By Michael Olugbode
Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has called on military and security agencies to throw their searchlight on every family, including his, in the ongoing efforts to unravel persons with links to Boko Haram.
He said that in the ongoing war against terrorism in the country there must be no sacred cow and the military should know the war against Boko Haram was far from over.
The governor who said the capture of the Sambisa Forest, the notorious base of the insurgents, did not mean that the struggle against terrorism was over in the country, warned that this may rather be an opening of attack on soft targets by the “cowardly” Boko Haram.
Shettima, in a state-wide broadcast on Friday, said since “our gallant military and other security agencies have now denied them (insurgents) the use of their former high command, however, we must remind ourselves that the recapture of Sambisa Forest and the flushing out of the terrorists from most of their former enclaves does not mean that our struggle is over.
“Instead, the terrorists have resorted in their usual cowardly fashion, to stepping up attacks on soft targets. Cowardly and vile attacks such as those on schools, places of worship, markets and other soft targets are signs of the terrorists’ weakness and of their desperation to tell their terror co-travelers around the world, that they are not yet finished.”
The governor while acknowledging the sacrifice of his people towards arresting the insurgency, asked them to be more vigilant now more than ever before.
He said: “I know the sacrifices many citizens have made and it is because of your devotion that I am urging all the people of Borno State to rise up as one and increase our community vigilance, especially around soft targets.
“We must remobilise ourselves and step up vigilance and community policing around all our population and community centres like mosques, churches, markets, schools, hospitals, shopping complexes, football fields, social gatherings and motor parks.
“We must watch out for strange and suspicious faces, not for the purpose of taking the law into our hands but for reporting these suspicious persons to the nearest security agents for prompt action.
“I urge you, the good people of Borno State, not to despair but to rise as one and stand up to this murderous gasp of a dying insurgency.
He said the government had always been encouraged and strengthened by the bold patriotism of parents who turn in their children in to security outfits over their involvement in insurgency and those that had encouraged their wards to join the battle against Boko Haram even at the price of their lives.
Shettima said: “This is why I strongly say to security agencies, that anyone factually suspected of despicable links with the Boko Haram and other criminals should face justice even if that person happens to be one of my three biological children.
“Support for insurgents is a crime against humanity, and as people of Borno we will not allow them succeed in their wish to make us live in the permanent slavery of fear. In fact, they have failed in their mission because together, we have said no to them. And in saying NO, we must not let them cause us any more harm.”
Shettima equally acknowledged the assistance of donor agencies toward the rehabilitation of the people of the state and the rebuilding of destroyed infrastructures.
He said: “In the midst of our pain in these trying times, we must acknowledge the support of international and local humanitarian agencies, development partners and credible NGOs for standing by the good people of Borno State through thick and thin.”