By Our Correspondents
Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday warned that the Boko Haram had the capacity to extend havoc across the country if they succeeded in overrunning the North-East.
He said: If Boko Haram succeeds in overrunning the North East as they seek, they will surely want to extend greater havoc to other parts of the north and if they overrun the north, they would want to extend to the south. Crisis of any type has got a life of its own which depends on something for survival.”
The governor, who spoke at a two-day conference on security and human rights organised by the Centre for Historical Documentation and Research of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, described as gross misunderstanding of the Boko Haram crisis by those who should be in a position to proffer solution to the crisis.
He said that it was unfortunate that the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku was blind to the real crisis of Boko Haram and therefore chose to trivialise it.
According to him, it was a thing of concern that the nation’s chief spokesman who once served as Supervising Minister of Defence had a shallow understanding of the Boko Haram crisis, saying “no one might ever know the extent he might have inflicted his understanding of the Boko Haram on the Service Chiefs he had to work with”.
The governor lamented that the insurgents had done so much harm to the religion of Islam and killed thousands of innocent souls in Borno state and destroyed property worth tens of billions of naira.
He, however, warned that if the insurgents were allowed to overrun the north eastern part of the country, they would seek to extend their territory to other parts of the country, blaming negligence as responsible for the current state the nation found itself.
He said: “As humans, we depend on oxygen and crisis depends on negligence and this negligence can be in different forms. Negligence can be in form of parents or teachers failing to instil the right habits in children to keep them out of crime; it can be in form of government failing to create and provide jobs to citizens in order to make crime unattractive or government failing to work hard to get the right intelligence at a good time or refusing to act appropriately with the right wares…
“Boko Haram insurgency has drenched our society in blood and systematically, it has been responsible for a creeping destruction of the harmony of communities in huge swathes of Borno state especially, but also in other states of northern Nigeria. The insurgency threatens the order of human and civilised existence and the ability of the state to provide the security and the welfare which Nigerian constitution says is the basis for the existence of the state.
“Boko Haram slaughters, shoots and crush innocent people, destroy communities and public establishments for the fact that citizens do not share their violent ideology of murder and destructions. To Boko Haram, the life of a Muslim who doesn’t share the sect’s ideology is as condemned as that of a Christian or a traditionalist.
“There is one form of negligence that I didn’t mention, which to me is one of the major factors standing on our way of ending Boko Haram. There is a supreme negligence of understanding of the Boko Haram crisis itself and this makes it stubbornly difficult to make prescriptions.
“Only days ago, the Minister of Information, the chief spokesman of the country, Labaran Maku trivialised the Boko Haram crisis by blaming it on Borno state government. Maku is the one to educate not just Nigerians, but the entire world on what constitutes Boko Haram. However, the driver happens to be blind.
Our troops won’t leave Nigeria until Chibok girls are found – US
The United States government has said that there is no timeline in the search of Chibok girls, adding that the US troops will be in Nigeria until the kidnapped schoolgirls are found.
Spokesperson of the Department of State, Ms. Marie Harf, who made this known in a press conference addressed in Washington, DC yesterday said: “We’re certainly hopeful that we will track them down, and we’re committed to putting resources to doing that.”
Harf, who said that the US government would do whatever it requires to help the Nigerian government find the missing girls, explained that America’s counter-terrorism cooperation needed to be put in a proper context.
As the search for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls over two months ago continues, the United States President Barrack Obama, has said that his administration would fight against alleged human rights violations in Nigerian.
Obama, who spoke through Harf, further noted that the US had maintained a level of military cooperation with the Nigerians in keeping with relevant human rights legislation and human rights concerns.
Speaking on behalf of Obama, she said: “So we’ve been very open at times about our concern about Nigeria’s human rights record. Obviously, this is a key topic of conversation, especially when we’re talking about counter-terrorism.
The spokesperson further added, “And where we’re concerned about human rights issues in the Nigerian government or military, we take those very seriously. We’ve talked a lot about some of our congressional responsibilities when it comes to that issue.”
US House Committee holds debate on terrorism, Boko Haram
Meanwhile, the United States House Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs will today hold a debate on the struggle against terrorism and Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Witnesses at the hearing include Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director, Africa Centre Atlantic Council, Mr. Emmanuel Ogebe, Manager Justice for Jos Project Jubilee Campaign USA and others.
I am troubled by Nigeria’s security challenges
Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar yesterday said he was troubled over the current security challenges confronting the country.
Abubakar made his feelings known in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital at the commissioning of the renovated Ilorin General Hospital.
“As someone who has watched our country triumph over a civil war and several other crises and had the privilege of supervising our country’s return to democracy, I am troubled by the challenges that currently confront our country”, he declared. Abubakar who was the special guest of honor at the ceremony however expressed optimism that the nation would soon overcome her challenges.
“However, I have no doubt in my mind that our country will overcome these transient challenges and take its rightful place in the league of prosperous nations.
“Indeed, acts of good governance such as demonstrated by your government’s youth development efforts and today’s opening of this beautiful edifice as well as the entrenchment of equity and justice can hold the promise of restoring our people’s faith in this country and strengthening our preparedness to work together to build the Nigeria we all desire and deserve”, he stated.
While congratulating the beneficiaries of the hospital project, he urged them to make the best use of the facilities, through effective patronage to meet their health needs.
He added that “it is only in so doing that you can justify the government’s huge investment in the scheme.”
Speaking at the event, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed said that as a result his administration’s “surveillance efforts, advocacy programmes and targeted interventions such as free medical care for pregnant women and under-fives, we have reduced maternal and child mortality and also created in our people the need to better take care of themselves and their environment through simple everyday measures.”
He added that the state’s primary health systems were now better equipped with modern facilities and infrastructure following supply of drugs and equipment to 43 primary healthcare centres.
Boko Haram militants attack Cameroon village
Heavily armed men suspected to be members of the Boko Haram group, numbering about 300, have attacked a locality of Gorsi Tourou in North Cameroon, killing an undisclosed number of people, burning churches and looting property.
The village chief, Moussa Sambo, who was invited by Cameroonian authorities to the capital Yaounde, told Voice Of American (VOA) the invaders had been on the hills of Gorsi Tourou for five days.
He said it all started on Friday at about 5pm when there was a heavy downpour. He said heavy gunfire was heard and there was total panic, adding that the invaders looted food, money and goods.
Sambo said some of the attackers had taken position on the hills surrounding their village and could monitor the movements of Cameroon’s military, which arrived about two hours later and engaged the militants in battle.
Cameroon’s minister of communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, told the Voice of America (VOA) that there were many casualties including assailants, a Cameroonian soldier and a villager. He also said soldiers drove back the attackers.
Meanwhile, UN representative at End Sexual Violence in Conflict Global Summit, Zainab Bangura has expressed shock over the abduction of 20 Fulani nomad women near Chibok, Borno state, saying the culprits must be brought to justice.
Bangura told Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that this unacceptable act by the Boko Haram was not restricted to Africa.
Gwoza residents flee homes over Boko Haram infiltration
Many residents of Gwoza community in Borno state have reportedly fled their homes over continued on the community by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Gwoza community was among the places infiltrated by members of the Boko Haram sect where in recent times, the Emir of the area was killed by the sect.
The residents, while speaking with the Hausa service of the BBC, lamented the frequent attacks by the sect in the area, adding: “we are suffering from hunger, no drinkable water and other amenities for survivors.”