Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has described attacks by Boko Haram on geologists and exploration staff working for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the University of Maiduguri as a tragic setback in the fight against the Islamist terror group as well as in efforts to boost Nigeria's economy.
Earlier today, Governor Shettima’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, issued a statement regarding the governor’s serious concerns about the attacks. The statement disclosed that the governor, who was on his way to visit ailing President Muhammadu Buhari in London, found the attacks shocking.
In the governor’s words, “I haven't been my normal self since I received information on that attack. What happened in the first instance was a tragic setback in the fight against Boko Haram and in Nigeria's effort to expand its economic fortunes. I am deeply pained by this incident especially coming at a time when we were beginning to pick up the pieces of our lives. Even though the attack should never have happened given the successes recorded by the military and multi-national joint forces since 2015, I still deem it necessary to commend the military for re-mobilizing and countering the initial gains of the insurgents.”
Governor Shettima said the government and people of Borno State wished to mourn and salute the soldiers and members of the civilian joint task force (JTF) who lost their lives in the recent attacks. He said he was awaiting a full report on how the insurgents ambushed security personnel as well as a counterattack by the military in order to ascertain the number and identity of victims.
The governor said he mourned any worker or support staff who died while “trying to contribute in boosting Nigeria's economy through exploration activities in the Chad basin.”
He promised that the state government would never forsake the survivors of those who lost their lives defending Borno State or in service to Nigeria. He added: “On our part, (and as can be corroborated by all security agencies, youth volunteers and hunters involved in the fight against Boko Haram) the Borno State Government has never lost focus in doing whatever is within its powers in supporting the Nigerian Armed Forces, in funding and equipping the Civil JTF and other volunteers, in mobilizing and passing on intelligence generated from communities and in regularly briefing all those concerned with the fight against Boko Haram.”
Governor Shettima both President Buhari and acting President Yemi Osinbajo had displayed “tremendous political will to end this carnage once and for all.” He assured the people of Borno State and other Nigerians that the state government remained committed to the fight against Boko Haram. He urged the military, volunteers in the civilian JTF, vigilantes and hunters to consider what happened as a temporary setback, adding that they should strengthen their will and collective determination “to defeat the forces of evil.”
He said he was confident that Boko Haram would become history, “by the will of the Nigerian Armed Forces through the supreme help of God.”