…As NGF donates N100m to Borno
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, who has escaped being assassinated twice in the recent time from insurgents, has promised to be more careful in the way he traverses his state.
Zulum, nonetheless, vowed that he will be forced to chicken out of pursuing his goals of returning his people to their ancestral homes.
The Governor made this declaration when the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum,NGF, and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode fayemi visited him in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The visit, according to a statement by the Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF, Mallam Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, was to demonstrate the Forum’s solidarity and commiserate with him on the recent attacks on his convoy.
The Forum also assisted the government and people of Borno State with N100m.
Governor Fayemi was accompanied on the trip by the Governor of Sokoto State and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Hon Simon Bako Lalong.
Addressing the embattled Governor, Dr Fayemi admonished Prof Zulum to exercise caution in his activities in the state, even though he narrated how the Borno Governor always responded by saying that his life was in the hands of Allah and that death will only come when Allah wills.
Dr Fayemi emphasised that Nigeria owes the Borno people a duty to end this insurgency and nip it in the bud.
The Ekiti State Governor described how Gov Zulum attempted to dissuade them from visiting his state but that he (Chairman of the NGF) insisted that it is not just a duty but the most realistic thing to do because “an attack against one is an attack against all”, to which the Government House Maiduguri erupted in a thunderous applaud.
The NGF Chairman announced a donation of one hundred million Naira to the Government and people of Borno State from the NGF before handing the cheque over to the Borno Governor.
Responding the Borno State Governor thanked the NGF for its kind gesture, saying it is not the amount of money but the gesture behind the donation that matters.
He thanked the NGF on behalf of the Borno people and explained the dire condition into which the insurgency had thrown the Borno people.
Gov Zulum, who spoke in a sombre mood, explained that he would not be deterred from pursuing his goals of emancipating his people because, according to him, “security and development are two sides of the same coin”.
He noted with sadness that Borno people had been “forced to be unproductive and depend on aids.”
Painting a very gory picture of the situation of the population in Borno State, Zulum narrated that the Chad Basin employs about 10 million people, the Sambisa Grazing Reserve and the Mandara Mountains employ 3million people, but no one is farming there because the insurgents have made these places inaccessible to the people.
According to him, “The situation in our state is has become very dire because, everything calls for endurance, commitment and dedication, if our people were to be drawn out of the woods”.
He further stated that more than 800.000 people are resident in Monguno and all of them are under the age of 20, yet all of that population is lying idle, making them susceptible to going astray if nothing is done to engage them positively.