Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has described the security situation in the north as depressing, saying it is so bad that the present generation would have nothing to leave behind for future generations. It also lamented the fact that violence has become a means of livelihood for children of the region.
The ACF’s position came as Borno State governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, said statewide records has shown that President Muhammadu Buhari has done better that previous governments in tackling the Boko Haram menace in his state.
This is just as troops of the joint military spike, codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke, in a gunfight on Sunday night, killed no fewer than three suspected armed bandits at Adaka village, a suburb of Makurdi, the Benue State capital. Chairman of the ACF, Chief Audu Ogbeh, spoke on the security situation in the north when he led a delegation to Maiduguri, to condole Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, following the killing of 43 rice farmers at Zabarmari, Borno State two weeks ago.
He said: “We are depressed, very depressed. And anyone of us, of our age, who was not depressed, was not well-born, because we have nothing to leave behind for our children, and violence will not sustain us. ‘’The tragedy of the North today is that the only industry left is politics, and politics alone has never grown any society. We have to re-grow Borno State, we have to re-grow the north, we have to re-grow Nigeria.
‘’We have no industries, agriculture has declined and our own children have now turned to violence as a means of livelihood. Your Excellency, in ACF we have decided that we will not talk too much politics. We decided to focus on something else, we are going to start a programme of developing small-scale agro-industries across the north.”
The forum also condemned the attack on innocent farmers earning their legitimate means of livelihood around Zabarmari, describing it as barbaric and inhumane. Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the forum, Amb Shehu Malami, delivered a condolence message and prayed for the restoration of peace in Borno and northern Nigeria.
In his remarks, Governor Zulum said recent killings of farmers and other attacks in the state notwithstanding, statewide records on the 27 local government areas since 2011, indicate clearly that President Muhammadu Buhari has still performed better in handling Borno’s security challenges.
He said: “From statewide statistics on affairs in the 27 local councils since 2011, the fact is that despite the recent happenings in Borno State, the security situation there and, indeed, that of the entire North East is still far better under Buhari, and this is based on records.
‘’For instance, unlike the years before Buhari when a number of local governments were no-go-areas, we now have citizens, led by our traditional rulers, safely back to Bama, Gwoza, Askira-Uba, Dikwa, Ngala, Monguno, Kukawa, Damboa, Konduga, Mafa, all of which no one could visit, let alone live there.
‘’Our emirs were all in exile. Today, Bama is coming back to life and so is Askira-Uba, Damboa, Gwoza and others. Life is even returning to Baga.
‘’This was impossible before Buhari. In fact, it was not possible to move a few kilometers out of Maiduguri. Insurgents were so bold to attack and take over military facilities like the army barracks at Monguno, Bama, Giwa Barracks and Multinational Joint Task Force Headquarters at Baga to mention just a few.
‘’There were daily attacks, bomb blasts in many parts of Maiduguri, the most populated part of the state but all of these have stopped under Buhari. These are the records and no one can dispute these records.’’
The governor, however, indicated that it was human nature to be more concerned about current realities than comparing the past and present.
“The insurgents, by their nature, always want to attract publicity which is very strategic for terror propaganda, so they resort to attacking our communities and running away and, of course, this worries us,” Zulum added.
The governor said the people would remain optimistic and keep doing their part in efforts to find sustainable peace in the state.
Zulum thanked the elders and all groups who paid similar visits to Borno in show of solidarity and support to citizens with humanitarian needs.