Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
A Borno monarch and Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Mohammed Idrissa Timta sacked from his palace by Boko Haram five years ago has finally returned to his palace.
The palace was once named the headquarters of the insurgents’ caliphate.
Timta returned to the hilly town, located along Nigeria-Cameroon border, some 135 kilometres South-East of Maiduguri, Borno State on Sunday amid funfare and excitemement.
The monarch, who recalled how he escaped being murdered by Boko Haram during a siege on his palace on August 14, 2014, said he fled into the bush leaving behind his family members and kingdom.
“I escaped into the hill about 53 kilometres to Gwoza when Boko Haram started attacking the palace and bombing everywhere. I spent some days on the hill before I found my way to another town and finally to Maiduguri,” he disclosed in an emotion laden tone..
He said he was glad to have returned home, noting that the return of other prominent persons to the town would also boost the recovery efforts of the governement.
“Alhamdulilah (praise be to God) that I have returned home. I am satisfied with my return. Most relevant persons in Gwoza have returned home too. Now that we have returned, the blessing of the town will come,” he said.
While urging the insurgents to lay down their guns and embrace peacef, he assured that the people were ready to forgive those that carried out attacks on the town and burnt the palace.
He explained that he was the greatest victim of the insurgency having lost his father, brothers and relations to the Boko Haram violence within a year.
“I am the greatest loser in Borno, they killed my father, my brothers, my people, burnt down my palace and the town, my kingdom,” he lamented.
Boko Haram attacked, overran and seized Gwoza town on August 14, 2014 It also declared the town as an Islamic caliphate.
Earlier on May 30, 2014 the insurgents had killed the former emir of the town, Alhaji Shehu Idrissa Timta along Gombi-Biu road while going for the funeral of the late Emir of Gombe. His son, the current emir succeeded him, thereafter, and had barely stayed in the palace when Boko Haram struck again.