By Bukar Bolori
Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum on Friday presented N100 million to 152 youths who recently renounced thuggery in the state.
The 152 youths, were prominent members of a violent political thuggery group codenamed ‘ECOMOG’ in Maiduguri. They had after their renouncement made to undergo one month intensive practical training on entrepreneurship.
Zulum made the presentation at the Ramat Polytechnic in Maiduguri, venue of the one month training.
A statement by the governor’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau claimed the 152 youths had renounced thuggery in response to Governor Zulum’s ban, announced at the end of 2019.
He said following that announcement, the Governor in August 2019, directed the enrollment of 2,762 youths into a ‘waste for cash’ sanitation programme in which the youths cleaned the drainages to earn monthly stipends.
Gusau said with his boss satisfied with the improvement in the conducts of the youths, directed selection of leaders and most prominent persons who were engaged in thuggery since the 90s, before renouncing the practices.
According to him, 152 persons were then selected and made to undergo one month training in business enterprises, fishery, animal rearing and animal fattening.
He disclosed that the training was coordinated by the Directorate of Entrepreneurship at the Ramat Polytechnic.
Zulum, while declaring the training closed on Friday, said 16 prominent leaders of the repentant political thugs will each receive N2m amounting to N32m, while remaining 136 persons will each receive N500,000 amounting to N68m.
The governor told the gathering that the government’s support is under the condition that none of them ever returns to political thuggery, as well as their readiness to replay 50 percent of the money they are given on a determined future date.
Commissioner for Sports and Youths Empowerment, Saina Buba described the programme as a bold effort by Zulum, in stamping out violent political thuggery, especially from Maiduguri, at which youths had in previous years (between 2002 to 2008) reached the extent of rival war with resultant killings.
Meanwhile, as part of a strategy to prevent children from towing the paths of their parents, the governor announced that the State Government will shoulder the education of 152 children, one each to be nominated by the 152 repentant political thugs.
Zulum charged the youths that it was in their best interest to accord dignity to themselves by being self reliant rather than returning to thuggery.
He reminded them to never allow themselves to be used because those who use them do not allow their children to become thugs.
He said: “Some of you here have been in political thuggery for more than 20 years and nothing seriously changed in your lives, and this should remind you that political thuggery is not a good thing, and if it was a good thing, why is it that our own children, those of us who are political leaders, our Commissioners, Advisers and other top Government officials, are not part of you here? Why is it you alone are in this kind of business?”
He promised that government will continue to support the youths and train more of them, so long as they remain out of thuggery.
Leaders of the youths, speaking in Hausa and Kanuri, said Zulum has proven his genuine love for them by not only setting them up for businesses, but also promising to educate their children.