Photo: Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi
The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi, says the challenge of terrorism was created by outsiders who came to settle in Borno in the name of acquiring Qur’anic education.
The Shehu said this when he hosted the Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor and a team of journalists who visited him in his palace on Tuesday in Maiduguri.
El-Kanemi, who lauded the efforts of the military in confronting the menace of terrorism in Borno and the North East, said the people of the state had suffered so much.
He however said both Borno and the Federal Governments had done well in the fight against terrorism and rehabilitation and resettlement of victims across the state.
The traditional ruler recalled that 17 out of 27 Local Government Areas of Borno were under the control of Boko Haram insurgents before President MuhammaduBuhari took over power in 2015.
He said that as of now, no local governments in the state is under the control of any terrorist group because of the relentless effort of the military.
El-Kanemi described the ideology of Boko Haram as meaningless, and not derived from any Holy Book.
“Boko Haram is something meaningless, mindless, without any sense of direction.
“None of the holy books either the Holy Qu’ran or Bible indicate that you kill one another, show disrespect to people, burn people’s property and cause distress.
“We don’t know that ideology, we don’t know how they decided to do this.
“These people came to Borno simply because Borno is home of peace and hospitality; the Borno people like strangers, they like one another, they were doing their legitimate and local businesses.
“So these people came to Bono and requested for a place to settle while not knowing that they have an ideology which they came with and polluted the minds of the youths and created havoc in this part of the country” he added.
The traditional ruler said that the insurgents killed many people including worshippers, Muslim and Christian clerics.
“So many people died, many people were killed at that time, it was a very sympathetic situation around 2009; that was maybe three months or so months of my appointment, because I was appointed in March 2009.
“They killed our imams, they killed pastors, they burnt mosques and churches, they killed our district heads, village and community leaders, traditional rulers and even one of our Amir, Amir Warda, was killed here in Borno.
“They detonated bomb on me, but I was lucky enough I escaped with the late deputy governor,” he said.
El-Kanemi lamented that terrorism also had serious economic consequences to the state, including the disruption of electricity supply and closure of Maiduguri airport at one time.
He said that the nation’s porous borders provided opportunity for the terrorists to come in any time, do whatever they like and go back to their respective countries.
El-Kanemi said that community support to the military and other security agencies played crucial role in returning peace to the state.
He commended the state government for returning displaced persons back to their ancestral homes, as well as taking care of terrorists who surrendered.
On the surrendered and rescued ex-fighters and their families, the Shehu said that no community had ever rejected any of them, warning those peddling false information to desist.
Earlier, the Director Defence Information said the purpose of the visit was to spotlight the operations of the military and its collaboration with the emirate council.
Akpor said that since the counter-insurgency operation was moving to the stabilization phase, there was need for all stakeholders to join hands to ensure an end to the challenge.
He commended the government for returning displaced persons to their ancestral homes from various IDPs camps, as well as the management of the surrendered terrorists and their families.
The Chief Executive Officer, Media Today International, Mr Charles Odenigbo, said the visit was to ascertain the relationship between the military, government and non-governmental organisations in humanitarian efforts in the state.
Odenigbo said the media was duty bound to ensure that the plight of the victims especially women and children were adequately addressed.