Despite assurances of military strength and capacity in Borno State by the presidency, the insurgents yesterday attacked Izge village again, shooting sporadically and burning the village.
Residents of Izge told the Hausa Service of the BBC that the sect stormed the village, killing several people and burning many houses with impunity in an attack that lasted three hours and 22 minutes, adding that, presently, many had fled the troubled zone to the neighbouring Adamawa State.
The insurgents attacked the same village last week, killing over 100 people.
According to the residents, the sect members had, prior to the sporadic shooting, gone away with food items belonging to the villagers.
The sect members also attacked Malari village, about 15km away from Maiduguri, the state capital.
Security sources also confirmed to the BBC that security operatives had begun an investigation into the matter.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) and governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu, has called on the federal government to provide states faced by insurgencies adequate funds to help fight the menace.
The Forum also called on the federal government to deploy more security personnel with superior military equipment to areas vulnerable to insecurity in the north.
“The Forum also reiterated its appeal to the federal government to provide adequate funds to Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states afflicted with the problem of insurgency in order to address attendant issues,” a statement released yesterday in Minna and signed by the chief press secretary to the chairman of the Forum, Danladi Ndayebo, reads in part.
The northern governors also asked the federal government to adopt measures to boost the morale of the security personnel to enable them effectively fight the insurgents and other threats to security in the region.
Aliyu, who was reacting to the killing on Saturday of 29 people by unknown gunmen in Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State, also urged the military to review its counter-insurgency strategy to protect innocent citizens who are being killed daily by members of the Boko Haram.
Boko Haram: No plans to impose military government on Borno – Presidency
The presidency yesterday refuted reports in the media suggesting that President Goodluck Jonathan was planning to step up the ongoing state of emergency in Borno State by imposing a military governor on the state.
It described the said report as another mischievous attempt to project the federal government in bad light, even as he reiterated the current administration’s readiness to adhere to the rule of law.
According to the said report in one of the national newspapers (not LEADERSHIP), the Presidency has already identified a retired army general that it intends to appoint as the military administrator of Borno State, based on the belief that “placing a soldier in charge of the state government will send a signal to the recalcitrant insurgents”.
The report further claimed that the move to suspend democratic structures in Borno State was recently revived following a similar attempt last May when the president first declared a state of emergency in Adamawa State.
But, when contacted, special adviser to the president on media and publicity Dr Reuben Abati told LEADERSHIP last night that, while the said report did not make any sense, the country’s constitution does not make any provision for military rule in a civilian regime.
Abati noted, however, that if at all there was a need to extend the ongoing state of emergency in the states of the north that are currently observing it, government would not hesitate to do so.
He said: “It (the said report) is preposterous; it does not make any sense. This is one of the states that government had declared a state of emergency twice, and on the two occasions it did not remove the governors of the affected states.
“Nowhere does the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recommend military rule over civilian rule in a democratic setting like Nigeria. And this is a government that has consistently placed emphasis on strict adherence to the rule of law.
“If there is need to extend the state of emergency in the states that are currently observing it, government would do so and not to remove a democratically elected governor. To suggest that the federal government is trying to impose a military government in a democratic dispensation is far-fetched. Let it not be another mischievous attempt in the media to project government in bad light,” Abati added.
Shettima visits Bama, donates N300 million to victims
Governor of Borno State Kashim Shettima yesterday condemned the attack on Bama that claimed the lives of over 100 people, even as he released the sum of N300 million for the immediate rebuilding of the destroyed town.
Shettima said the attack on Bama did not only further reflect the lunacy of Boko Haram but also an “assault on the pride and integrity of our people as a whole”.
The governor’s visit to Bama came at the time residents of Malari village in Konduga local government area were burying two farmers killed on Saturday by Boko Haram gunmen.
Shettima, who spent five hours in Bama inspecting the extent of the destruction brought upon the people by the Boko Haram, said the people needed prompt and immediate assistance.
He instructed an eight-man committee set up by him to immediately reconstruct destroyed houses, schools and other public buildings.
The committee led by Alhaji Jidda Shuwa, a retired federal perm sec, was directed by the governor to “boycott all bureaucratic bottlenecks to ensure speedy rebuilding of the town”.
“We want you all to apply a direct approach in rebuilding the destroyed schools and people’s homes; no money or contract should be given to an individual. But first concentrate on the schools so that our children can go back to school; while doing that ensure all the schools now have a kitchen so that the pupils and students can have at least a meal a day,” he said.
