- Gov’s contributions to counter-insurgency operations remain golden•
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State at the weekend slept overnight in Monguno recently attacked by Boko Haram.
This is part of the governor’s move to stem the mass exodus from the town, which presently accommodate over 57,000 persons, among them persons displaced from three local government areas of the state.
Also residing in the town, which had to be rescued by the military from falling to Boko Haram last week, include soldiers, Civilian JTF fighters and police.
Kashim who went on an assessment visit of Monguno on Friday decided to sleep overnight till Saturday.
Monguno, which is headquarters of Monguno local government area is located in northern Borno and it is 60 kilometres away from Baga in Kukawa local government where the military is currently engaging Boko Haram in a battle for the soul of the town.
The governor who slept at the Local Government Lodge, left back for Maiduguri on Saturday afternoon.
He was said to have embarked on the journey to Maiduguri after resisting frantic efforts by aides and political associates that it was not wise to take such risk.
The aides have told him that Monguno could not be said to be fully safe within days after the Boko Haram was repelled by the military when they launched attack in order to seize the military base and takeover the town last week.
He travelled in company of his security aides, some soldiers, policemen and men of the civilian JTF.
The Governor was accompanied by the Senator representing Borno North, and Chairman, Senate committee on Defence, Abubakar Kyari and APC’s governorship candidate, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, a member of House of Representatives Mohammed Monguno, former Governor of Borno State, Maina Ma’aji Lawan, speaker of the State Assembly, Chief of Staff amongst others.
Shettima had convinced his aides that his presence was needed by the over 57,000 people presently residing in Monguno, especially as they were displaced from Kukawa Marte and Abadam local government areas.
He was quoted to have said: “I will be failing as a leader if fear of any kind stops me from going to Monguno where we currently have 57,000 fellow people of Borno, amongst them women and children. We must go there to show them sense of belonging, to inspire them and build their confidence.
“Importantly also, the military needs us more than ever. They should see us, the leaders and feel our presence. There is no going back in my plan to travel and pass the night in Monguno. The same way we went to Gwoza and Chibok at different times and at the worst stage of the insurgency, for the funeral of the assassinated Emir of Gwoza and to meet parents after the Chibok abduction, is the same way we will go to Monguno. God will protect us.”
During his stay in Monguno, Governor Shettima supervised the distribution of multiple trailer loads of food and non-food items to residents and displaced persons from Marte and Abadam local government areas living within host communities in Monguno.
The Governor visited camps and supervised another distribution of food and non-food items to fleeing residents from Baga and Kross Kawwa, both in neighbouring Kukawa local government area.
The Governor commiserated with the people of Baga, Kukawa towns, and environs over the recent Boko Haram attacks in the areas, assuring them of government’s determination to address the condemnable and an unfortunate act.
Shettima sympathised with the victims, and took his time to address them at their various camps.
The Governor while presenting relief materials to the people affected, assured them of more support from the Government to alleviate their suffering, and doing everything possible to address the problem.
Meanwhile, the contributions of Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima to the counter-insurgency war in the North-East will remain golden, the media aide to the governor Isa Gusau said on Saturday.
He said: “Governor Kashim Shettima’s led government has from 2013 to date, remained the sole financiers of hundreds of successful operations carried out by more than 20,000 volunteers of the Civilian JTF.”
He said the Civilian JTF contributions in the fight against Boko Haram have been roundly acknowledged by the military, all other security stakeholders, past and incumbent federal administrations as well as residents of Borno State.
Gusau, Shettima’s Special Adviser on Communications and strategy, said the Civilian JTF play crucial roles in intelligence gathering, easy identification and arrest of suspected insurgents and supporting the military in the war fronts.
He described as laughable, some moves by “mischief makers” to smear Governor Shettima’s image over the Boko Haram crisis.
He said it was an irony that the same mischief-makers regularly acknowledge the roles played by patriotic members of the civilian JTF in fighting Boko Haram to a standstill.
He asked how impossible it is to praise the Civilian JTF and lampoon the soul behind it, who is Governor Shettima.
He lamented that: “they deliberately ignore the fact that in the last six years, Governor Shettima has been the sole person giving approvals for the operational vehicles and logistics, recruitment, training, payment of allowances, kitting and surveillance equipment to these over 20,000 heroes, under the Civilian JTF that have given everything to the fight against Boko Haram.
“The mischief makers ignore that back in 2013, it was Governor Shettima who drove the process of getting the office of the National Security Adviser to approve the operational activities of the Civilian JTF and he has remained the only one funding all their operations including the coordination of their recruitment and deployments after clearance by the DSS.
He aid: “Only last month, the Chief of Army Staff at the closing of his annual conference in Maiduguri and before the media, described as “overwhelming”, the commitment of Governor Kashim Shettima to the Nigerian Army in the fight against Boko Haram.”
“Similarly, I remember that in 2014, then Director of Operations at the Defence headquarters, Major General Lawrence Ndugbane (now retired) said before the media, that Kashim Shettima is one of the Governors who help the military to generate actionable intelligence through the Governor’s regular interactions with community leaders in Borno State.
“These are all on record. So, attempts by anyone to change these public records will, like previous other attempts, become futile exercises.”