Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State says so far, 30,000 terrorists have surrendered to the military , Daily Trust reports.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday, Zulum expressed optimism that the menace of Boko Haram will end very soon.
The governor said this would become a reality with the support of the federal government.
Asked whether this would happen in his administration, he said: “Insha Allah. Even now in Borno State, we’re doing very well, extremely well.”
When further asked if what he meant was that the menace would end before 2023, he said: “Insha Allah. You know what I mean by Insha Allah, God willing.”
The governor, who said that he visited the State House to brief the President on the ongoing massive defection of Boko Haram members and efforts being on the plight of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), expressed happiness over the gradual return of peace in Borno State.
“This time around, we have also started witnessing defection of ISWAP members. This is a welcome development. Under closed-door session, we discussed a lot of issues on how the government of Borno State, as well as the federal government, will manage the ongoing surrender by the insurgents,” he added.
On whether the number of those that had surrendered involved a huge number of ISWAP members, he said: “As at now, we have received nothing less than 30,000 from beginning to date from both Boko Haram and ISWAP. ISWAP, we have started receiving them in few numbers, but Boko Haram, we have started receiving them in huge numbers.”
Zulum, while speaking on the significance of the development, said: “As I’ve been saying before, the kinetic measures alone will never end the insurgency, the social and political dimension of this crisis is very important.
“So, we have decided to engage them through dialogue and mediation with a view to ensuring that many of them lay their arms down and so far, so good, the objective has started yielding positive result.
“Apart from this also, in Borno State, for example, as I told you last time, we have problem in the shores of the Lake Chad, as well as in the Southern Borno. I’m pleased to inform you that there was a very heavy military deployment into the Southern Borno and I hope such deployment will also take place in Northern Borno, to be able to clear ISWAP on the shores of Lake Chad. So, this has also yielded positive results.
“On the relocation of the two local government areas, which I said are not occupied by human beings the last time, we’re also doing very well with the military to see how we can return back the population. The military has also given us the go-ahead. So, we are working with them to see how we can return them back. Things are getting better in that state and this is the major reason why I came to see Mr. President.”
The governor, while reacting to a question that sought to know the secret behind the defection of the insurgents, said the federal government under the leadership of President Buhari, the Borno State Government, and the military were all working in close collaboration to ensure that those willing to surrender were given the opportunity to do so.
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