By Michael Olugbode
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has said no one should be blinded by the recent killing of 43 rice farmers to pass judgment on the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to checkmate Boko Haram insurgency.
He said records of the security situation in the troubled state have shown that they are better off security-wise under the Buhari administration than during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He said records taken from 2011 from the 27 local government areas of the state indicate clearly that Buhari has still performed better in the handling of Borno’s security challenges.
The governor made this declaration on Sunday, while addressing northern elders from the Arewa Consultative Forum in Maiduguri.
The ACF led by the Chairman of the forum’s board of trustee, Ambassador Shehu Malami, and the forum’s Executive Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had visited to pay condolences on the government and people of Borno State over the killing of over 40 rice farmers in Zabarmari, a farming community in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
Zulum said: “From statewide statistics on affairs in the 27 local government areas since 2011, the fact is that despite the recent happenings in Borno State, the security situation in Borno State and indeed that of the entire North-east sub-region is still far better under Buhari, and this is based on records.
“For instance, unlike the years before Buhari when a number of local government were no-go-areas, we now have citizens led by our traditional rulers, safely back to Bama, Gwoza, Askira-Uba, Dikwa, Ngala, Monguno, Kukawa, Damboa, Konduga, Mafa, all of which no one could visit not to talk of living there.
“Our emirs were all in exile. Today, Bama is coming back to life and so is Askira-Uba, Damboa, Gwoza and others. Live is even returning to normal in Baga. This was impossible before Buhari.”
He said it was not possible to move few kilometres out of Maiduguri, explaining that the insurgents were so bold to attack and take over military facilities like the army barracks at Monguno, Bama, Giwa and the Multinational Joint Task Force Headquarters at Baga.
“There were daily attacks by bomb blasts in many parts of Maiduguri, the most populated part of the state but all of these have stopped under Buhari. These are the records and no one can dispute these records,” Zulum said.
He, however, said it was human nature to be more concerned about current realities than comparing the past and present.
“The insurgents by their nature always want to attract publicity which is very strategic for terror propaganda, so they resorted to attacking our communities and running away and of course this worries us,” he said.
The governor said the people will remain optimistic and keep doing their part in shared efforts to find sustainable peace in the state.
Zulum thanked the elders and all groups who paid similar visits to Borno in a show of solidarity and support to citizens with humanitarian needs.