Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum has described as a dilemma the ongoing surrender by Boko Haram fighters. Zulum said accepting or rejecting them could have with serious security implications in both the state of Borno and the country at large.
The governor who addressed the military and community leaders in Bama and Gwoza at the weekend said accepting the insurgents could touch off civil rebellion by victims of their (insurgents’) attacks just as there was the risk that if the renegades were rejected, they could join ISWAP to swell the ranks of fighters in the bush thereby narrowing the path of peace.
According to him the situation has left the state with two extremely difficult situations, which he said required diverse stakeholders including representatives of attacked communities, to come together and critically review the pros, cons and implications of the surrender, in order to agree on a well thought-out framework.
The governor went to Gwoza and Bama local government areas for humanitarian and development activities before addressing military commanders at the Brigades in Gwoza and Bama, and community leaders at the palaces of the Emir of Gwoza and Shehu of Bama and delivered the same message in both towns.
“We (in Borno) are in a very difficult situation over the ongoing surrender by insurgents. We have to critically look between two extreme conditions and decide our future. We have to choose between an endless war or to cautiously accept the surrendered terrorists, which is really painful and difficult for anyone that has lost loved ones; difficult for all of us and even for the military, whose colleagues have died and for volunteers.
“No one would find it easy to accept killers of his or her parents, children and other loved ones. In the last 12 years, we have been in this war, and we have lost thousands of fellow citizens. We don’t know the whereabouts of thousands of others; we don’t know whether they are alive or dead? In these 12 years, millions have been made homeless and many wealthy farmers, transporters and others have been rendered poor.
“In these years, we were able to cultivate maybe around 3% of the arable land, and as a result, our people became dependent on food aid amid donor fatigue and potential food insecurity, in fact the repercussions of the Boko Haram crisis are enormous and as someone, who has been involved with assessment of the impacts and rebuilding efforts in the last seven years. I am in position to know the endless negative impact the Boko Haram has made in Borno,” he said.
He called on the stakeholders to come together to carefully analyse the two extremes and come up with a workable framework. The governor said he would engage in high level consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari, service chiefs and resident security heads, traditional rulers, elders and religious leaders, national and state assembly lawmakers, academics and other stakeholders particularly, victims of the crimes perpetrated by the insurgents, so that stakeholders would critically review the situation and come up with a framework on how to move forward.