Borno blames protracted Boko Haram insurgency on porous borders
• Youths disagree with gov over generalisation of terrorism
Governor Babagana Zulum has linked the protracted Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State to porous borders linking Nigeria with neighbouring Chad, Cameroun and Niger republics.
The governor made the submission while addressing State House correspondents at the weekend in Abuja after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari where he had gone to brief the nation’s first citizen on the security situation in his state.Boko Haram insurgents had last week attacked villages in Gubio and Magumeri council areas of Borno reportedly unchallenged.
Zulum claimed that the crisis was worsened by the participation of suspected foreign elements from Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Libya.“One peculiar problem we have in Borno is that it shares borders with three countries – Republic of Niger, Republic of Chad – as well as the Republic of Cameron. You can understand these borders and their proximity to Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Libya. It is a sub-Saharan region thing, it is very difficult to man such area,” he lamented.
The governor regretted that the insurgency, which began in his locality, had virtually cut across all ethnic groups in the country.“Yes, Boko Haram started in our own place. Yes, I admit that most of them are from my tribe, but I believe their composition now cuts across almost every ethnic group in Nigeria, most importantly, the expatriates. We have people from other countries that have joined them,” he asserted.
But the Yoruba Youth Socio-cultural Association (YYSA) Worldwide yesterday faulted the governor’s generalisation of terrorism.In a statement by its national president, Olalekan Hammed in Ibadan, the group said: “It is an overstatement to say that Boko Haram members now cut across all ethnic groups in Nigeria,” admitting though that it was an incontrovertible fact that criminality cannot be particularly associated with an ethnic group, as people with questionable characters abound in all tribes globally. “We reject such generalisation of terrorism. There have never been a time a Yoruba man is arrested as a suspected Boko Haram member,” the body added.
However, Zulum noted that the high level of illiteracy among the youths was fuelling the crisis in his state, as this huge population had become willing tools in the hands of the insurgents.He lamented that despite efforts by the Federal Government to diversify the economy and promote agriculture, the peculiar climatic condition in the North East region was not helping matters.
He dismissed the place of religion in the impasse, pledging to strengthen the civilian Joint Tax Force (JTF) as well support the military and the police to contain the menace.
The governor added: “By and large, we must also address the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency which are not limited to endemic poverty, pervasive illiteracy, financial and economic hardship, unemployment, environmental degradation and drug abuse. We must ensure our youths are employed.“We shall support the police and the military and most importantly, the gallant civilian JTF and the hunters to ensure that the remnants of Boko Haram are eliminated.”
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