Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State yesterday pleaded with soldiers who have taken over the state on the orders of President Goodluck Jonathan following the declaration of state of emergency, to adhere strictly to the president’s directive in co-running the state with him.
“Let me use this opportunity to importantly urge the military who are fellow Nigerians like all of us to abide by the directive of Mr President in operating under the rules of engagement so that innocent lives and their properties are jealously preserved and protected,” the governor stated.
In a state-wide broadcast yesterday to declare his acceptance of the state of emergency declared by President Jonathan on Tuesday in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, Shettima reiterated his earlier position that dialogue remained the best and sustainable option in tackling the rising wave of insurgency that has ravaged most parts of the north.
He said: “I am glad to note that the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution is still working round the clock as also emphasised by the president. I believe, like I have always said since 2011, that, by the end of the day, dialogue will be the last and sustainable resort. Let us embrace the spirit of live and let’s live.
“May I also add, at the risk of sounding repetitive, that the best way to fight crime is to provide jobs through integrated agriculture and other industrial growth. We are very conscious of the fact that there is mass poverty and unemployment and, as you may have confirmed from our ongoing programmes across the state, we are creating jobs and we will continue to do so.”
Indicating his acceptance and support to President Jonathan’s declaration emergency rule in the state, the governor continued: “Dear fellow citizens, I address you today with heavy heart and grief. I join you in mourning your families, friends and other loved ones who may have lost their lives to the security challenges that we face in Borno State.
“I commiserate with you for the injuries you or your loved ones may have suffered and for the properties you may have lost as we are confronted with a nightmare that has haunted us for far too long.
“As time passes, we shall, as a government, remain focused in our abiding faith and commitment to improve the welfare of all citizens through quality governance. I will seize this opportunity, for the umpteenth time, to call on our brothers in the Jama’atu ahliss Sunnah lil Da’awatu wal Jihad to embrace dialogue so that we can solve this problem on the table through collective bargaining, offers and compromises.
“I am usually thrown onto emotional torture any time a life is lost in Borno especially by man-made brutality because, as your governor, I am under obligation, constitutional and moral, to ensure your safety.”
He added: “ As your leader, I consider myself a father to all orphans, a brother and friend to every one of you, a son to every parent and a member of every family in Borno State regardless of religion, tribe and geo-political affiliation. I share in your moments of despair more than you can ever imagine because, regardless of the intrinsic worth of any programme and projects put in place by any government, however laudable, a citizen has to be alive or safe to enjoy the benefits of such programme or project. Therefore, the most important role of any responsible government is the security of lives and properties.”
Noting that it is the constitutional responsibility of the president to take such measures, the governor said, “I urge you to fervently pray for the return of peace in our dear Borno State and in all other parts of Nigeria, to pave the way for rapid recovery and the socio-economic transformation that we so desperately seek to put in place as a government.”
Cautioning indigenes of the state to play by the rules, he said: “As the military leaders have said in discourses, the armory of the Nigerian soldiers is not meant to fight fellow Nigerians; the armory is meant to protect fellow Nigerians.
“A period of State of Emergency is that which comes with rules that are different from those that guide our day-to-day lives. We must therefore take personal steps as citizens to avoid being caught by the strange rules. I have directed the State Ministry of Home Affairs, Information and Culture to work out public safety enlightenment programmes that should be regularly featured on the Borno State Television and Radio while I urge our partners and friends in other media organizations resident in the state to help in educating citizens on public conducts at this different time that we face together.”