By Michy Abraham in Maiduguri
Nigerian monarchs have asked the military why can’t you occupy Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad region still housing Boko Haram insurgents.
Speaking on Monday, the Sultan of Sokoto and Co-Chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers, Sa’ad Abubakar who led other top monarchs to Maiduguri to condole with the government and people of Borno State on recent killing of farmers by Boko Haram at a rice field in Zabarmari, said the military should occupy the Lake Chad region and the Sambisa forest.
Sultan Abubakar, who retired as Army General, said: “I read the comment the governor made some few weeks ago, challenging the military to take the fight to the Lake Chad to clear that place. Your Excellency, while I was a Lieutenant, I was at Lake Chad in Baga for six months, my battalion in Bama used to rotate with the battalion in Monguno and Maiduguri every six months.
“We occupied the Lake Chad part of Nigeria for six months. I was a Lieutenant, I was the operation officer and I have my maps. In Lake Chad that time, we had 36 islands under Nigeria, we occupied 16 of them, the biggest was king Nasara, we controlled that part of Nigeria effectively well as a battalion.
“Now, I don’t know why we can’t occupy the whole of Lake Chad and why we can’t occupy the whole of Sambisa forest. If we want peace, we have to dominate these areas. If we want peace, we have to do away with those terrorists who occupy that place and see nothing good in other people except those that believe in their own negative ideas.”
Sultan Abubakar, who said they were in Maiduguri not only to commiserate with the governor, but to make a strong statement with regards to the insecurity affecting the entire nation, said: “This afternoon, we are at the seat of power of Borno State in front of the governor on this special visit, I said special because this is the first time the national council of traditional rulers of Nigeria has ventured out to any state or any town specifically to discuss or talk about the happenings in that particular place as regards insecurity and mass killings of innocent people.”
He said: “The National Council of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria deems it fit to put a small team to come round to Borno State, Maiduguri, in particular, to make this very strong statement.
“It is not just a condolence visit, it is a statement that all of us are fed up with the shedding of innocent blood under whatever guise across this country. So many lives have been lost in the past, we can’t even compute how many lives we have lost. It becomes like a daily occurrence, a daily event. A new normal, it becomes a story when in a day, nobody was killed in a particular place of this country.
“We had various fora with our political leaders, mentioned this things out, how to take care of our security in various communities. We have written papers, sent our governors, we have discussed with all our leaders, all the way forward.
“But we see things getting worse and worse. It used to be Boko Haram alone in Borno and Yobe, now, in all over the north in particular and generally all over the country. You have bandits and terrorists all over the north, you can’t even move freely. In the south, it is the same thing. The killings have taken new dimensions and we really don’t know what are the causes of these mass killings of innocent people.
“We decided to come together as council of traditional rulers to make this statement to all and sundry, not only to the governor of Borno State, but to all our governors. Let’s rise up to the occasion and see how we can come together to fight this menace of shedding innocent people’s blood.
“When I came to Maiduguri last time to commission the central mosque, the governor was a candidate, this is my first time of coming here since he took over. Alhamdulillah, we have been following with keen interest what is happening in Borno State. Like I always discussed with the Shehu, from day one, even when you were not even sworn in, he told me the type of person you are, and we are not disappointed when you started doing what you are doing. We have seen the very big stride you have delivered just within one year, but you are just starting, you have a lot to do.
“I have known Maiduguri since when I was a small kid, we have grown up here. I served in Bama, I lived in Bama for over two and half years in the barracks. The same barracks I served as Lieutenant was the same barracks vandalized and bombed.”
Earlier, the Shehu of Borno had, while introducing the traditional rulers to Governor Babagana Zulum, assured that the traditional rulers would give all the maximum cooperation to security agencies in the fight against insurgency.
The Shehu also called on the people of Borno to continue to provide credible intelligence reports to the military, noting that the fight against insurgency is a collective responsibility.
Responding, the governor thanked the royal fathers for the special visit.
The governor decried the continous dependence on donations to feed the internally displaced persons as the main source of livelihood.
He said in order to address the cause of the insecurity, there was need to provide sources of livelihoods to the IDPs and those resettled in rebuilt communities.
With the Sultan on the visit are the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemaka Alfred Ugochukwu; Oore of Otun-Ekiti, Oba Adekunle Adebayo,; the Emir of Hadeja, Dr. Adamu Abubakar Maje; the Emir of Fika, Mohammed Abale Ibn Mohammed Idrissa and Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom, King Dandasen Douglas Jaja.
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