Eniola AKinkuotu, Abuja
The Special Adviser to the Borno State Governor on Public Relations and Strategy, Isa Gusau, has faulted allegations by the President, Maj.Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that Boko Haram was succeeding due to the collaboration of residents.
Buhari had at a sympathy visit to Maiduguri last week stated, “Boko Haram or whatever they are cannot come to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.
“We are working for you in this country; as Commander-in-Chief, I am dealing with the security institutions and I believe there is an improvement in security. I urge the people of the state to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies; let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens and encourage displaced people to go back to their land.”
Speaking on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme on Monday, However, the Borno governor’s aide said it was wrong of anyone to say that the residents and the traditional leaders were not doing enough.
He said in the last two years, at least 1,000 youths in Borno State had laid down their lives in the fight against insurgency while some traditional rulers had been killed for giving information to the authorities.
Gusau, who didn’t mention the President’s name, said, “The fact remains that we must make concerted efforts to acknowledge that a lot of people in Borno State are giving everything in the fight against Boko Haram.
“If I were to be honest with you, I usually feel very bad when I hear anyone raising questions about the sincerity of the people of Borno State in the fight against Boko Haram. I told a story two days ago.
“In 2014, I and the former governor with whom I worked went to Konduga. On our way to Konduga, there was an attack in Dalori. A woman and her husband approached the governor and were shouting at the top of their voices.
“They said one of their sons is a member of Boko Haram, he has escaped from the bush and has been hiding in our house for the last six days. I want your Excellency to assign security aides to pick him up. They picked him up. This is the extent of commitment.
“From 2013 till date, more than 26, 000 youths in Borno, sons and daughters of Borno, they didn’t fall from the moon, have given their lives in the fight against Boko Haram. More than 1,000 of them have been killed in the last two years.
“And if you look back at how Boko Haram began to operate in 2010, they started by the gradual assassination of district heads. They killed a number of district heads, a number of traditional rulers. They killed the Emir of Gworza, they have sacked many.
“Why did they do that? Because they know that these district heads are very critical in generating intelligence within the community. It got to a point where when you report a thing about Boko Haram, you get killed the following day.
“So, when you find people who are living in trauma, people who are displaced, who are suffering and somebody begins to raise suspicions on their level of commitment, you end up demoralising them. So, I think it is one issue that as a country, we need to take seriously and address.”