President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja met a delegation from Borno State, during which he restated his administration’s unwavering determination to equip the military to overcome Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.
The President also told the delegation led by an emotional Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State 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.
‘‘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 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.
Governor Shettima recounted that before 2015, Boko Haram had almost completely overrun the State, occupying many local government areas because the state government did not receive the necessary support and succour from the then Federal Government.
‘‘We are here as a people who worked, prayed and waited for your presidency in the firm belief that with you as Commander-in-Chief, Boko Haram will become history.
‘‘We are here because you have demonstrated empathy for Borno people and the overriding commitment to end Boko Haram.
‘‘We are here because we knew you would welcome us without any suspicion or contempt.’’
An emotional Shettima told Buhari that the leaders have not lost hope in his ability to win the war and restore peace to the state.
“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.
“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 extra-ordinary 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.
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, representing the Shehu of Borno, Senator representing Borno North, Abubakar Kyari and Senator Ali Ndume, Leader, Borno Caucus, National Assembly.