Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The activities of the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, on Monday overwhelmed the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, as he broke down in the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.
Shettima was in the Villa with leaders and elders from Borno State. In his introductory remarks at the meeting, he told President Buhari that they came to present a set of observations and specific requests after an extraordinary security meeting they held a week ago in Borno State. He said the elders had concluded that the state required urgent intervention by the president.
Present on the occasion were the National Security Adviser, Major Gen Babagana Monguno (retd); Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; acting Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and the Director General, Department for State Services, Yussuf Bitchi.
Shettima amid tears following the current setback in the fight against insurgency, told Buhari that the leaders had not lost hope in his ability to win the war and restore peace to the state.
Following his surprise outburst of emotion, members of the press were excused from the meeting.
Then Shettima said: “Between 2013 and 2014, we witnessed the most daring and most vicious evil of the Boko Haram, losing 20 local government areas.
“However, we rushed here because of the recent upsurge in the activities of the demented monster called Boko Haram especially in northern Borno senatorial district. We are here because since 2015, Mr President, you were able to restore our hope.
“Sir, you have demonstrated empathy for Borno and an overriding commitment to ending the Boko Haram. This is why we rushed here on witnessing some set back.
“We are here because we thought that Allah will use you to fully reclaim Borno’s traditional glory of being the home of peace. We are here as a people who worked, prayed and waited for your presidency in the firm and under the belief that with you as the Commander In Chief, Boko Haram will become history in Borno.
“Mr. President, we have not, and Insha Allah, we will not lose hope in you because we have witnessed and survived worse moments before you came. We do not feel hopeless.
“Our hopes are very much alive and they are very high.
“We came with some observation and ten requests for urgent presidential (president’s) intervention. These observations and requests are products of discussion in the aftermath of our extra-ordinary security meeting held one week ago.
“We didn’t rush to come after the meeting. We felt the need to travel to northern Borno, interact with displaced persons and the military so as to strengthen public confidence.
“I will seek the understanding of the journalists by not making public any of our observation and ten requests. They are matters of security which we hope to discuss with Mr President in a closed door.”