Abuja….Governor Ibrahim Shettima of Borno state broke down in tears in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari inside the council chamber of the presidential villa, Abuja on Monday.
The governor had led Borno elders for a meeting with the president on the resurgence of Boko Haram activities in the state.
But while enumerating the conditions of things during his speech, he was overtaken by emotion and openly shed tears.
Shettima warns against politicisation of insurgency funds
Borno gov calls on workers to dedicate themselves to work
Wiping the tears with his hands and with his voice cracking, he expressed confidence in the ability of the president to restore normality to the state and called for speedy action on the delegation’s request to end the crisis.
Shettima said: “Between 2013 and 2014, we witnessed the most daring and most vicious evil of the Boko Haram, losing 20 Local Government Areas. However, we rushed here because of the recent upsurge in the activities of the demented monster called Boko Haram especially in northern Borno senatorial district. We are here because since 2015, Mr President, you were able to restore our hope.
“Sir, you have demonstrated empathy for Borno and the overriding commitment to ending the Boko Haram. This is why we rushed here on witnessing some setback.
“We are here because we thought that Allah will use you to fully reclaim Borno traditional glory of being the home of peace. We are here as a people who worked, prayed and waited for your Presidency in the firm and under the belief that with you as the Commander In Chief, Boko Haram will become history in Borno.
“Mr President, we have not, and Insha Allah, we will not lose hope in you because we have witnessed and survived worse moments before you came. We do not feel hopeless.
“Our hopes are very much alive and they are very high.
“We came with some observation and 10 requests for urgent presidential intervention. These observations and requests are products of discussion in the aftermath of our extraordinary security meeting held one week ago.
“We didn’t rush to come after the meeting. We felt the need to travel to northern Borno, interact with displaced persons and the military so as to strengthen public confidence.
“I will seek the understanding of the journalists by not making public any of our observation and 10 requests. They are matters of security which we hope to discuss with Mr President in a closed door.”
In his response, President Buhari reasserted his administration’s unwavering support to equip the military to overcome the insurgency in the North-East.
He told the delegation led by Governor that the collective safety and security of civilians would continue to remain paramount in the administration’s strategy to restore peace and stability in the region.
A statement issued by after the meeting by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity), quoted the President as saying: ‘‘Having been a former Governor in the North East, a GOC in the region and very familiar with the terrain, I assure you that as Commander-in-Chief, I’ll raise the standard of the Nigerian Armed Forces and get the resources to encourage them to do better than what they are doing, ’’ he said.
The President told the delegation comprising political, traditional, religious, women and media leaders in the State that he was impressed by their leadership roles and participation in helping the government deal with the insurgency in the North East.
The President commended the contributions of the stakeholders from Borno State particularly the need for more air support for troops on the ground and coordination among different security agencies.
‘‘I am getting at least a weekly situation report from the services and of course from other sources. I encourage the commanders to remain committed,’’ he said.
President Buhari thanked Governor Shettima for demonstrating leadership in the State during these difficult times.
‘‘I have an idea how much you are doing and I very much appreciate it. I’m sure that has earned you more respect from the people,’’ he said.
Other stakeholders from the State who made comments included Bishop Mohammed Naga, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Borno State, Dr Bulama Mali Gubio, Secretary, Borno Elders’ Forum, Maina Ma’aji Lawal, former Governor of the State, HRH Muhammad Masta II bn Al-Amin El-Kanemi, Emir of Dikwa.