Two Borno councils under Boko Haram control, says Speaker
• As INEC plans relocation of 16 registration centres over insecurity in Yobe
Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly, Abdulkarim Lawan, has said two council areas are currently under the control of Boko Haram terrorists in the state.
Lawan, who represents Guzamala constituency at the Assembly, raised the alarm in Maiduguri, yesterday, while briefing newsmen on the recent budget presentation of N234.8 billion by Governor Babagana Zulum to the House.
He said the disclosure contradicts claims that all 17 council areas under Boko Haram control in 2014 have been liberated by the military.
“The terrorists control two council areas at the border with Niger Republic. These as are Guzamala and Kukawa in Borno North Senatorial District,” he said.
He, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government and the military to retake the councils, saying this will enable the state government to return Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at camps in Monguno to liberated communities.
“There is no peace at all in Guzamala council. There is no military and civilian presence, like other 15 liberated communities,” he said, stressing: “I have consistently pleaded with the Federal Government to deploy soldiers and other security personnel there.”
Speaking further, he said: “The two council headquarters are deserted. No human being lives there because Boko Haram insurgents are controlling the entire area. Gudumbali and Kukawa…the two council headquarters are no-go areas for civic activities.”
He noted that on account of the situation, the councils have been deprived of three-year development projects, which should have been executed by the governor.
“There were relocations in the siting of projects in the education, health and agriculture sectors, from the two councils to other liberated ones in the senatorial district.
“We’ve been left out of massive development projects that the state government has been executing in the 15 liberated council areas,” he lamented.
Lawan added that the councils under siege have received zero development projects under the Zulum administration.
Still on insecurity in the northern region, it will be recalled that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), at the weekend, said it could relocate 16 Registration Area Centres (RACs) in Yobe State.
According to the commission, the affected councils are Gujba, Yunusari and Geidam on the border with Niger Republic.
The councils were under repeated attack by Boko Haram between 2014 and 2022, with attendant loss of life and property.
Announcing the relocation at a stakeholders’ meeting in Damaturu, INEC’s Head of Operation, Goni Usman, said: “The registration areas and their collation centres in Geidam, Yunusari and Gujba councils would be moved to safer and secure areas.”
He, however, added that the commission would shelve the plan if security improves before the 2023 general election.