BY NDAHI MARAMA, MAIDUGURI
The President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday, said his incoming administration will accord priority to ending the Boko Haram insurgency and bring stability in the north east geopolitical zone, focus on re-activating the Lake Chad and deploy enormous resources to resume vigorous search for oil along the Chad Basin in parts of Borno State.
General Buhari who spoke at his residence in Kaduna while responding to requests made by Governor Kashim Shettima, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi and some elders from Borno State during a congratulatory visit to the President elect.
Buhari said he was very much aware of the problems of the northeast and will not waste time in tackling them up one after the other. He said his administration will enhance collaboration with neighboring Governments of Chad, Niger and Cameroon to curtail the trans- border movement of Boko Haram insurgents, cut supply of arms, cut recruitment and training of fresh recruits and that stability of the northeast was a must project for his administration noting that nothing can be achieved unless peace was restored to the troubled region.
The President-elect also assured the delegation the receding of lake chad will be addressed through the transfer of water from the central African Republic to the lake to boost its commercial activities for fishing and irrigation farming.
He recalled that he once red a document raising fears about receding of the Lake Chad which he handed over to then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, but now he will handle the matter. Buhari said the Lake has the potentials to create millions of jobs through irrigation and many other commercial uses it was associated with many years ago.
While acknowledging delays in oil exploration activities in the Chad Basin, the incoming President said he was very much aware of exploration activities in the area since 1978 as Minister of Petroleum. He said he had visited a site in Borno State as a Head of State to assess exploration activities and that he was very much conversant with the issue and would take it up as President when he settles in office.
General Buhari said he had many years ago, suggested the need to take the search for oil in the north seriously, not only to increase the export potentials on Nigeria, but also to balance cross regional perceptions and manage agitations so as to enhance the stability of the country. He promised to pay special attention to the economic potentials of the northeast so as to make it attractive for investments.
Governor Kashim Shettima who led the delegation in company of all traditional rulers, elders, elected National and State Assembly members and other stakeholders, had earlier disclosed that they were at the resident of the president-elect to congratulate him over his historic victory at the polls and to also remind him of problems affecting Borno State which he already knew.
The Governor said the people of Borno feel so much attached to General Buhari given his background as someone that served as Military Governor in the State. He said the citizens looked up to him with so much hope because the President elect was very much familiar with the problems of the State and how it has suffered in the last six years owing to massive killings of its people and extreme destructions of communities and public institutions. He pleaded with the incoming President to pay special attention to the affairs of the Borno.
The Shehu OF Borno Alh Abubakar Ibn umar Garbai Al Amim El-kanemi, appealed to the president Elect to consider making the Federal Government take over the welfare of youths volunteers fighting insurgency in the State, noting that Borno State Government has been spending so much on that in addition to huge expenditures in managing the Boko Haram insurgency besides spending on capital projects and payment of salaries of workers. The Shehu also appealed for Buhari’s intervention on resumption of commercial airlines to Maiduguri international Airport, which has been suspended almost two years ago.
Chairman of Borno Elders Forum, Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari expressed optimism that with incoming President’s track record of service, elders in the State have so much fate in him to address the needs of Borno citizens and also to move the nation forward. End