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Monday, 04 December 2023 06:47

How I dislodged B’Haram founder, Shekau, others – Ex-Niger gov

A former Niger State governor, Dr Muazu Aliyu, has broken his silence on how his administration practically chased out leaders of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents from the state during his first term in office.

Aliyu noted that if not that he chased the late Abubakar Shekau, the dreaded leader of Boko Haram, and his lieutenant, Abu Qaka, Niger State would have been the foundation of the sect.

The ex-governor spoke at the weekend at the 2023 Annual Public Lecture/Awards and Election of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Kaduna Branch, where he was guest speaker.

He explained that when he took over as governor of Niger State he discovered the camp of the insurgents and got the support of then President, the late Umar Yar’Adua, to disperse them.

Aliyu said, “The primary purpose of government is the security of lives and property of the citizens, which some governors don’t take seriously. As chief security officer of your state, you cannot claim inability to secure your citizens. Yes, the officers of the security agencies might not have come from your state, they are federal officers posted to assist you in your state.

“Being proactive as a leader and follower also helps so much. When I arrived in Niger State, I found a security challenge. Nine people. who went to a village in the Mokwa Local Government Area, had multiplied in 2007 to 7,000 people, and were involved in armed robbery and abducting women in the area. They constituted themselves into a republic.

“I also discovered that many governors had tried to do something but were probably frustrated by Abuja. In fact, two immigration officers sent to investigate the activities of the group became members.

“When I took a census, I discovered that more than 60 per cent of the members were not Nigerians. The original Shekau and Abu Qaga were the leaders. I got the support of the late President Musa Yar’Adua to disperse them after compensating them and providing them fare to their destination in Nigeria and the foreigners were taken to their borders.

“That action probably saved Niger State from being the foundation for Boko Haram as we come to know; they were regularly visiting the River Niger bridge. That the Federal Government would support any governor who has done his homework is not in doubt.”

Speaking further, Aliyu said part of the solution to the security challenges bedeviling the country was proper planning and budgeting.

“Our planning must be people-centred and our budget must be treated as the law that it is.

“If the planning is proper, we cannot be talking of 20 million children out of school, we cannot be described as the poverty capital of the world, we also cannot be facing the insecurity of banditry, Boko Haram, and armed robbery. With proper planning we cannot have the level of corruption we have today.”

Earlier in his remarks, the state Chairman of the NIPR, Haroun Malami, noted the theme of the lecture: ‘Demographic Transition, Ethical Resource, Sustainable Development: Reflections on Northern Nigeria,’ was chosen in view of the rising unemployment among the youth, particularly in the northern part of the country.

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