BARELY few hours after Boko Haram attacked a village in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, leaving 15 people dead, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday, visited the state.
During the visit, the Acting President assured the people of the state and the entire North-East that the Federal Government will be supplying food to them now on quarterly basis.
This means that regardless of the financial fatigue being faced by their respective state governments in taking care of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the Federal Government will help each family at least four times in a year.
Not only will they be supplied free food, they will not be subjected to standing in long queues again, but will now be issued vouchers and the foodstuffs will be delivered directly at their doorsteps.
By this method, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which had been accused of all manner of sharp practices in feeding them, will now be able to account for every grain of cereals supplied to the people.
The Acting President commended the true resilient spirit of the IDPS whom he said had survived all manner of weather in the camp, adding that the Federal Government will take care of their health, education and all other basic needs they are entitled to for as long as they cannot go back to their homes as free Nigerians.
Osinbajo, however, assured that as soon as the council areas and villages are safe, they will be given financial backups to go back to self-sufficiency that will enable them earn a living and take care of their families.
He commended the Nigerian troops for all they are doing, adding that they and their foreign counterparts were highly appreciated for their resilience and ability to keep the peace.
Earlier, the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, had commended the Acting President for defying all odds to come to Maiduguri at a time when insurgents wanted the world to know that Maiduguri is not safe.
“I want to start by saluting your courage and unquestionable patriotism. Frankly speaking, after Boko Haram made another violent but failed attempt on a community in Maiduguri last night, I concluded in my mind that we were likely to receive a signal from the Villa putting this event on hold or sending a minister to represent the Acting President.
“This was the practice we were conditioned to judging from our first term in office. In May, 2014, we had a time our entire security architecture was put in place for a presidential visit to Chibok. Everything was in place; even parents of the Chibok schoolgirls were on standby.
“But that historic and golden opportunity to show leadership was cancelled at the last hour based on some imaginary considerations. I reminded some persons at the Villa that within days after the unfortunate abduction, my wife had driven to Chibok from Maiduguri alone and I had gone a day after her visit.”
Earlier before the visit, the University of Maiduguri Teaching (UMTH) had said the death toll of Wednesday’s multiple attacks in Maiduguri had risen to 15 following the death of two more victims.
The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of the university, Mr Bashir Tahir, told newsmen in Maiduguri on Thursday.
Tahir said that 30 people were brought to the hospital, while a victim who had internal injury died.
Earlier, the Commissioner of Police (CP) in the state, Mr Damian Chukwu, had told newsmen that 13 people died, while 18 others were injured.
Chukwu disclosed in Maiduguri, at a news conference on the attack, that “suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked Alidawari Village near Jiddari Polo area in Maiduguri on Wednesday.
“The suspected terrorists entered the village through Molai General Area, an outskirt of Maiduguri.
“They were sporadically firing anti-aircraft guns into and across Jiddari Polo near the Federal High Court.”
Chukwu said the attackers set ablaze some houses in the village.
“They set fire on some houses and makeshift tents in the neighbourhood.
“However, the police, comprising the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and others were swiftly deployed to the scene to engage the attackers.’’
Chukwu said that the military mobilised and repelled the attack.
He added that “the military massively mobilised and repelled the attack in a gun duel that lasted for about an hour.
“The command invited the fire service who promptly put off the fire on the burning houses.”
The commissioner said some residents who fled their homes during the gun duel later returned in less than two hours after the attack.
He explained that one suspected Boko Haram terrorist was captured and was now in custody of the Nigerian Army, while three others, including a suicide bomber, were killed in action by the military.
He said: “Unexploded vest on the dead suicide bomber was recovered and rendered safe by the police team.’’
According to the commissioner, three AK 47 rifles, some bombs and hand grenades were recovered from the insurgents.
The police boss said a civilian yet to be identified was killed in the stampede, while a soldier was reported wounded in action.
Chukwu also said that normalcy had returned and residents were going about their normal activities.
He confirmed multiple suicide bomb attacks during the period, adding, “there were multiple suicide bomb attacks by suspected terrorists.
“Three male suicide bombers detonated explosives on their bodies,” Chukwu said.
According to him, the first explosion occurred in a Mosque at Goni Kachallari village in Jere Local Government Area at the outskirt of Maiduguri, when Muslims were coming out of the sosque.
“The suicide bomber and six others died, while 18 persons were injured.
“The second suicide bomber detonated within the premises of Chad Basin Development Authority (CBDA) at about 21.20 hours same day, killing three others.
“The third suicide bomber detonated across the road outside the CBDA killing himself and one other person.
“Police EOD team was promptly dispatched to the scene to sanitise and render the area safe,’’ he said.
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