
The governor urged citizens to pray for those killed by insurgents, armed forces and volunteers who died fighting the insurgents and troops currently in battle fronts.
The Governor also called on citizens to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari whom he described as sincerely committed to ending the Boko Haram insurgency.
"We should pray for our President, Muhammadu Buhari, whose sincerity in the fight against Boko Haram has never been in doubt.
"Fellow citizens, as your Governor, I testify that President Buhari is supremely dedicated to ending the Boko Haram insurgency. The evidence of the President's dedication is the military's freeing of thousands of abducted citizens and the liberation of many communities in Borno State hitherto under the sovereign administration of insurgents. Majority of these communities were rebuilt and are now occupied by resettled citizens.
"These gains for humanity, are what the Boko Haram insurgents hope and are determined to reverse. We cannot let them succeed.
"We must fight and pray for good to triumph over evil.
"May God free Borno and the rest of Nigeria from insurgents and all enemies of public peace and security," the governor said.