Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd)
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), yesterday visited Yobe State on his first official assignment and met with the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, who appealed to the Federal Government to deploy more troops to the state.
Gaidam said President Goodluck Jonathan should be commended for taking wide ranging measures to tackle insecurity in the state and other parts of the North including the appointment of a new NSA to coordinate and advance efforts to restore peace and security.
Speaking in Damaturu, the state capital, the governor said, “There is a clear change of strategy in the fight against insecurity as promised by Mr President.
“There is an indication that our hopes, pride and dignity as citizens of this great country would be restored,” Gaidam said.
He also commended the Joint Task Force (JTF) operating in the state for its unwavering effort at ensuring the safety and security of people’s lives and property.
He noted that the current security challenges that the state faces require even more robust efforts to address.
“I wish to appeal for the deployment of more troops to the state to complement the efforts of those on the ground and particularly deployment of a full Joint Task Force comprising all security agencies so as to enable them tackle the security challenges more effectively,” Gaidam said.
The governor, however, pointed out that his government supports "dialogue and negotiations" with the Boko Haram insurgents but this should be pursued “to the extent that the insurgents are willing to accept to negotiate and dialogue.”
“Let me share with the National Security Adviser an opinion I have expressed earlier on the current security challenges.
“In as much as government has the power and the sacred duty to protect the lives and property of the citizens whenever they come under threat, if one considers the colossal collateral damage these confrontations bring about due to the unconventional methods of the insurgents, the option of resolution through dialogue and negotiation should be pursued as a priority.
“We are therefore in support of any move towards negotiated settlement provided the insurgents are willing to accept the call for dialogue,” Gaidam said.
Governor Gaidam also used the opportunity to debunk allegations in some quarters that members of the Christian community are particularly targeted.
He said Boko Haram attacks in Yobe affect all residents irrespective of religious inclinations. “There is a need for me to disabuse people’s minds of the false impression being created as if the situation in Yobe State is that of an attack by the Muslim population against the Christians.
"This is totally unfounded as the attacks cut across all religious inclinations with churches, as well as public buildings like schools including Islamiyyah and government vehicles been destroyed.
"Furthermore, most of the innocent lives lost are mainly Muslims in the state,” he said.
Gaidam called on the people of Yobe and other Nigerians to disregard such rumours and continue to pray for restoration of peace and cooperate with security agencies in their efforts toward bringing back normalcy and peace.