Governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum says that about 10 percent of his people can not be accounted for following persistent terrorism and banditry attacks on the State.
He made the lamentation on Tuesday when he stormed the Presidential Villa, Abuja to consult with President Muhammadu Buhari over the large number of suspected Boko Haram said to be surrendering to the military recently.
Speaking to State House Correspondents afterwards, Zulum said over 100,000 people also lost their lives due to the deadly activities of the insurgents.
According to him: “I came to brief Mr. President over the on-going surrender by insurgents. I think, to me, and to the greater majority of people Borno State, this is a very good development. In the last 12 years thousands of lives were lost, people have completely lost their means of livelihood.
“We have a total number of over 50,000 orphans and widows, these are official figures, the unofficial figures are more than this, and we were able to cultivate not more than 3% of our total arable land because of the insurgency and right now, the whereabouts of not less than 10% of people of Borno State is not known to all of us, at all.”
He disclosed that about 2,600 suspected Boko Haram insurgents who surrendered had been taken into custody by the security agencies in Borno state.
The Governor, however, stated that not all of the suspects were criminals, assuring that all the surrendered insurgents would be properly profiled and the innocent ones among them would be immediately resettled.
Said he: “Right now, we have about 2,600 in our custody but mind you, this number is inclusive of their children and their wives including their families. Among these people that have surrendered, some are innocent.
“We have started profiling them with the Nigerian Army and the Directorate of State Services (DSS), so that those that have not committed a heinous crime, especially the teenagers and women, then we can find an immediate way of resettling them back.
“Those that are deeply involved also we shall look into the possibility of training them so that at a later stage, the federal and the state government will decide to keep them so as to address the issue holistically.
“But the good news is that the Nigerian Army is providing enough support to us; we are getting enough cooperation from the Nigerian Army, DSS and the Nigerian Police and we thank God for the President.’’
Speaking further Gov. Zulum said: “Some of the (surrendering insurgents) are teenagers, below the ages of 11, 12, who can handle AK-47 and there’s one very important thing that Nigerians need to understand; if this issue of Boko Haram, insurgency, is not resolved, I believe it will never end because it is a generation.
“Those that came out from the bush you can see one person has two wives three wives in the bush, he’s having 10 children. These children are well trained to behave in such manner. What is this manner? Carrying AK-47 and it’s a generation.
“Therefore, I think it is the best possible option for us to see that we resolve this issue by involving the federal government because the federal government is a major stakeholder. The President has agreed to provide the leadership”.