- Says 14m Northern youths roam the streets aimlessly
Onyebuchi Ezigbo andÂ Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has said contrary to federal governmentâ€™s claim, Boko Haram is not defeated but only degraded.
Shettima spoke in Abuja during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Profoturo, a global charity organisation based in Madrid, Spain; the Northern Nigeria Governors Forum (NNGF) and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).
The governor, whose state was the epicentre of Boko Haram deadly activities, argued that whoever said the terrorists were defeated was being economical with the truth. He said even though Nigeria had made a lot of gains in the fight against insurgency, a lot still needed to be done.
“We have to give it to this government that they have done marvelously well in containing insurgency, but they have not been totally defeated anybody. Who told you so is economical with the truth. But they have been degraded to such a level that they are no longer a threat to the corporate existence of this country.
“It is a work in progress, the commoners in the North are ever willing to cooperate with government agencies in returning peace and development of the country, because there cannot be development without peace,” he said.
Shettima also dismissed the rumours of coup making the rounds, saying, “There will never be a coup in this country, we cannot return to Egypt, military coup my foot.”
Meanwhile, the governor has raised the alarm that over 14 million Northern youths roam the streets aimlessly.
He noted that the project being championed through the MoU was all that was needed “for the North to get well, not minding where the support came from.”
According to him, “This MoU will go a long a way in rekindling hope of over 14 million youths on the streets in Northern Nigeria who are aimlessly walking the streets without hope of better tomorrow. There are 14 million of them as at the last count; so we whole-heartedly welcome this development, which will foster inter communal understanding.
“It is a welcome development and we see this as right step in the right direction to change our society to a better place, education is absolutely fundamental to repositioning the northern part of Nigeria.”
“We are touched with this support from Profoturo because education lead to poverty most especially in the North East. The ratio of poverty in the North is also alarming compared to that of the Southern states in Nigeria.
“While the quality of teachers most especially in the North-east is nothing to write home about, you cannot give what you don’t have,” he added.
Earlier, the Archbishop of Kaduna, Most Rev. Matthew Man- Oso Ndagoso, urged the Northern governors to return mission schools to their owners.
Ndagoso noted that, the quality of education had increased in Anambra state since the former Governor Peter Obi handed over the schools back to the missionaries.
“Whatever the intention the military had in taking over schools anyway, we must not dwell on what happened in the past. I hope this will be the beginning of our partnership and reconciliation in education. So I am making this passionate appeal to you our northern governors on behalf of our other Bishops from the North, ” he said.
In the same vein, the Archbishop of Sokoto Bishop Matthew Kukah, called for concerted efforts to improve the lives of Northern youths, saying, “It doesn’t matter whether you are a Muslim or Christian, educated or uneducated the whole world does not treat us in isolation.”
Kukah disclosed that, when the Profoturo met with the Pope on the need for charity works across the world, “the Holy Father (Pope) said to him, my concern is the children in the street meaning that you can be in the backwater of anywhere in Nigeria and still compete with anyone in the world.”
He however, appealed to the governors to ensure that the project to provide education to Northern children become successful.
Therefore, he said, the Nigerian Governors Forum would have to take this burden off us. “We will meet the commissioner of education with the 19 northern states. The difficulty will be with the bureaucracyâ€¦,” he added.