Prolonged Insurgency: Concerns Mount  over Role of NGOs in North-east

*Military says NGOs booked hotel accomodation for 10 years

*Foreigners brought insurgency to North-east, Shehu of Borno reveals

*Hospitals, medical personnnel in repentant terrorists’ camps flay insinuations of abortion of babies

*252 babies delivered in repentant terrorists’ camps monthly

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

There are growing concerns over the role of Non-Governmetal Organisation (NGOs) and alleged international conspiracy delaying the end of the insurgency war in the North-east.

There are presently 246 foreign and local NGOs involved in different humanitarian activities in the state.

Some critics have viewed the operations of the organisations, some of which are non-descript and the absence of an exit plan in view in spite of the surrender of 82,000 insurgents and their families as a clandestine move aimed at prolonging the war.

Military authorities said the agencies paid hotel accomodation for 10 years ahead, an indication of the absence of an exit plan.

This comes as the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi, said that strangers, who came to settle in Borno State in the name of acquiring qur’anic education imported terrorism into the state .

Also, 262 children were delivered by wives of former fighters of  Boko Haram and Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) at the Hajj Camp, a rehabilitation centre in Maiduguri, Borno State capital housing 14,804 insurgents, who surrendered with their families, just as hospitals and medical personnnel in the repentant terrorist camps in Borno State deplored insinuations of abortions of pregnancies of wives of the repentant insurgents.

THISDAY Checks showed that many of the NGOs paid for hotel accommodation for upwards of 10 years.

The Economic  and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, at a meeting with bank officials in Borno, lamented the practice of allowing a single NGO to open over 50 bank accounts.

The commission subsequently declared that the movement of funds by NGOs operating in the North-east must be approved by it.

Speaking in Maiduguri, Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai, Maj Gen Christopher Musa, said it was imperative to check the inflow of funding to the agencies through diplomatic means, noting that the NGOs were powered by massive funding which required effective monitoring.

“What powers them is funding. They take hotel rooms and pay 10 years ahead. Who’s monitoring them?”, he queried.

He maintained that for the nation to move forward from the insurgency war, funding of Non-Governmetal Organisations should be checked.

He lamented the lack of access to weapons from western countries, noting that only China sold weapons to Nigeria.

“A lot of countries are looking to demonise the military. They have denied us weapons yet give to countries, who do not respect human rights.

“The western world has blocked every attempt to buy weapons. Only China allows us to buy weapons. It took three years for us to get the Super Tucano planes. We have improved greatly and we hope to do better”, he said.

He said the flow of arms through Nigeria’s borders was unchecked and called for more efforts to address the situation.

On insinuations of abortion of pregnancies of female terror suspects, he condemned such insinuations.

“In Africa, we abhor it (abortion).

We have gone to other countries and secured them. Why should we do it here. Every nation should stand up for what we want.

“When they see that you don’t want to do what they want, you have a problem. As a nation, we must look into all these things in order to move forward”, he said.

Meanwhile, Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi, while receiving a team led by the Director, Defence Information, Maj Gen Jimmy Akpor, in his palace in Maiduguri, lamented the  the devastation unleashed on Borno State by 13 years of insurgency, saying it was a ploy to take over the state by external forces. 

He said the challenge of Boko Haram insurgency was never started by Borno people. He said the late leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, was not from Borno State. 

“Everybody knows where Shekau is from,” he said.

El-Kanemi described the ideology of Boko Haram as meaningless, and not derived from any holy book.

“Boko Haram is something meaningless, mindless, without any sense of direction.

“None of the holy books either the Holy Qu’ran or Bible indicate that you kill one another, show disrespect to people, burn people’s property and cause distress.

“We don’t know that ideology, we don’t know how they decided to do this.

“These people came to Borno simply because Borno is home of peace and hospitality. Borno people like strangers, they like one another, they were doing their legitimate and local businesses”, he said.

“So these people came to Borno and requested for a place to settle while not knowing that they have an ideology which they came with and polluted the minds of the youths and created havoc in this part of the country” he said.

The traditional ruler said that the insurgents killed many people including worshippers, Muslim and Christian clerics.

“So many people died, many people were killed at that time, it was a very pathetic situation around 2009, that was maybe three months or so months of my appointment, because I was appointed in March 2009.

“They killed our imams, they killed pastors, they burnt mosques and churches, they killed our district heads, village and community leaders, traditional rulers and even one of our Amir, Amir Warda, was killed here in Borno.

“They detonated bomb on me but luckily enough I escaped with the late deputy governor,” he said.

Meanwhile, 262 children were delivered by wives of former fighters of  Boko Haram and Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) at the Hajj Camp, a rehabilitation centre in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, just as hospitals and medical personnnel in the repentant terrorist camps in Borno State deplored insinuations of abortions of pregnancies of wives of the repentant insurgents.

Hajj Camp is one of the four centres that were established by the state government in 2021 for rehabilitation of the terrorists that have surrendered to Nigerian troops.

Speaking to newsmen at the camp, the Head of the Medical Facility, Dr Mohammed Sale, said the  new born babies in the camp comprised of 150 females and 112 males. 

A breakdown of the figure showed that in July this year, 94 babies were delivered at the facility, with 98 delivered in August, 60 in September and 11 in October 

On abortion, he said the medical facility did not record any case of maternal mortality or abortion in the camp, saying such critical cases were usually referred to the state owned Umoru Shehu Specialist Hospital and University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH).

Meanwhile, the NGOs at a meeting with the military in Borno said they were not averse to scrutiny of their activities, stating that they remained focused on raising funds to meet humanitarian challenges.

Speaking at the meeting, Head of Civil Military Coordination, UN OCHA, Mr Brian Laguardia, said the groups had several meetings in the past with the military to address certain issues and allegations which he said was work in progress.

“There is no reason why you should not scrutinise us. Our focus is to raise funds to meet humanitarian challenges”, he said.

The agencies present at the meeting include, UN, WHO, UNICEF, WFP among others.

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