Borno, insurgency and Gov. Shettima
By Hassan Zanna Boguma
The original name of Maiduguri was Yerwa; the home of goodies and hospitality. In recent times however, the town has been turned into a sanctuary of hate, lies, deception, spiteful rumor mongering and the vilification of both the innocent and the criminals who inhabit it.
We owe it to ourselves not to suffer sudden loss of memory as to what we went through in the recent past.
Lest we forget, our towns and villages were destroyed, our sense of community was put to test, businesses and agriculture totally made impossible, all social necessities including health and education grounded to zero level with the loss of lives unquantifiable; untold hardship was brought to the government and the governed.
Lest we forget, we became the most despised, hated and vilified community in the country. The then federal government tagged all of us terrorists, killing us at will and denying us all liberties. All federal responsibilities were denied to us, the insurgents were allowed unfettered access to all kinds of weaponry to destroy us, allowed and given all the time they needed to occupy our towns and cities with less resistance, supplied money and materials all in the name of settling unsettled scores and with active collaborations of some of our own.
Lest we forget, it was during these hazy and difficult times that our Governor despite being constantly threatened by both the then President of withdrawals of security on one hand and all those who claimed leadership deserted and left us to our fate.
How soon did we forget that, during the heat of the crisis within the metropolis all of us were held captives either by the Haramites or by the unprofessional conduct of the then Military JTF who disproportionately killed of innocent citizens?
It was the same Governor who went round commiserating with the bereaved and compensating for the losses while nobody, group or individual help came from the federal government or agencies or even the so called Borno citizens that had ran away to safe zones around the country.
Let us also not forget that during this unfortunate period of our tribulations, Borno state was made to bear all the cost of prosecuting the war against the insurgency, compensation, reconstruction of bombed places and replacement of vehicles etc.
Security which is the number one requirement for a better society has deserted us due to the recklessness of the Central Government then. During the same period of our allocations were deducted on the pretext to fund the insurgency, while the henchmen in the military and political wing of the federal government misappropriated all allocations released to purchasing arms for the purpose. Borno was made to bear these burdens at the expense of all of us.
Borno during this dark period was ridiculed, laughed upon, treated with contempt by almost all other Nigerians including our own Northern brothers. They called us names, branding us terrorists. We endured all these and kept saying constant prayers to Allah/God and He in His infinite power and wisdom brought this government and gave it the political will to identify with our plights and to nip the insurgency and other security challenges in the bud.
With the coming of this administration, National and International attention was drawn to the Northeast and we the people of Borno started to feel a sense of belonging. We should have started thinking positively too for it was our society that was destroyed; it was our people that were killed; it was our businesses that were truncated; it was the education of our children that was hindered and it was our means of survival that was totally destroyed. But alas here are wetrying to destroy ourselves for no reason.
Briefing the media recently, the Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole Maj. Gen. Irabor informed us about the efforts to clear Sambissa forest and of the arrests of some politicians, political thugs, traditional rulers and clerics in Borno suspected of having links with Boko Haram but did not mention any name (s) since investigations are ongoing.
The report of the Gaji Galtimari committee on the insurgency in Borno set up by the Borno state government categorized adherents of Boko Haram into three: Those who took up arms knowing fully well that the Boko Haram insurgency has a criminal motive; those who followed Yusuf for spiritual reasons and those who were drawn into it because of the failures of the state. On the basis of the above, those of the second and third category were allowed to go about their normal lives unless otherwise proven to be of threat to the society.
Mischief makers and political opponents have cashed on this development to preempt investigations by roping in the names of the governors close associates and accusing them of being the masterminds of Boko Haram.
We should allow the law to take its proper course and avoid any preemptive judgment based on ignorance and false accusation. Rather, we should engage in prayers for more exposition of those involved in our predicaments.
Hassan Zanna Boguma is a Public Affairs Analyst.