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Boko Haram: Wake Up to your Responsibilities, Borno Elders Tell Jonathan

Photo: Vanguard

Borno Elders vow to drag Jonathan to court if Governor Shettima is replaced by military administrator.

Worried about the worsening insecurity in Borno, and the rumoured planned removal of the state governor, some Borno elders have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to live up to his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The elders also accused the Jonathan administration of failing to implement various report of various committees set up to review the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Many committees that have worked on the insurgency and submitted their reports and recommendations remain disappointed that no action has been taken by the Federal Government to date.

“We see this as an abdication of responsibility and lack of political will,” they said.

The elders, under the aegis of Borno Elders Forum, on Monday also vowed to use every possible means, including going to court, to resist an alleged ploy by Mr. Jonathan to replace Governor Kashim Shettima with a military administrator.

The elders were reacting to a publication in a national daily on Sunday that alleged that the presidency planned to replace Mr. Shettima with a military administrator as a final strategy to combat the Boko Haram terrorists.

The elders said they were worried because the report suggested that Mr. Shettima’s days as governor would be cut short on Wednesday when the administrator would take over the control of the volatile state.

The federal government has already denied that it has such plans.

Speaking on behalf of the Elders at the end of an emergency meeting held at the Kanem Borno Cultural and Historical Centre, Maiduguri, Bulama Gubio said, “If the presidency goes ahead and removes Governor Kashim Shettima as executive governor of Borno State, then we will go to court and seek redress, and get justice.

“The President should live up to his responsibilities by not only rescinding this intended action but also empower our Military forces to bring the insurgency to an end professionally.”

The Monday statement was endorsed by several Borno Elders including Usman Galtimari as Chairman, Mohammed Goni, Asheikh Jarma, Umaru Shehu, Ahmed AlGazali, Kyari Sandabe, Gambo Gubio, Abdullahi Shettima, Garba Satomi, Umaru Ibrahim, Kaumi Damboa, Shettima Ali Kidaji, Said Shettima, Wali Askira, Ibrahim Ngulde, Dujuma Askira, Ahmed Yusufari, Bukar Biu, Abubakar Ghide, Mohammed Adam, Mukhtar Alkali, Zanna Mamadi, Nur Alkali, Bukar Gana, Lawan Usman, Lawan Badawi, Abubakar Biu, M. D. Lawan, Adam Kyari, Bata Kwajjafa and Bulama Gubio as Secretary.

Read the full text of the Borno Elders statement below.

“The Borno Elders Forum held an emergency meeting over the news report that the President has completed the plan to remove the democratically elected Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shetimma and appoint a military administrator to rule the state.

“We received this news with shock and disappointment and we see the plan as evasive, diversionary and abdication of responsibility by the Federal Government in tackling the crisis of insurgency.

“The Elders Forum condemns in no uncertain terms this move which will lead to further escalation and complication of an already bad security situation on ground. The Elders Forum is aware of the inaction of the Federal Government in bringing this conflict to a decisive end.

“There was no serious action or political will to deal with the problem of insurgency in Borno and the rest of the Northeast. The Presidency should be reminded of the illegality of this move and we see it as an arbitrary action inconsistent with good governance and democratic principles.

“We call on the Federal Government to retract this infamous intended action. Many committees that have worked on the insurgency and submitted their reports and recommendations remain disappointed that no action has been taken by the Federal Government to date. We see this as an abdication of responsibility and lack of political will.

“We feel that military operation is purely a professional matter and should not be politicised. Security issues are handled by constitutionally established security outfits. The Nigerian Armed Forces have the constitutional mandate to protect the nation under civil authority. And the Governor of a state is the head of civil authority of the state and his presence does not in any way prevent necessary military operations. Of course the President is the Commander–in–Chief and Chief Security Officer of the nation. This implies that should there be any success or failure of the forces the bug stops at the Presidents doorsteps.

“The Governor of a state is only the Chief Security Officer of his state but lacks any control over national security forces. States do not have lawful security outfits. Therefore it is an aberration and vindictive to remove the Governor over issues he has no control on. The President should live up to his responsibilities by not only rescinding this intended action but also empower our Military forces to bring the insurgency to an end professionally.

“We are also appealing to the National Assembly to quickly intervene and stop this injustice. Meanwhile we wish to appeal to the President to appreciate the sustained efforts of the Governor of Borno State. The Governor has so far clearly demonstrated a sense of good and effective leadership in cushioning the effects of the insurgency on both the military and civilian population.”

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