Elders from northeastern part of Nigeria have been asked to rise up against Boko Haram activities in northern Borno.
The Patriotic Elders Council (PEC), who made this call on Monday, urged leaders from the region to lead calls on Boko Haram terrorists to surrender.
The call came barely 24 hours after the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) announced that 13 suspected Boko Haram members alongside six women and 17 children from Kodila village have surrendered.
PEC was reacting to the sad incident of Boko Haram ambush and killing of security agents and civilians while on a convoy to Baga town to receive returnee IDPs on Saturday, September 26, 2020.
The group, while making this call on Monday in a statement signed by its Secretary-General, Chief Simon Shango, expressed regret that leaders, elders and stakeholders in the Northeast were in the comfort of their houses in Abuja or elsewhere outside their troubled region, “waiting only to come out to condemn the military when there is any casualty from an attack by insurgents.”
PEC, therefore, called on all Nigerians to rally round “our gallant troops in the frontlines, despite the deliberate frustrations of their efforts, energies and sacrifices for a peaceful and united Nigeria.”
Full text of the statement reads below:
The Government of Nigeria, led by President Muhammadu Buhari; the executive Governor of Borno state, Prof. Babagana Zulum and the leaderships of Nigeria’s security agencies, pointedly, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force and everyone over the sad event in Baga a few days ago.
We also condole with families of all the security personnel and the Civilian Joint Task Force, (C-JTF) members and indeed, all Nigerians over the sad incident of Boko Haram ambush and killing of security agents and civilians on a convoy to Baga town to receive returnee IDPs on Saturday, September 26, 2020.
The sad incident has again thrown our nation, Nigeria and particularly Borno State into another state of mourning. We mourn all our beloved ones lost in the course of fighting the Boko Haram insurgency and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists and associated cross border armed gangs and criminals who have illegally infiltrated our lands with bloodshed.
The agenda of these satanic agents, actively backed by foreign interests is clear to all Nigerians. However, what they have failed to understand is the unalterable reality and knowledge by these criminals that forceful campaign to re-conquer any territory within Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is no longer possible.
We deeply appreciate the priceless sacrifices of all Nigerians, especially, security personnel who have paid the supreme price (past and present) for peace and security for Nigerians. PEC is also appreciative of our gallant troops in the frontlines, despite the deliberate frustrations of their efforts, energies and sacrifices for a peaceful and united Nigeria.
Our slain heroes, heroines and volunteers are martyrs of this struggle, and we believe, their resolve never to relent in the warfront until Boko Haram and its allied forces are conquered is a true reflection of our resilience, courage to overcome the impossible and enviable spirit of patriotism. They will forever be remembered for their unquantifiable sacrifices to safeguard and preserve the nation, with their names inscribed in gold in Nigeria’s Hall of Fame. Rest in perfect peace heroic compatriots!
Let us remind all compatriots again, that our nation faces the most difficult and turbulent times today in our 60 years of existence as a nation by deliberate acts of sabotage and mischief. However, we urge everyone never to shudder, but have an abiding faith in the power of God behind us to overcome these tribulations.
What we are experiencing today and the touchy sacrifices are not peculiar to Nigeria alone. Other nations also paid the costly prices to have true freedom and liberation. Our determination and support to security agencies should never waver until we conquer the foes against the country.
Nigerian troops at the battlefront have been given their hearts and minds to the counter-insurgency operations. We must unequivocally state that we are extremely unhappy that some leaders in the Northeast axis and even some members of the communities where resurgent insurgency rages have overtime failed to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Military in fighting Boko Haram.
International and local security experts have conceded in various analyses available in and outside the country and from the experiences of other countries similarly afflicted with terrorism like Nigeria that synergy between the Military in warfare and traditional or political leadership is crucial and a strong weapon of defeating terrorists anywhere.
Unfortunately, it is lacking in Nigeria. There is an unbridged gulf on this in Nigeria. While the Nigerian forces have quenched the fires of Boko Haram on the battlefield, leaders and some members of local communities have failed to support or sustain these efforts.
Let us remind ourselves again that our colleagues, the Northeast leaders, elders and stakeholders must rise up now to complement the Military’s efforts by calling on the insurgents, their own children to surrender and embrace peace in Northern Borno now. There is no better time to do that than NOW!
We make this public statement knowing well that everyone is sad at the seeming pleasure of some leaders and stakeholders from the north east to see their people afflicted for years and Nigerians suffer massively under the scourge of Boko Haram without intervention. All they do is silence or at best, scolding the military each time, insurgents hide in the villages, and communities, shielded by locals to bloodily strike at them. It’s extremely unfair for any reason whatsoever.
Today, our patriotic political leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has committedly battled the Boko Haram insurgency to a standstill. He has assembled the best Military experts in warfare as Service Chiefs and funding the counter-insurgency operations devotedly, despite meagre national resources.
The Military have also justified the spirit of nationhood by putting in their best in the battles to liberate Nigeria. Can we imagine that it is the same Nigerian Military which recovered the over 17 LGAs in the Northeast under Boko Haram control; dislodged the insurgents Caliphate in Gwoza/Baga; freed most of the 276 abducted Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls; neutralized numerous Boko Haram top commanders; demystified the dreaded Sambisa forest; freed over 20,000 hostages of Boko Haram in secret camps and elicited the voluntary surrender of Boko Haram foot soldiers and top commanders?
It is, therefore, unimaginable today, that only in Northern Borno that this has refused to give way for peace to reign. Every Nigerian must be worried at this and silence is no longer Golden.
Regardless of anything or the conspiracy of anybody involved in the persisting heist of insurgency, we are strongly prodded to glowingly commend Mr. President and his Service Chiefs, some of whom have narrowly escaped death in the warzone for doing all to restore peace to the Northeast. This is despite the actions/inactions, distractions and frustrations of veiled actors and fifth columnist in festering terrorism. But the imperative of leaders and stakeholders of this region to pair up with Gov, Zulum in calling on insurgents to surrender is very pertinent now.
Again, from the bottom of our hearts, we salute the courage, sacrifices and patriotism of the Military and Nigerian troops in all ramifications. They have fared well in the counter-insurgency operations. The recent Boko Haram ambush on the convoy of Government officials on their way to a restored Baga to resettle IDPs returnees after more than three years of deserting their communities and scores of security personnel on escort duty lost their irreplaceable lives should prick the leaders, as we mourn.
But a situation where the leaders, elders and stakeholders in the Northeast leisure in the comfort of their houses in Abuja or elsewhere outside their troubled region, waiting only to come out to condemn the Military when there is any casualty from an attack by insurgents is condemnable! It smacks of the worst insensitivity and advertised severance from the counter-insurgency.
It is, therefore, our considered opinion that all stakeholders in Borno State and beyond come together to prevail on their children to stop this high scale atrocity against innocent Nigerians in the north east without further delay.