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