By Ndahi Marama – Maiduguri
Borno State Government has reiterated its position on the ban of political thuggery, a.k.a ECOMOG, across all the 27 Local Government Areas, even as it said, anybody found parading as political Thugs would be dealt with accordingly.
It also said, in the last two years, N2 billion was distributed to various youths groups and associations including vulnerable individuals, adding that, it is ready to deal with anybody who parade as political thugs.
Briefing journalists in Maiduguri, Commissioner for Sports and Youths Empowerment, Hon Saina Buba said, the Ban still effective to curb the increasing menace of street begging, burglary, rape, killings and all forms of social vices which became the order of the day in the state.
Recalled that, earlier this week, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum had, along with the Commissioner of Police, the DSS and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps officials, summoned a meeting with different groups of political Thugs at the Multi-Purpose hall of the Government House, where he made a categorical statement, that henceforth, anybody found parading himself/herself as political thug otherwise known as ECOMOG would be dealt with, alleging that, there are bad eggs amongst them who resorted to begging at offices, airport, wedding/naming ceremonies and graveyards, theft, kidnapping and killings which have been rampant in Maiduguri metropolis.
Zulum also threatened to deal with any politician no matter how highly placed, if he/she continue support political Thugs, who have been constituting nuisance in the state.
The governor’s statement did not go down well with some group of political thugs who stormed NUJ press centre the following day and insisted that they are not miscreants as alleged by the governor, but supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and that no government or individual can stop them from what they have been doing since emergency of democracy in 1999.
The Commissioner, Hon Buba while making clarification on behalf of the State Governor said, “the statement made by Zulum at the meeting with groups of political thugs was misinterpreted by many people, as it was meant to solve the current societal ills for the success of Borno.
“As you are all aware, in the past few days in Maiduguri and environs, there have been clashes between youths, some of these youths were noticed to be carrying various calibre of weapons ranging from knives, marchers, Sticks, charms and other dangerous weapons.
“It was also observed that the increasing cases of begging at airport, graveyards, wedding and naming ceremonies perpetrated by some of these political Thugs is worrisome and must stop.
“It was as a result of this that the Government, After conveying its security council meeting, felt it was necessary to invite the leaders of these youths to pass the message from the government that it will no longer tolerate this, and government have put a stop to youths restiveness.
“Unfortunately, we noticed that the statement has generated divergent reactions with some passing negative comment, but I want to inform all the people of Maiduguri and environs that there is no going back on the Ban of political thugs given by the Governor.
“Any youth found with any weapon on him or illicit drugs, by the grace of God, he will face the full wrath of the law. God knows the intentions of the Governor, God knows our intentions, we wanted to bring progress.
“We are not saying that all the 186 youths mobilised and attended the meeting are miscreants or thugs.
“We invited them as Leaders of Borno Youths. There is Leader of Dagger within their mixed and we have been enjoying cordial working relationship with him. There are other youths too.
“There are some of them that are stubborn. If they chose to listen, then the better for them. Already Governor has already given his directives.
“It was a known fact that Governor was given them money. Within the past two year, we have spent over N2 billion on what we are given them on monthly basis.
“Apart from that, the Governor has given directive to select 1,000 of them to empower them on mechanical trades and carpentry.
“Those that are expert on Auto mechanics, carpentry or electrical engineering, we shall all empower them to the relevent places they want to go.
“The Governor had directed my ministry to collaborate with the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Science and technology. Already we have designed a program and this N15,000 monthly stipends we are given them shall continue.
“Lastly we are calling on the parents of these youths, and the leaders in the state to monitor the upbringing of their children and wards to become meaningful citizens.
“Even our religion, both Islam and Christianity, has taught children to be obedient to their leaders, in the next ten or eight years, we are no longer going to occupy this position.
“If we do not have youths that will replace us, it will become an issue,” Buba stated.