Borno grinding to a halt – SSG

InsurgentsBy Lawrence Olaoye

Secretary to Borno State Government (SSG), Amb. Baba Jodda, yesterday painted a gloomy picture of the prevailing precarious security situation, and advanced reasons why no election can hold in the state at the moment.

Jidda who pointed out that most parts of the state are now being occupied by the members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect also added that the state and its people should be silent on any discussion concerning 2015 elections for now.

According to him, it would be callous for anyone to be scheming for any political office in the state in the precarious security situation in the state.

The Borno SSG at a press conference held in Abuja yesterday said, “At this very moment, most parts of Borno State are being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents. Government presence and  administration is minimal or non-existent across many parts of the state, with economic, commercial and social services totally subdued. Schools and clinics remain closed.

“Most settlements in the affected areas in the state have either been deserted or access to them practically impossible, thus majority of the political stakeholders cannot, in real fact, reach their constituencies.

So, the threat of insecurity affects everybody irrespective of political differences. The enabling environment for politics and electioneering campaign is simply not obtainable at present in Borno State. In the view of many, the thought about politics and pursuit of political interest in this environment appears absurd, callous and morally repulsive.’’

 He regretted that normal governmental, economic, social and political activities have been dislocated in his state just as he maintained that huge numbers of displaced persons are now living in refugee camps in Maiduguri, neighbouring states as well as Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Jidda regretted that in spite of the security challenge facing the state, the Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed October 3 for a bye-election for Jere LG House of Assembly Constituency in the state.

In his prepared speech titled, “Imperatives of Peace before Politicking,’’ he appealed to all well-meaning sons and daughters of the state to jettison politicking for now for the sake of the continued existence of Nigeria and survival of democracy.

He therefore called for a stakeholders summit of eminent citizens of North-east zone, irrespective of ethnic , political and religious affiliations, to articulate a broad-based solutions to the threat posed by the insurgents.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan will today meet the Chadian President, Idrissa Deby, in Ndjamena, the country’s capital, for talks on how to forge a stronger alliance against terrorism and violent extremism in the two countries.

This was disclosed yesterday in a statement signed by Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

According to him, the talks in Ndjamena  with President Deby, who is also the current Chairman of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, follow their discussions in Nairobi last week on the sidelines of the African Union Peace and Security Council Summit.

“Jonathan and his host will discuss the further actualization of agreements for greater cooperaation against insurgents and terrorists reached by Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon at a meeting in Paris earlier this year.

“Their talks are expected to lead to the strengthening of the Paris Accord on joint border patrols, intelligence sharing and the prevention of the illicit movement of terrorists, criminals, arms and ammunition across shared borders.

“Before returning to Abuja on Tuesday, President Jonathan, who will be accompanied by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the Minister of State for Foreign  Affairs,  Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed and the Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, Professor Sheidu Mohammed,  will be a Special Guest of Honour at an international conference on Information Technology and Communication  holding in Ndjamena on the same day,” Abati stated.

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