Boko Haram: Gov Shettima Spends Weekend in Embattled Town
To raise the confidence of 57,000 residents, displaced persons from three local government areas, civil authorities, Civilian JTF fighters, police and the military, Borno Governor, Kashim Shettima on Friday spent the night in Monguno town where Boko Haram insurgents were battled and repelled by the Nigerian military after attempt by the terror group last week, to takeover the town. Monguno which is headquarters of Monguno local government area is located in northern Borno and it is 60 kilometers away from Baga in Kukawa local government area also within northern Borno and that is where the military is battling Boko Haram fighters since last week.
Governor Shettima was in Monguno from Friday to Saturday afternoon. He spent the night at the local government lodge. He traveled after resisting frantic efforts by aides and political associates to discourage him from visiting Monguno within days after the Boko Haram was repelled by the military when they launched attack in order to seize the military base and takeover the town last week. He traveled in company of his security aides, some soldiers, policemen and men of the civilian JTF.
The Governor was accompanied by the Senator representing Borno North, and Chairman, Senate committee on Defence, Abubakar Kyari and APC’s governorship candidate, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, a member of house of representatives, Mohammed Tahir Monguno, former Governor of Borno State, Maina Ma’aji Lawan, speaker of the state assembly, Chief of Staff amongst others.
Shettima in defying more than 24 hours of persuasion to stop his trip, reminded aides and political associates that Monguno town hosts about 57,000 fellow Borno citizens amongst them residents of the town, fleeing citizens from Kukawa who joined last week and people of Marte and Abadam local government areas (both in northern Borno) that are yet return to Marte and Abadam since 2014, because the two local government areas, though under the control of the military, serve as operational routes for both the Nigerian military and multinational forces, hence the government kept civilians away to prevent Boko Haram from trying to create human shields and from using international land boarders located around the two local government areas.
“I will be failing as a leader if fear of any kind stops me from going to Monguno where we currently have 57,000 fellow people of Borno, amongst them women and children. We must go there to show them sense of belonging, to inspire them and build their confidence. Importantly also, the military needs us more than ever. They should see us, the leaders and feel our presence. There is no going back in my plan to travel and pass the night in Monguno. The same way we went to Gwoza and Chibok at different times and at the worst stage of the insurgency, for the funeral of the assassinated Emir of Gwoza and to meet parents after the Chibok abduction, is the same way we will go to Monguno. God will protect us” Shettima told some aides.
During his stay in Monguno, Governor Shettima supervised the distribution of multiple trailer loads of food and non food items to residents and displaced persons from Marte and Abadam local government areas living within host communities in Monguno. The Governor visited camps and supervised another distribution of food and non-food items to fleeing residents from Baga and Kross Kawwa, both in neighboring Kukawa local government area.
The Governor commiserated with the people of Baga, Kukawa towns, and environs over the recent Boko Haram attacks in the areas, assuring them of government’s determination to address the condemnable and an unfortunate act.
Governor Shettima sympathized with the victims, and took his time to address them at their various camps.
The Governor while presenting relief materials to the people affected, assured them of more support from the Government to alleviate their suffering, and doing everything possible to address the problem.
The Governor visited the military at King Nasara Barracks also in Monguno, held meetings with military commanders which wasn’t open to journalists and interacted with soldiers to inspire their morale. He thanked the military for the patriotic efforts and sacrifices and said the people of Borno will forever be grateful to them.
The Governor while returning to Maiduguri stopped at Gajiram, the headquarters of Nganzai Local Gov’t to inspect Mega Primary Schools, Housing Estate, and a General Hospital, all being constructed by his administration.
He proceeded to Gajiganna town in Magumeri Local Gov’t to also inspect another Mega primary school nearly completed in Gajiganna. Nganzai and Magumeri are all part of northern Borno.
The Governor finally departed for Maiduguri, making stops at the Military, and Civilian JTF Checkpoints to support and inspire them.