Borno in dilemma over repentant Boko Haram returnees-Zulum

Borno in dilemma over repentant Boko Haram returnees-Zulum

Governor Babagana Umara Zulum on Saturday in Bama and Gwoza addressed military officers and community leaders.

He noted that the ongoing surrender of Boko Haram fighters has left Borno State with two extremely difficult situations, which require diverse stakeholders, including representatives of attacked communities, to come together and critically review the pros, cons, and implications of the surrender, to agree on a well-thought-out framework.

Zulum had traveled to Gwoza and Bama Local Government Areas for humanitarian and developmental activities, before addressing military commanders at Brigades in Gwoza and Bama, as well as community leaders, at the palaces of the Emir of Gwoza and the Shehu of Bama.

The Governor delivered a message in towns meeting.

“We (in Borno) are in a very difficult situation over the ongoing surrender by insurgents. We have to critically look between two extreme conditions and decide our future. We have to choose between an endless war or to cautiously accept the surrendered terrorists, which are painful and difficult for anyone that has lost loved ones, difficult for all of us, and even for the military, whose colleagues have died, and for volunteers. No one would find it easy to accept killers of his or her parents, children, and other loved ones. In the last 12 years, we have been in this war, and we have lost thousands of fellow citizens. We don’t know the whereabouts of thousands of others, we don’t know whether they are alive or dead. In these 12 years, millions have been made homeless, and many wealthy farmers, transporters, and others have been rendered poor. In these years, we were able to cultivate maybe around 3% of the arable land, and as a result, our people became dependent on food aid, amid donor fatigue and potential food insecurity, the repercussions of the Boko Haram crisis are enormous, and as someone who has been involved with the assessment of the impacts, and rebuilding efforts in the last seven years, I am in a position to know the endless negative impact, the Boko Haram has made in Borno,” Zulum said.

The Governor said accepting Boko Haram has the risk of seriously offending the feelings of victims, with the potential of civil rebellion, just as there is the risk that, if Boko Haram fighters willing to surrender are rejected, they can join ISWAP to swell the ranks of fighters in the bush, and the path of peace becomes narrowed.

“On my way traveling to Gwoza and Bama, I saw many people cultivating their farmlands by the roadside, and this is an indication of emerging peace, which we have to sustain, to salvage our people. However, as I said, we must come together, to carefully analyze the two extremes, and come up with a workable framework,” Zulum said.

Zulum explained, that he will engage in high-level consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari, service chiefs and resident security heads, traditional rulers, elders and religious leaders, national and state assembly members, academics, and other stakeholders, particularly victims of the crimes perpetrated by the insurgents so that stakeholders will critically review the situation, and come up with a framework, on how to move forward.

It could be recalled that about 190 repentant Boko Haram insurgents surrendered to the Nigerian military recently in Mafa, Borno State.

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