Counter-Insurgency: Let’s Fight, Fast and Pray- Gov Zulum
(Full text of Governor Zulum’s six-minute statewide broadcast, Wednesday, February 19, 2020; Maiduguri)
Fellow citizens, in the last couple of days and weeks, Borno has faced resurging attacks from insurgents. The latest of these attacks happened around Chibok yesterday while the most horrific took place at Auno town in Konduga where human beings were atrociously set ablaze, amongst them, an infant and nursing mother.
Before these recent incidents, many communities also came under varied degrees of murderous attacks in the north, south and central parts of Borno State.
I share the grief of fellow citizens who have either lost their loved ones or confronted the agony of watching loved ones on hospital beds. I feel the trauma of hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens who have lost everything and have been forced to live on makeshift shelters and rely on food and non-food aid as internally displaced persons and refugees in neighbouring countries.
Beyond sharing the griefs and pains of fellow citizens, I assure you, that we have never for one second, ignored our constitutional and moral obligations towards you, the good people of Borno State.
As your Governor in the last nine months, I have lived, slept and woken up with a constant reminder that where I deliberately fail to do my utmost best in trying to secure lives, Allah will hold me accountable at His appointed time.
Fellow citizens, security of lives and property is the number one essence of government.
We are continuously giving support to our gallant and patriotic armed forces in both logistics and mobilisation of community intelligence.
We are constantly increasing, equipping and motivating thousands of volunteers who make unquantifiable sacrifices in joining the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes to defend our communities across the 27 local government areas.
Fellow citizens, we are more than determined to continue deploying and sustaining all lawful and necessary measures in our desperate search for enduring peace in Borno State.
However, as we redouble our combined efforts, we have to acknowledge that as human beings, our strengths are limited.
I know we have ceaselessly sought divine intervention in our individual and group prayer sessions.
These notwithstanding, this time around, I will like us to seek Allah’s intervention, not as individuals and groups, but as an entire state.
Even though this decision is based on the popular demand of our people, some observers may rightly argue that it is a strange call. But then, Borno has been befallen with a strange evil since 2009, and sometimes, strange ailments require strange approaches.
As your Governor, I hereby declare Monday the 24th of February 2020 as a day of devotion to pray for the return of peace in Borno. I intend to fast on that day and I appeal to every one of us in Borno, who can, to join in that simple, butpricelessly rewarding spiritual endeavour. I also appeal for the sacrifices of all other well-meaning friends and associates of Borno who can, to join us in fasting on Monday, insha’Allah, for the restoration of peace in Borno State and rest of Nigeria.
I urge all of us to be steadfast in prayers. But in doing that, we certainly do not need to congregate in open fields for dramas.
It would also not matter whether we are within or outside Borno State and whether we are at work places, markets or not. There will be no public holiday, after all, God is everywhere, at home and at work.
Let us pray to Him with the purest intention, total devotion, submission and unwavering faith.
His eminence, the Shehu of Borno has assured me of his call on imams of all mosques across the 27 local government areas of the state to recite the Qunut throughout the five congregational prayers on Monday. Leaders of the Christian community have also assured me of special prayer sessions in churches.
However, as citizens, we are all free to pray in the best ways we prefer.
And in our prayers, we should be kind to remember thousands who were killed in this unfortunate crisis, and those who gave their lives fighting it.
We should also be very deliberate that Monday, to give help, particularly of food, to our nearest in need.
Fellow citizens, we should fervently pray for our armed forces and volunteers, who right now, are in battle fronts risking their lives to keep us safe.
These gallant fighters and those who died fighting, are the true heroes of Borno. We shall remain endlessly grateful to them.
We should pray for our President, Muhammadu Buhari, whose sincerity in the fight against Boko Haram has never been in doubt.
Fellow citizens, as your Governor, I testify that President Buhari is supremely dedicated to ending the Boko Haram insurgency. The evidence of the President’s dedication is the military’s freeing of thousands of abducted citizens and the liberation of many communities in Borno State hitherto under the sovereign administration of insurgents. Majority of these communities were rebuilt and are now occupied by resettled citizens.
These gains for humanity, are what the Boko Haram insurgents hope and are determined to reverse. We cannot let them succeed.
We must fight and pray for good to triumph over evil.
May God free Borno and the rest of Nigeria from insurgents and all enemies of public peace and security.
Babagana Umara Zulum
Governor of Borno State