Nigeria: Shehu - Nobody Is Safe in Borno Again

2 August 2020

Maiduguri — Seeks urgent action for protection of lives

Residents link recent attack to illicit fish trade

The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Garbai Elkanemi has condemned the attack on the convoy of Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum Wednesday, saying if the governor's convoy can be attacked, nobody is safe any longer in the state.

Also, the residents of Borno explained the rationales behind the attack on the governor's convoy, claiming that the attack was launched to cover the illicit fish business in Baga by officers of the armed forces.

Elkanemi, Borno's paramount traditional ruler, expressed concern about the safety of lives in the state on Friday when he paid the governor the traditional Sallah homage at the Government House, Maiduguri.

Gunmen had attacked the convoy of the governor at Baga, a town under Kukawa Local Government Area. The governor was on his way to some internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the northern part of Borno when the incident happened.

Also, on the eve of Sallah, Boko Haram insurgents carried out mortal attack on Maiduguri where six persons were officially declared killed and 27 injured.

Furious about the attacks, the Borno governor had confronted the armed forces, expressing disappointment at the inability of the military to rid Baga and environs of insurgents.

He had said: "You have been here for over one year now. There are 1,181 soldiers here. If you cannot take over Baga, which is less than 5 kilometres from your base, then we should forget about Baga. I will inform the Chief of Army Staff to redeploy the men to other places that they can be useful."

But concerned about the serial attacks in different parts of the state Friday, Elkanemi noted that that the people of Borno State, once one of the most peaceful states in the federation, "now live in perpetual fear because the state is no longer safe."

Addressing the governor after the attacks, the monarch said: "We are not happy about what happened in Baga. It is very unfortunate and great pity. If the convoy of the governor could be attacked, nobody is safe because he is the number one citizen of the state. He is the Chief Security Officer of the state.

"If a convoy of such highly placed person in the state will be attacked, nobody is safe. The matter is getting worse, I urge everyone to raise up our hands to seek for Allah's intervention."

The Borno paramount ruler, therefore, urged the armed forces and presidency to work out urgent actions to secure the lives and property in the state and restore reassurance of their safety.

The royal father, who also spoke on COVID-19 pandemic, urged residents of the state to continue to adhere strictly to all preventive protocols advocated by health experts.

Shehu lamented that the rate at which trees were being felled in different parts of the was detrimental to the environment, urging the state government to take urgent steps in mitigating this dangerous act before it leads to a serious environmental problem.

He called for the reintroduction of tree planting which was a regular practice in the past.

Speaking in Maiduguri yesterday, a public commentator, Mallam Bulama Yerima confirmed the allegation that the business of fish in Baga "has been taken over by the military and that is why they do not want any one to go their let alone restoring civil authority.

"It is believed that the army do not want the governor to see the alleged fish business during the visit, hence the stage managed attack and even the Maiduguri grenade launched yesterday which killed four."

He alleged that the prolonged Boko Haram war could be traced to sabotage as some people have come to benefit from the war and perhaps are doing everything to make sure it is not over yet.

He said: "Well I cannot go outside Borno State and say that it's the entire North or Northeast where there is a sabotage, but for certainly l belief that of Borno is a sabotage."

A professor at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), Prof. Khalifa Dikwa said President Muhammadu Buhari "is doing all in his power to end the war," though claimed that some individuals might be sabotaging his efforts.

He said: "Why I must exonerate the President, it is the view of the people that some of them (forces) do not want the war to end. they are making money."

He said the attack on the governor's convoy might have been initiated by some soldiers "to stop him from have free movement in Baga, It is possible, since it is true that the soldiers have taken over the fish business in Baga , acting like gendarmes along Maiduguri-Ngala road."

He said it is known to everyone that "soldiers are doing things other than their main job at the borders. The military will deny it even if the Governor describes exactly what they are doing in Baga and Gamboru Ngala.

"The fish packages don't come to Maiduguri Market, but go to Hadeja and Yola markets," the professor, who had been at the forefront of restoring to the troubled state, said in an interview with journalists yesterday.

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