“Before this administration came, all 27 local councils and the Emirs had migrated to Maiduguri. They were driven from their various palaces by Boko Haram. We had no power from the National Grid. Telephone services were discontinued and the airport was closed.”
These were the words of the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Umar Ibn Garbai, when President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by a powerful delegation, paid sympathy visit to him in his palace today, November 30, over the murder of 43 rice farmers in Borno State yesterday, November 29. The presidential delegation was made up of high level officials, representing the Executive and Legislative arms of government.
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, spoke for the team while the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari representing President Buhari, presented a joint message to the government and people of Nigeria to the Borno State Governor, the Shehu of Borno, and the bereaved Zabarmari community.
The Shehu of Borno, who described as “madness,” the gruesome killings of the farmers, commended the President for changing all the previous narrations for the better. He called on his subjects to pray and offer useful information to the security agencies.
This was even as the Presidential delegation described the massacre of the farm workers as the worst form of “senseless, barbaric and gruesome murder.”
In the message, President Buhari expressed the condolences of the government and people of Nigeria and gave strong assurances of his continuous commitment to fighting insurgency and all forms of insecurity in Borno State and all over Nigeria.
Buhari stressed that he is committed to making more resources available to the military to prosecute the war, adding that he will work closely with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of the people. Everything is secondary when security is at a stake.
“As we mourn the loss of our sons in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis until we root out the terrorists.”
President Buhari commended Governor Babagana Zulum for his leadership in running the affairs of the state.
Responding, Governor Zulum thanked the President for “ensuring relative peace since his assumption of office,” stating clearly that the situation is much better than he met it.
The Governor presented a number of requests on behalf of his people, including that the youths of the state should be enlisted in military and paramilitary organizations to play their roles in the defence of the nation.
He called on the federal government to assist in the repatriation of Borno indigenes in camps in neighbouring countries and requested the National Assembly to tweak the draft budget now before them to allow better allocation of resources for the Northeast sub-region, which he alleged is being side-lined.
The delegation was also in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government where the incident took place.
Aside the Senate President and Chief of Staff to the President, the delegation included the House Majority Whip, Tahir Monguno, the Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Musa Bello, Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Agriculture (State), Mustapha Shehuri and Works and Housing (State), Engineer Abubakar Aliyu.
Others are National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.