Nigeria: Ambush - I'll Be More Careful - Governor Zulum

29 September 2020

At least 15 security operatives including soldiers, police officers and Civilian-JTF lost their lives during the attack, while eight others sustained injuries as well.

Following recent attacks on his convoy, the governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, said he would be "more careful" about how he executes his administration's commitment to restoring peace to all the communities of the state.

Mr Zulum gave this assurance to the members of the National Assembly from Borno, who paid him a sympathy visit in respect of the recent ambushes on his convoy.

At least 15 security operatives including soldiers, police officers and Civilian-JTF lost their lives during an attack last week, while eight others sustained injuries as well.

Led by a former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, now a senator, the NASS members expressed their sympathy and solidarity with the governor.

They also prayed for all security personnel that have lost their lives in the course of the counterinsurgency war.

Governor Zulum, who appreciated the visit, noted that it was a mark of solidarity and support for him.

He, however, said that he remained undeterred in his determination to deliver a peaceful Borno State in no distant time.

The governor said the situation in the state is still "very dicey" especially in view of himself and those who accompanied him to the northern parts of Borno State.

"The situation, of course, is obnoxious and unlikely to remain unchanged except drastic actions is taken; otherwise the insurgency will take over Maiduguri," he said.

Mr Zulum added that his government is desirous of rekindling normalcy in the shores of the Lake Chad, the Sambisa axis and the Mandara hills, which "have been providing tremendous agricultural potentials to the teeming rural farmers in the state." Therefore the only solution for us to reduce the insurgency is to ensure the return of communities to these three locations to allow the people having their means of livelihoods."

"Notwithstanding my comments, security is very paramount; the safety of our lives is also very important. I am not unmindful of the advice that is coming to me from your humble selves and other members of the delegation. Although we are very much aware that God has the ultimate say for everything that happens in this world, again, God has also advised us to be very careful in all our dealings.

"And therefore I want to assure you that Insha Allah I will abide by some of the advice that you have given to me; we shall be more careful in carrying out our mandates and responsibilities because security is very paramount.

"This is very important. But under no circumstances shall we be deterred in our determination to rescue the people of Borno State.

"Your coming to sympathise is very important to all of us because it symbolises unity, respect and solidarity. And we shall, as a government, continue to partner with the members of the NASS."

Speaking earlier, Mr Shettima said the entire NASS members were at the Government House on a solidarity cum sympathy visit.

"We are here to commiserate with the governor, the government and people of Borno over the incidence of past days and weeks," he said.

"Hope springs eternal from the heart of men. And we believe that our people have the resilience and the courage to endure whatever hardship to see the restoration of lasting peace in our fatherland. And most importantly, we call on our people to give the maximum support and cooperation to the government and the military establishment to see that we restore peace in Borno.

"We are all in this together; the military who pay supreme sacrifices, the Nigerian police force, the Civil defence corp and our Civilian-JTF are all making supreme sacrifices for the common good. We pray for the repose of those who paid the Supreme price and may God grant their families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss."

Asked by journalists on what they, as legislators from Borno State, thought the federal government should do differently on the issue of escalating insecurity, the former governor said, "We are not here to the grandstand. We have access to corridors of power, but we have relayed our feelings and our views to the governor who will cross-pollinate his ideas with our leaders in Abuja.

"The commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to the establishment of peace in this part of the country is unimpeachable. The establishment of the Northeast Development Commission more than anything else buttresses his commitment to the Northeast subregion.

"We believe that in the fullness of time, he is going to address our challenges. And we do not want to do or say anything contrary in order not to jeopardise the interests of our people. All we need to do is for us to support the president and rally round our governor whom the president holds in the highest esteem."

On the persistence of the insurgency nearly two years after he left office, Mr Shettima said, "by human nature, God creates man to confront challenges and our governor is inbuilt with courage and commitment to frontally address the challenges of governance.

"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. So the governor is equal to the task; he is forging ahead, and by the grace of God, we shall soon have an enduring peace in Borno, the Northeast and Nigeria in general."

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