Culled from Punch
Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima on Sunday said he had been a sad man since he assumed office three years ago.
He said he had only been smiling to appear cheerful.
“If I have to open up to all of you here; most of the time, I try to wear smiles on my face but in the true sense, I have had very few moments of inner joy and happiness in the last three years,” Shettima said.
He said this while bemoaning the activities of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which has its base in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The governor spoke at the inauguration of 22 units of model housing for the people of Maffa, in the outskirts of Maiduguri.
He said, “One of the few moments of my inner joy, like I said earlier, is our gathering here to formally launch the Borno State Stalk Houses Eradication Programme, which is an ambitious scheme that is targeted at gradually eliminating stalk houses in different parts of Borno State and replacing them with model houses, at no cost to the beneficiaries.
“Today is one of the few moments of my life since I assumed the leadership of Borno State as governor in nearly three years that I could said to be truly happy. You all know the traumatic experiences we have been facing as a state since 2009, you will recall that in 2011, we took over administration and continued to manage the unfortunate insurgency that brought very tragic and unforgettable experiences to our beloved heritage, Borno.”
Members of Boko Haram, a group opposed to Western education and with an objective to Islamise Nigeria, began waging war against the Federal Government in 2009.
They have launched many attacks at military and police facilities, churches, mosques, markets and drinking joints in different parts of the north and Abuja.
In June 2011, a lone suicide bomber from the group attacked the police headquarters in Abuja, killing one policeman while about 70 cars were burnt.
In August 2011, the group also bombed the UN office in Abuja, killing a total of 45 persons.
On Christmas Day same 2011, members of the sect bombed the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State, killing at least 43 parishioners.
Since then, the death toll from the sect’s attacks had been in tens.
Just on Sunday, there were reports that members of the group attacked yet another village, Izge, in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State and killed 93 persons in the evening of Saturday.
On the account of the violence being perpetrated by the sect, especially in the North-East region, Borno as well as Yobe and Adamawa states have been under emergency rule since May 2013.
Meanwhile, Shettima said the state government would construct 250 houses for 800 residents of Bulabulin Ngarnam in Maiduguri, who were displaced by the Boko Haram crisis.
He said this while inspecting the site for the construction of the houses, near the Maiduguri Flour Mills.
Shettima said the gesture was aimed at providing shelter to the victims, who had lost their property to the crisis.
Bulabulin Ngarnam was rendered homeless last year after a military operation, which demolished structures in the area.
The area was believed to be the hideout and operational base of the Boko Haram insurgents.
Culled from Punch