Boko Haram: We Received More Support from West than Middle East, Says Zulum

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Michael Olugbode

Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has said bigger support to combat the over-a-decade Boko Haram crisis has come to his state from the West than the East, largely made up of Arab nations.

The governor lamented that in the midst of challenges with the Boko Haram insurgency, countries from the West, mainly Christian countries, have shown more concern for the plight of Borno people than rich Arab nations, whose people share similarity of religion and culture with the majority of the people of the state.

It is beleived that least 46,000 people have been killed and two million displaced since Boko Haram launched its jihadi insurgency in North-east Nigeria in 2009.

In 2016, the group split into two groups — the main faction led by Abubakar Shekau and the IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

Both groups have been blamed for increasing attacks on civilians they accuse of spying for the army and pro-government militia.

In Borno State alone, over 1,000 churches have been burnt down by the insurgent groups.

Zulum gave the assessment late Tuesday in Maiduguri when he received the Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Saleh Fheied Saleh.

Zulum, who however praised Palestine for being one of the few exceptions, within the Arab community, said: “I am a practical person. I work with the realities I see on ground. In the face of our challenges over the years, we have received humanitarian support from the UK and other parts of Europe, the United States, Canada, from Japan and a host of others who have demonstrated concern and have made efforts to support our traumatised citizens in many ways especially on food, medicals and livelihoods.

“However, that level of concern never came from Arab countries with whom millions of Borno people share similarity in religion and culture. We even have indigenous Shuwa Arabs in Borno and this shows how our histories are tied.

“We have made several efforts, written and visited embassies of Arab countries, especially those that are rich and not dealing with crises, but obviously the majority of the Arabs do not care about our situation, nor do they support us. The Arabs have not shown concern to us. Your visit however, has renewed our hope especially and we are very grateful for your visit.”

The Palestinian ambassador had informed Zulum that his country plans to support the government of Borno State in some areas of need.

He said: “There are a lot of Palestinian companies in Nigeria, they are willing to work with the Borno State Government, we are ready to cooperate with you, we are ready to help in anything you want us to do that we can do,”

The Ambassador also said many Nigerians are currently residing in Palestine, particularly Borno indigenes, some of whom have diligently served the government and people of Palestine.

He said that among Borno people in Palestine, a lady called Fatima Barnawi was