Speaker of Borno State House of Assembly, Abdulkareem Lawan has countered minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed and immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin’s claims of Boko Haram not occupying any local government in the country.
Addressing the statements made by the Minister and the former CDS, Lawan said even as speaker of the state house of assembly he has not been able to visit his local government area for three years because it is being occupied by insurgents.
Insisting that the statement was not fair to displaced people of Borno, the lawmaker revealed that there is no single civilian that lives in the entire territory that defines his local government area, Guzamala.
He added that in all the 10 local government areas that form the Northern Borno senatorial district, “none is completely free of Boko Haram.”
“I disagree with the claims of the former Chief of Defence Staff during their pulling out ceremony that no territory in Nigeria is under the control of Boko Haram. I say this because my local government is completely under the control of Boko Haram for the past three years.
“As I am speaking to you right now, there is no single civilian that lives in the entire territory that defines my local government area, Guzamala. Sadly, there is also no single military presence or soldier in my local government.
“I have also heard the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the same thing that no single local government area is under the occupation of Boko Haram.
“This gives me worry because I know there are 774 local government areas in Nigeria and my local government Guzamala is one of them. I don’t know if the federal government has reduced the number of local government areas in Nigeria to 773, by saying that no single LGA is under the control of Boko Haram.
“What about my local government, Guzamala, which is a no-go-area for both military and civilians? Are we not part of the Nigerian state? Have we been cut off from the Nigerian geographical space? If that is the case, we need the federal government to tell us in clear terms.
“For the past one year, the Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, has been visiting all the local government areas and making efforts to return IDPs to their liberated local. government headquarters. But of all the places, Guzamala was never visited because it is a no-go-area.
“Most of the IDPs relocated to their communities are only restricted to the local government headquarters because the remote villages and hamlets are still not safe. So how can we even say Boko Haram is not in those locations when only the local government headquarters are relatively secured?”
On the appointment of the new service chiefs, Lawan said;
“We are happy with the new set of services chiefs especially the CDS and the Chief of Army Staff who were once commanders of the Lafiya Dole Theatre Command here in Borno. We plead with them to deploy more troops to the northern part of Borno where Boko Haram are still occupying my entire local government area.”