Boko Haram: Zulum Promises More Support To Security Forces

By Bukar Bolori

Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum has promised more support to security forces and vigilance groups in bringing to an end over 12 years Boko Haram insurgency in the state.

The Governor in a New Year message to the people of the state, said: “I am committed to ensuring more support for our security forces and the indefatigable local vigilantes that are helping us.”

He noted that: “Part of our strategy for strengthening resilience is the bold step that we took in closing down the internally displaced persons’ camps in Borno State as a whole. Although we have explained in details the reasons behind the action, for the sake of clarity, I will summarize as follows:

“We closed the IDP camps to clean up the places and give our people dignity as well as purpose. Living in IDP camp is not what we are used to, or what we like as a people. Therefore, we believe that a safe life of dignity is a right for all the citizens of Borno, and indeed Nigeria.

“The IDP camps were becoming a slum where all kinds of vices were happening including prostitution, drugs and thuggery in some cases. No responsible leadership will allow people to live an undignified life under its watch.

“The idea of IDP camp was, and remains an interim measure to provide safety especially during the peak of the insurgency. Consequently, the camps were not meant to continue forever. The question of closure of the camp was not a matter of if but when. Efficient managers would agree that there is no better time than now to get things done. As part of the closure, we continue to learn lessons, adapt our strategy and make necessary changes as we go along. The worst option would be to do nothing. We are not prepared to do nothing. Rather we are ready to do whatever it takes to restore the dignity of our people.

“Keeping the camp open endlessly is not sustainable. This is because it becomes difficult to plan effectively for a dignified economic and social development of the people. The IDP camps would also eventually become too expensive to run with a possibility of causing far more harm than good. Take for example there are many potential difficulties one would expect if we chose the option of converting the camps to permanent structures for the people. If we succeed in building permanent structures, we need to ensure people have access to land, as many of our people are farmers.”

He added that:” We followed the best practices from around the world in the process of closing the camps. We will continue to listen to all well-meaning citizens, partners and friends who have ideas and suggestions to improve on the efforts that we are putting into this process. It is important to emphasise that the closure of the camps is not a political decision. It is a pragmatic action. Our administration puts the Borno people first in every decision. Our people remain the centrepiece of our strategy. We are aware that there would be some temporary inconvenience to people as they relocate. That is why we provide different palliative measures to strengthen their initial installation and stability in the new location.”

He said his administration will not be distracted by all kinds of speculations about the 2023 elections, claiming that: “There are those who work for elections and there are those who work for legacies. Our administration is committed to giving our best by keeping the promises we made for the current mandate. The serious business of working for the people of Borno State is enough occupation for us, as I believe that there is time and space for everything.”

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