Don't Link Nigeria military with Boko Haram – Gov Shettima warns

Listen to article

Governor, Kashim Shettima of Borno state has sounded a serious note of

warning that linking the Nigerian Armed Forces with support for Boko

Haram is most unhealthy and unhelpful in counter insurgency operations

and dangerous to the survival of the nation.
Governor Shettima said in a message he personally signed and issued to

journalists while reacting to series of media reports which began since

last week, quoting an unknown soldier that top military leaders were

working in tandem with Boko Haram elements.
“Of all theories being alleged in connection with the Boko Haram, the most

dangerous as far as I'm concerned is to raise such grievous suspicion

around our security forces. When citizens grow such suspicion and believe

in it,I'm afraid,Boko Haram can light fire works to celebrate a grand

victory of setting up citizens against the security agencies.

” Since last week, I have listened and read these media reports with the

hope that the issue will not be getting out of hand but it appears the

matter is growing and I find it very disturbing. I do not want to bother

about the credibility or otherwise of the soldier in question. I'm sure

the security forces take this allegation seriously and they are

investigating it as they should.
Shettima who stated that his was not holding brief for the armed forces

noted that as Governor of Borno State,whose area is unfortunately the

worst hit, ” I would rather encourage confidence building between citizens

and the armed forces so that intelligence sharing can rise continually and

we don't loose focus in the counter insurgency”.
According to the governor, ” the day citizens grow the suspicion of

regarding security agencies as collaborators of insurgents whereas the

security have the constitutional mandate of protecting citizens, then we

will be drifting towards chaos as a Nation, we cannot afford that

unhealthy development.
” Unless it becomes unquestionably evident, we must work as

individuals,groups and institutions to promote public trust in our armed

forces so as to encourage cordiality between citizens and security

” We must recognize that at the moment, the security agencies are all

we've got,we should preserve their integrity by at least giving them the

benefit of doubt.
“As the one working with them in Borno since 2011,I know the number of

military men, police men and women as well as para-military men and women,

among them commanders in the military and senior police officers that

sacrificed their lives in the fight against our unfortunate insurgency

problems in Borno which also obtains in some parts of Nigeria. Insurgents

will do everything to cause confusion,to manipulate us so that we don't

trust each other as citizens and as establishments,let's not fall into

their trap,loose focus and become their mass victims.

“The military has in the past arrested, made public and court-marshalled

soldiers found to be collaborating with insurgents,such patriotic efforts

by the military establishments should be intensified by all security

agencies. I must acknowledge and very well appreciate the important roles

played by the media in the fight against insurgency. The media should

kindly and very importantly,too, help in fighting any suspicion that can

grow between citizens and armed forces.
“The armed forces rely on information from citizens,the citizens rely on

the armed forces for protection, this therefore means,that suspicion

between them will help no one but insurgents who would take advantage of

such situation at the end to wreck more havoc on already traumatized

The governor therefore advised the general public to continue to pray and

work for peace using whatever platforms at their disposals” so that we

can happily live, freely worship, associate and move around all parts of

Nigeria as we should in our fundamental rights” .