Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, says he has survived many attacks numbering over 40 by insurgents in the state.
He disclosed this on Tuesday at a briefing with State House correspondents shortly after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“I was attacked more than 40, 50 times,” said the governor while responding to questions from the reporters. “I know the magnitude of this problem.”
He decried the impact of the over one decade-long insurgency which he said has gravely affected the livelihood of the people of the state.
“We have estimated a total number of over 50,000 orphans and widows; these are official figures, the unofficial figures are more than these, and we were able to cultivate not more than three per cent of our total arable land because of the insurgents.
“And right now, the whereabouts of not less than 10 percent of the people of Borno State is not known to all of us – at all. This is a very serious matter,” Governor Zulum lamented.
An Endless War?
Recently, military authorities said troops have intensified onslaught against the members of the Boko Haram sect and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the North East.
This, according to them, has forced the insurgents to flee from their hideouts with hundreds of them surrendering their arms to the troops.
While the latest development has been commended by many, others want the Federal Government not to pardon the repentant terrorists. Rather, they asked that they should be prosecuted.
But this position has been rejected by Governor Zulum whose state is one of the worst-hit by the insurgency.
He believes accepting the repentant terrorists is the way to go if Nigeria wants an end to the insurgency. He revealed that about 2,600 of them have so far surrendered, including their wives and children.
The governor, however, stressed that those who have surrendered would not immediately be reintegrated into the society.
“Unless we want to continue with an endless war, I see no reason why we should reject those who are willing to surrender,” he said.
“More than 100,000 people were killed and therefore, I am in total support of this ongoing surrender by the insurgents. We will support them and those that have surrendered shall be dealt with according to the extant rules and regulation.”