The Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima has reacted to media report credited to a Senator representing Borno Central in the National Assembly and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kaka Bashir Garbai that three local government areas of Abadam, Mobbar and Kala Balge, were fully under the control of Boko Haram insurgents.
Governor Shettima maintained that none of the councils in the state was being occupied by the insurgents, adding that the military had in the last 6 months trimmed them down to pocket size in the Sambisa Forest.
The Governor said: “As Chief Security Officer of Borno State, I am telling you authoritatively that our military deserves commendation, because all my local government areas have been liberated.
Only few insurgents that remain in the Sambisa Forest desperate to launch some pockets of attacks are what we are now witnessing as a result of the bombardment that is going on in their hideouts.
“Maybe, the statement Senator Garbai gave to the media was done out of his emotions when he visited the affected areas or he was misquoted. I have been trying to get contact with the Senator on this unfortunate statement.”
It would be recalled, Senator Garbai had informed newsmen that:
“The military are not doing their best to end the war against terrorists, as only Maiduguri, Bayo and Kwaya Kusar council areas were safe and free of insurgents, while 21 of the council areas are partially controlled by terrorists with other three fully still under boko haram caliphate.”
The governor continued:
“To me, it is unbelievable that such a statement could have emanated from Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai. I can’t believe he said that because as a Senator, he has access to the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the IGP and even the Presidency and he is not the type that even speaks to the media easily, so this is why I am at a lost, I have not been able to get in touch with him yet to get his own side, to hear from him what he actually said but for now, i suspect he must have been misquoted or if he wasn’t misquoted, he must have spoken based on emotional outburst and notanchored on ground realities.
”We cannot mix two things. There is a difference between Boko Haram insurgents seizing and occupying territories and Boko Haram attacking communities, these are two differentthings. In the past, Boko Haram used to come in commando styles to attack, seize, occupy communities and hold residents hostage and then administer territories, that is occupation. We no longer have that in Borno. None of the 27 local government areas is being occupied by Boko Haram.
“They have all been liberated. What we have are challenges still being posed by Boko Haram to show their presence and even these attacks are done from the position of weakness and not strength. In the past, the moved with audacity and arrogance, now they move with fear just like armed robbers do in other parts of Nigeria. Our military personnel have done marvelously well under the Buhari administration and I think we can only commend them and not vilify them. Buhari has shown uncommon and absolute commitment to ending this insurgency. Two sons of Borno, the Chief of Army Staff and the National Security Adviser are leading this fight and this goes to show the sincerity of the President.”