By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA—Ten months into the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has announced that his state was now free of terror.
While Governor Shettima was quick to concede that the Boko Haram terrorist group had not been annihilated, he said despite occasional hiccups, “Borno is now free.”
Governor Shettima, who disclosed this while on a visit to the Director General of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Muhammad Sidi, in Abuja yesterday, said: “10 months ago, one could not travel for 10 kilometres without encountering terrorists.”
He added that then, Maiduguri was the only relatively safe haven, adding “yes, we still have occasional hiccups, but Boko Haram has been so decimated that they can no longer threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
He noted that peace was gradually returning to the state, expressing optimism that by year-end, all internally displaced persons, IDPs, would have returned to their homes.
Praising NEMA for its support to Borno State, the governor solicited for greater support, saying the state is home to 90 percent of IDPs in the country.
According to him, out of 2.5 million IDPs in Nigeria, Maiduguri alone is host to 1.7 million, while there are nearly 200,000 IDPs in camps scattered around the state.
On the vexed issue of the missing 219 Chibok girls, the governor was optimistic that the girls were still alive and would be rescued soon.
In his remarks, DG of NEMA, Sidi, lauded the governor for embarking on the reconstruction of liberated areas, urging him not to be deterred by occasional and isolated terrorist attacks on soft targets.