Michael Olugbade in Maiduguri
The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Garbai Elkanemi, has lamented that 13 district heads and several ward heads (Bulamas) were killed in his emirate at the peak of the ongoing Boko Haram crisis by the terrorist group.
The monarch made the disclosure in Maiduguri at the weekend during a courtesy visit by a delegation of the Senate Committee on Special Duties led by Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, representing Taraba Central, who were in Borno State to assess the performance of the North East Development Commission (NEDC).
He further lamented that the decade-old crisis had also displaced thousands of people who are now taking refuge in displaced persons’ camps across the state.
The traditional ruler claimed that the Boko Haram crisis started in the state in July 2009 following a disagreement between the Izala and Yusufiya Islamic sects.
Elkanemi lamented that the crisis later snowballed into attacks of police stations and carting away of ammunition in police formations.
According to him, “Gradually, they moved their operations from Maiduguri to local government area headquarters and other towns within the state. In the course of their operations, the emirate council lost about 13 district heads in addition to many ward heads, who were killed in their respective domains.
“The activities of the criminal elements had not deterred our district and village heads of being proactive in reporting their activities to the security agencies.”
The monarch called on the federal government to channel more funds to the NEDC, considering the huge humanitarian crisis created by the Boko Haram terrorists, who destroyed private and public structures across the state.
He said: “I want to call for more funding for the commission to enable it facilitate the reconstruction of destroyed communities and intervention programmes toward empowering all IDPs. The call became necessary in view of the huge destruction and losses incurred in the state as a result of the crises in the last 11 years.”
The monarch commended President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the National Assembly for establishing the NEDC, which is aimed at addressing the massive humanitarian crises in the North-east region.
The leader of the Senate committee commended the state government for prioritising the welfare of displaced persons as well as other peace building efforts aimed at bringing lasting peace in the state.
He assured them that with the current efforts in the military’s counter-insurgency operation, the crises would soon become a thing of the past.
The senator explained that the delegation was in the state for an on-the-spot assessment of activities of the NEDC within the last one year.