The Shehu of Bama who had earlier conducted Governor Shettima round the town pleaded for his fleeing subjects to return home as government was putting all strategies in place to secure their lives from further attacks.
The visibly irked monarch had threatened to force open all the homes of rich residents of Bama who had locked up their homes and fled to Maiduguri and Abuja in order to allow residents who had lost their homes occupy them. He said doing so would serve as a punishment for their unpatriotic desertion of their towns in times of difficulties only to return in time of politics.
Governor Shettima, who left Bama late in the evening, had to stop by a village called Malari in Konduga local government area, which Boko Haram gunmen had attacked on Saturday night.
In the attacked village, which was still smoking at the time of the visit, the governor was informed that two people were killed while several homes and two blocks of shopping complex were also burnt down.
Malari is 15km from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Boko Haram: Adamawa/Cameroun borders closed
The commander of the 23rd Armoured Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Yola, Brigadier General Rogers Ibe Nicholas, has confirmed that, as part of efforts to contain the movement of insurgents across Adamawa border with Cameroun Republic, the Adamawa side of the border with Cameroun has been shut.
He said it became imperative to completely seal off the borders against illegal movement in and out of the country in order to fully implement the emergency rule and to forestall further violence.
‘’The borders were really not so closed per se; it was a bit closed; miscreants were coming in from the other country. So I felt one of the best things to do was to totally close the borders.
‘’What I did was to completely seal off the borders: no coming in, no going out. The authority is on the strength of the state of emergency declared by the president,’’ he said.
He further explained that, with the border closure, the military was able to curtail the influx of miscreants, terrorist elements and other bad eggs into the country.
He said the military authorities were working closely with the traditional rulers and other sister security organizations to ensure the success of operations in the area.
The state commissioner of border integration, Alh. Hamza Bello, said that border communities had been enlightened as the state governor advised everyone to abide by the order and urged the people of Cameroun to also understand Nigeria’s situation and bear with the decision.
He said Nigerians and Camerounians have always live peacefully as they are brothers and sisters with common background and ancestry and as such would work together to resolve the security challenges.
There are many legal and illegal border routes between Nigeria and Cameroun, particularly in Ganye, Belel, Mubi, Madagali, Toungo as well as Maiha and other crossing points.
Boko Haram has a case – Adamawa deputy gov
The leader of Adamawa PDP and deputy governor of the state, Barr. Bala James Ngillari, has attributed the wide-scale violence rocking the country to injustice and looting.
Ngillari made the remark during the inauguration of the Adamawa State office of Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria.
Ngillari said the prevailing injustice was the foundation of the crisis being witnessed in the country. “Boko Haram has a case, as a lot of them are victims of injustice. They are trying to make a case; we must be fair to them; we must insist on good governance.”
He urged people to be wary of politicians who incite trouble, saying that most of them have sent their children to study abroad and would leave the country whenever it is on fire.
Nggilari added that less than 1, 000 of such people who stole billions of naira were behind the trouble facing Nigeria, urging Nigerians to be wary of anyone who asked them to indulge in violence as his children would not be involved.
He expressed regret over the pathetic security situation in Borno State: “I weep for Borno State. It will take the state 70 years to catch up because some people don’t want us to live in peace.”
The deputy governor said there can never be peace in a country that treats its people along class lines, resulting in relegating merit to the background.
“I know two or three people that came with first-class degrees without job while the children of the rich with third-class degrees are given good jobs,” he said.
For Nigeria to get it right, he stated, the forgotten and relegated spirit of fairness, equity and transparency left behind by the late premier of Northern Region who treated people without sentiments and apathy must be re-embraced.
The deputy governor said if leaders could demonstrate the leadership qualities of Sardauna, violence would be a thing of the past.
He recalled how, as a leader, Sardauna drove to Otukpo only to meet a small boy (now Archbishop Onaiyekan) who had put up an excellent academic record in order to prod him on to more academic excellence.
He said investors were scared to come to Adamawa State because of security challenges around it, adding that there was a time when he visited Birmingham and somebody told him that there were 16 strategic minerals in the state: “I was told by the person that any country that has three of them should be glad.”
He added that, even recently, there was an attempt by an Australian company to invest in Adamawa but due to the security challenges the company sent an African man to represent them because, in the event of any eventuality, the company must pay heavy premium.
Ngillari said because of the drift in Nigeria, the world is making it a pariah nation, adding that even small banana republics in Africa don’t want to do anything with the country. “In the ‘80’s, we were respected and trusted and we could hold our heads high. In those days, a Nigerian could import goods from other countries without payment because of the level of trust they had in us.”