By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met a delegation from Borno State and reasserted his administration’s unwavering determination to equip the military in order to overcome the insurgency in the North-East.
In a statement made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President also told the delegation led by 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 told the delegation comprising political, traditional, religious, women and media leaders in the State that he was impressed by their leadership roles and participation in helping the government deal with the insurgency in the North East.
He 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.
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.
Shettima, in a speech laced with intermittent sobs, 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.
Wiping tears off his cheeks with handkerchief, he said “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.’’
He said they have come with ten important requests from the Federal Government in order to deal with the challenges posed by the insurgents. These he requested should be treated as classified information away from the prying eyes of newsmen.
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.