By Sani Tukur
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State spent the night in Monguno town where the Nigerian military battled Boko Haram insurgents, a spokesperson said on Sunday.
The Nigerian military successfully repelled an attack on the town by Boko Haram in an overnight raid.
Monguno town is the headquarters of Monguno local government area, located in northern Borno and it is 60 kilometers away from Baga in Kukawa local government area also within northern Borno.
The area is where the military have been battling a resurgent Boko Haram since last week.
Mr Shttima, who visited the town Friday decided to stay the night in order to raise the confidence of the 57,000 residents, displaced persons from three local government areas, civil authorities, Civilian JTF fighters, police and the military, his spokesperson, Isa Gusau said.
Mr Gusau in an email to PREMIUM TIMES said Mr Shettima was in Monguno from Friday to Saturday afternoon.
“He spent the night at the local government lodge,” he said.
He also said the governor traveled to the restive area after ‘resisting frantic efforts’ by aides and political associates to discourage him from visiting Monguno.
“He traveled in company of his security aides, some soldiers, policemen and men of the civilian JTF,” he said.
Mr Gusau said Mr Shettima was accompanied by the Senator representing Borno North, and Chairman, Senate committee on Defence, Abubakar Kyari and APC’s governorship candidate, Babagana Zulum, a member of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Monguno, amongst others.
He said Mr Shettima, in defying “more than 24 hours of persuasion to stop his trip”, reminded aides and political associates that Monguno town hosts about 57,000 fellow Borno citizens amongst them residents of other towns fleeing from attacks.
“I will be failing as a leader if fear of any kind stops me from going to Monguno where we currently have 57,000 fellow people of Borno, amongst them women and children.
“We must go there to show them a sense of belonging, to inspire them and build their confidence. Importantly also, the military needs us more than ever. They should see us, the leaders and feel our presence. There is no going back in my plan to travel and pass the night in Monguno.
“The same way we went to Gwoza and Chibok at different times and at the worst stage of the insurgency, for the funeral of the assassinated Emir of Gwoza and to meet parents after the Chibok abduction, is the same way we will go to Monguno. God will protect us,” Mr Shettima reportedly told aides.
During his stay in Monguno, Governor Shettima reportedly supervised the distribution of multiple trailer loads of food and non-food items to residents and displaced persons from Marte and Abadam local government areas living within host communities in Monguno.
The governor also visited camps and supervised another distribution of food and non-food items to fleeing residents from Baga and Kross Kawwa, both in neighboring Kukawa local government area.
The governor also commiserated with the people of Baga, Kukawa towns, and environs over the recent Boko Haram attacks in the areas, assuring them of government’s determination to address the challenge.
“Governor Shettima sympathised with the victims, and took his time to address them at their various camps.
“The governor while presenting relief materials to the people affected, assured them of more support from the Government to alleviate their suffering, and doing everything possible to address the problem.
“The governor visited the military at King Nasara Barracks also in Monguno, held meetings with military commanders which wasn’t open to journalists and interacted with soldiers to inspire their morale. He thanked the military for the patriotic efforts and sacrifices and said the people of Borno will forever be grateful to them,” Mr Gusau said.
He also said Mr Shettima, while returning to Maiduguri stopped at Gajiram, the headquarters of Nganzai Local Government to inspect a Mega Primary Schools, Housing Estate, and a General Hospital, all being constructed by his administration.
“He then proceeded to Gajiganna town in Magumeri Local Government to also inspect another Mega primary school nearly completed.
“The Governor finally departed for Maiduguri, making stops at the Military, and Civilian JTF checkpoints to support and inspire them,” Mr Gusau added.