From Melvin Uche, Maiduguri
Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum Weekend, held separate meetings with Islamic, and Christian leaders after which he declared Monday, October 19 as day for second round of statewide fasting and prayers for enduring peace in the state.
Zulum, in a media address, explained that his regular trips to front lines were not out of pride or attract attention, but rather to satisfy his conscience and discharge his obligations to the people of Borno.
He said the fast in worship should very well include prayers against anyone funding or supporting Boko Haram in any way, and prayers against anyone who consciously benefits from the Boko Haram crisis by any means.
The Governor noted that gallant armed forces in the military, police, DSS, paramilitary and the courageous volunteers in the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes are facing enemies who conceal their identities.
He added that citizens are in battle with an insurgent group which has the advantage of laying ambush from rain-grown grasses, and who oftentimes, use the uniforms of soldiers and Civilian JTF to conceal their movements and presence on highways, stressing that quite often, they pretend to be Nigerian soldiers until their victims are in defenseless positions.
Zulum said these realities account for the notoriety of Boko Haram, especially in these days when rain-fed grasses on highways give them opportunities to hide and ambush their targets.
He said oftentimes, he had been confronted with risks of moving around some areas, especially in Northern Borno, but as a human being, as a father and husband, he, of course, do not seek harm for himself or anyone.
“But then, as a leader, I have often asked myself: should I remain in peaceful Maiduguri where there are less challenges and ignore local government areas where Borno’s challenges actually are? Should we all just sit in Maiduguri and wait till whenever Boko Haram chooses to give us peace?
“The reality of our situation creates a conflict between our human needs for safety versus our conscience and obligation to those we represent. It is not an issue of pride, boasting or to catch the limelight. It is an issue of conscience and obligation.
“As we gathered to hold meetings with religious groups here in Maiduguri, there are more than a million homeless fellow citizens who are living in camps at Monguno, Kala-Balge, Ngala, and other parts of Borno. Are we going to ignore their existence by refusing to give them food and get them homes to live and earn livelihoods? Or are we going to converge all the people of Borno to come to Maiduguri? What about those who are not willing to leave their communities?
“It is against this background that I called for today’s meeting with His Eminence, the Shehu of Borno, the Chief Imam and Imams of Juma’at mosques. We have rubbed minds. I also met with leadership of our Christian brothers and sisters who have consistently shown sincere commitment to our togetherness.
“Fellow citizens of Borno State, as an outcome of today’s consultation, I hereby declare Monday, the 19th day of October 2020 as a second day for statewide fasting and prayers for peace in Borno State. I will like to request, with gratitude, that we approach the fast with the same enthusiasm, devotion and faithfulness as we did on Monday February 24, 2020.