Nigeria’s military has recorded an arguable 85% success in the fight against Boko Haram in the past six weeks but the losses caused by the insurgents leave eternal scars in the country’s north east.
Nigerians watched helplessly as wanton destruction hit economic, social, educational, political, religious and cultural institutions in the region, particularly Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. Although states like Kano, Bauchi, Zamfara, Gombe and Kaduna all had their own doses of the Islamists’ attacks.
On Tuesday, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, lamented that the insurgency has left about two million people internally displaced within Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, alone.
He added that no fewer than five first class Emirs had been sacked from their domains , leaving only two.
His words: “We have about two million IDPs in Maiduguri, our people were displaced and their houses were burnt. They have been made to go through wanton destruction.
“Palaces were taken over by insurgents. We have five emirs residing in Maiduguri, we only have two emirs still in their domains,” the monarch said when the Borno Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Samuel Madaki, presented his permanent voters card (PVC) to him.
Is Borno State the origin of Boko Haram? The Shehu of Borno dismissed the notion, saying:
“This problem was not initiated here but was brought to us from one of our sister states.
“The problem was brought on us and taken to neighbouring states and gradually it has found its way into neighbouring countries.
“We have been made to live in fear. We are encircled by insurgents and it is so sad that getting out of Maiduguri is difficult, you can hardly travel 10 kilometers from here without being attacked.
“The only safe passage cannot really be said to be safe as there are pockets of attack on the route, Maiduguri-Kano highway.”
About 90% of the north east has been recovered from Boko Haram, a proof that the six weeks extension of the general elections was a plus.
Now, as the people in the region gradually make their way back to their lands, it is instructive to note that some have been permanently displaced because their towns and villages were completely wiped off and there is nothing to go back to.
These people remain in IDP camps but with the general elections just nine days away, they want their voice heard through the ballot, in order to determine how their future is run.
The Shehu therefore pleaded with INEC to do all in its powers to ensure that the IDPs in Maiduguri are not disenfranchised. He stressed that it was no fault of theirs that they had to flee their homelands.