•BY REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri•
As Boko Haram continued to pose as threats to lives and property in Borno State, a delegation from the state on Monday made strong recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari to secure the state.
The delegation, which include traditional rulers, elders, national and state assembly members, local government chairmen, women groups, and members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists and labour unions was led by the state governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima to Aso Rock Villa.
A statement by the spokesman of the state governor, Mallam Isa Gusau revealed that the delegation presented a letter containing security-related “observations” and ten undisclosed demands to the President.
He said the demands are connected to measures, which the delegation believes if adhered to would help in the efforts to end the Boko Haram insurgency in the area.
He said the governor had told the President that the demands and observations were issued at an extraordinary security meeting convened in Maiduguri last week Monday.
Shettima, in his opening remarks was said to have informed the president that he was presenting a letter on behalf of the delegation. He pleaded with journalists that because they were matters of security, he was not going to disclose both demands and observations.
He also appealed to be allowed with other members of the delegation to discuss the issues raised in closed door meeting with the President.
He told the President: “Your Excellency, we came with some observations and 10 specific requests for urgent presidential intervention. These observations and requests are products of discussions in the aftermath of our extraordinary security meeting held one week ago. We didn’t rush to come after the meeting.
“We felt the need to travel to northern Borno, interact with displaced persons and the military so as to strengthen public confidence.
“I will seek the understanding of journalists by not making public, any of our observations and ten requests. They are matters of security, which we hope to discuss with Mr President in closed door.
“I will like to recall with profound gratitude, that in our extraordinary meeting last week, we brought on board, leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Borno State and we took them into confidence.
“True to their promise, none of what we discussed in that meeting was revealed through any media platform. Such an attitude displayed by the media, is a further proof that Nigerian journalists are without doubt, devoted to sincere measures in the fight against Boko Haram,” he explained.
The Governor also stressed that the people of Borno State have demonstrated the highest commitment to the fight against Boko Haram by donating their sons and daughters who have been fighting in battlefronts as volunteers under the Civilian JTF.
Shettima said: “Mr President, from 2013 to date, more than 20,000 youth volunteers amongst them young women, have offered themselves in fighting Boko Haram under the Civilian JTF.
“These youths are sons and daughters of the same people of Borno State that were accused of undermining the fight against Boko Haram.
“From 2013 to date, our administration has been solely responsible for funding hundreds of successful operations carried out by the Civilian JTF.
“We have been responsible for their recruitment after thorough vetting by the DSS. We fund their training, kit them, provide them operational vehicles and maintain these vehicles.
“We pay their allowances, supply them surveillance gadgets and we deploy them on the advice of security establishments. Most importantly, this Civilian JTF are good in gathering local intelligence and they are experts in identifying Boko Haram members no matter how they try to conceal themselves.
“They have done so much with our consistent support and we seriously have supported and continue to support all security agencies, particularly the military,” the Governor noted.”
He said that a delegation from Borno State was in the Villa because unlike in previous years when they were treated with suspicion, President Buhari has demonstrated empathy and compassion to Borno people.