Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno
By Michael Olugbode and Senator Iroegbu
Stakeholders in Borno State are to come out with a master-plan to put an end to the Boko Haram insurgency, Governor Kashim Shettima has said.
Equally, the Nigerian Army has denied recent media reports that one of their staff by name Captain Bahago was declared wanted by the Police in connection with the activities of Boko Haram.
Shettima, who disclosed this Monday at the Maiduguri International Airport, while addressing journalists, said the Marshall plan was to draw up a “road map” on how to address the root causes that led the Boko Haram to killings and bombings in the North-east sub-region of the country.
He said stakeholders would work out plan aimed at reducing poverty and unemployment with the belief that it would end the siege on the state by the group, stressing that the report is expected to be submitted in March.
The governor noted that the rising rates of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and youths’ restiveness in the country had facilitated the Boko Haram insurgency, stating that government at various levels must go back to the root causes of the sect’s insurgency in ending the serial killings and bombings by the sect in the North.
He lamented that: “In the last two years, the ten local government areas that make up Borno North produced only two students with five General Certificate of Education (GCE) credits and above. And even those two, I heard, were the sons of soldiers posted to the area. So, apart from the children of the elite, there were no children of ordinary citizens in the whole of Borno North who were qualified to secure admission into the Universities.”
Meanwhile, the Army in a statement signed Monday by the Chief of Staff, Directorate of Army Public Relations, Col. Usman Abdul, said the suspect could have adopted the name in an attempt to divert attention from his real identity.
Abdul said: “The report which quotes the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone 7, Mr Atiku Y Kafur, as its source, indicates that the said “Army Captain” is declared wanted along with seven others for being a member of the Boko Haram sect.”
Besides, he added that: “the late Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf, despite his misguided ideology, retained the loyalty of the sect members by providing a meal a day. The sect leader had a youth empowerment scheme, under which he facilitated members to go into petty trading and wheel barrow pushing to earn a living. He also arranged cheap marriages among sect members, which enabled them get married, which gave them personal dignity and respect.”
Shettima however noted that the deployment of soldiers to Borno state, was not the preferred and final solution to the insurgency though the soldiers are needed for the protection of people’s lives and property, he said: “Unless a political solution is found, we could be in for a war of attrition with the loss of many lives and property.”
He said the Boko Haram is like a “Bermuda Triangle” sitting on three legs, comprising the sect members, the political wing of Boko Haram which hobnobs with leaders of the PDP in the state, and the ordinary criminals who cash in on the insecurity situation.”
Shettima however said: “What is needed now is not blame game but to find a solution. We need a holistic approach, including dialoguing with the sect’s moderate elements in order to rehabilitate them. Borno State government will pursue a socio-economic empowerment program at the grassroots with agriculture as its centrepiece. My administration inherited N62 billion from former governor, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff, which had since increased to N72 billion. Next month, we shall convene a Stakeholders’ Conference to work out a Marshal Plan on moving the state forward.”
Meanwhile, the Army in a statement signed yesterday by the Chief of Staff, Directorate of Army Public Relations, Col. Usman Abdul, explaining that the suspect the suspect could have adopted the name in an attempt to divert attention from his real identity.
Abdul said he attention that the news story on pages one and two of the weekend (Saturday 11- Sunday 12 February, 2012) edition of one the dailies (not THISDAY) with the caption, “Boko Haram: Police declare Army Captain, 7 others wanted” is false.
He said: “The report which quotes the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone 7, Mr Atiku Y Kafur, as its source, indicates that the said “Army Captain” is declared wanted along with seven others for belonging to the Boko Haram sect.”
“The Army wishes to state emphatically that after due investigations, it has come to the conclusion that it does not have any person in its staff holding by the name, “Captain Bahago” It would not be surprising that the suspect in question could have adopted such name in an attempt to impersonate and divert attention from his real identity.
“It is most unfortunate that neither the source nor the medium in question deemed it expedient to defer to it in view of the implications of the matter on national security,” he noted.
He noted that while the Army would not want to choose this medium as a forum for educating the parties involved, it nevertheless wishes to advise that its inputs be sought on such matters in due course before going to the press.
“It is accordingly demanded, in this instance, that necessary steps be taken to retract the story and put it in the proper perspective,” he demanded.