Presidential C'ttee: FG Can't Provide 'Adequate Compensation' To Boko Haram Victims


SAN FRANCISCO, June 24, (THEWILL) – Victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in the country looking for proper and adequate compensation from the Federal Government may do well by simply forgetting it.

This is as the Chairman, Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, otherwise known as Boko Haram committee, Alhaji Kabiru Taminu Turaki, declared on Monday that the Federal Government cannot in any way adequately compensate all the victims.

Turaki, who is also the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, made the declaration in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, when he led members of the committee to the State.

The Minister urged the State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, and other stakeholders in the State to assist his committee with information that will assist it in its task.

While welcoming the committee to the State, Governor Shettima attributed the Boko Haram insurgency to what he described as poverty induced by poor leadership, saying insensitivity of politicians who seem pre-occupied with struggle for power rather than delivery of service to their subjects should be blamed.

He however faulted the Boko Haram sect for trying to impose its will on others.

"We have to improve on the quality of governance because leadership is a covenant between us and our people. We must ensure that we attend to the fundamental needs of our people.

"Life is all about economic development. Political dexterity does not earn you a place of reckoning in the comity of nations but the strength of your economy determine the respect you get.

"I read an interesting article that in ten years’ time, the United States will be independent of foreign oil because of the alternative energy sources at its disposal. In five years time, 14 African countries will become oil producers and by the current rate of our population growth, in 10 years’ time, Nigeria's population will be 250 million but nobody is thinking, nobody is giving us an idea on how to attend to the needs of these people and it is envisaged that the price of oil will plummet to $35 per barrel. Even now, at $100 per barrel, we are finding it difficult to meet our needs," the Borno State governor said.

Challenging leaders in the country to commit themselves to service and the improvement in the lives of their people, Shettima said they should not be interested in winning elections only.

"The issue in Nigeria is always about the last election and the next election and nobody cares about what happens in between which is agitating the minds of all Nigerians.

“ Here, we are busy struggling for superiority, we talk about who becomes the NGF (Nigerian Governors Forum) chairman and automatic ticket for candidates when other leaders elsewhere are busy addressing the problems of their people.

"The poor Nigerian does not care about where the president comes from, Nigerians are interested in the quality of governance and in seeing improvement in the life indices,” he said.

The governor described the formation of the committee as timely, saying the destiny of Borno, which is the infamous birthplace of the Boko Haram lies in the hands of the members of the committee whom, he said, have personal integrity and credentials.

"The destiny of Borno and Nigeria as a whole lies in your hands. Our problem is insecurity. Nothing weakens my spirit than the wanton killing of people because of their religious or tribal affiliation. I was born Borno and brought up in Maiduguri but when you move on the streets, you see houses and shops locked up because the owners have deserted them just because some of our kinsmen have chosen an obnoxious and a satanic way of life and are desperate about imposing their beliefs on others.

"It beats my imagination on what justification someone has to take a sharp knife and slaughter a fellow human being because of differences of opinion and Islam is very clear that there is no compulsion in religion.

"Underneath the mayhem of Boko Haram, beneath the nihilism and the madness lies the underlying cause which is extreme poverty that has permeated all spectrum of our society. A hungry man is an angry man. It is our duty as a people and as a nation to find solution to the problems confronting us.

"Borno is the largest state in the Nigerian federation. We are 20 times the size of Lagos; we are 14 times the size of Abia; we are three times the size of the south-eastern sub-region of the country squeezed into one. So actually, a Borno man has no business being poor because land is the precious of all resources and this is something that we have in abundance.

"Here in Borno, we have seen the challenges of the moment and we are poised to reposition the state. We are seizing the opportunities that come with this crisis to re-engineer Borno. We are investing our resources in agriculture, education and healthcare delivery. We have serious infrastructure deficit because even the World Bank categorises this part of the world, the north-east region of Nigeria, the Darfur region of the Sudan, the Repubilc of Chad and northern Cameroon as one of the poorest regions on earth. We have to change our destiny and address the problems confronting us," Shettima said.

In his remarks, the Shehu of Borno , Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai El-Kanemi , said Borno State had been marginalised in terms of appointments, lamenting that most federal establishments in the state are headed by outsiders.

The monarch lamented that the state is not adequately represented in political appointments as it has just one minister, saying the Federal Government has not been fair to the state even in appointment for permanent secretary.

Sympathising with the people of the state, chairman of the committee, Turaki, who noted that the loss to the Boko Haram crisis was colossal, said nobody can adequately compensate the victims. "We cannot pay enough amount of money for the loss of lives and properties," he said.

He said the role of the committee includes that of disarmament of the insurgents and working out amnesty for them.

Turaki said President Goodluck Jonathan has suggested that the victims should be supported and assisted to make impact with whatever is left of their lives.

"The impression we have here in Borno is that there is a governor who is on top of the situation and upon our entry into Maiduguri, we have seen life gradually coming back to normalcy. The information at our disposal lends to the fact that there is paradigm change in Maiduguri today from lack of interest by the people to taking more than a personal interest in what happens around them.

"We have seen a people that are now willing to take their destiny in their hands. We have seen a people that are becoming more and more security conscious by giving support to security agencies. The total sum of all these things that are happening is that yes, things are changing. Yes, the peace option is also working and the declaration of state of emergency declared by Mr. President is working by making the surroundings more secured.

"We have gone far and we are reaching out. And let me say that this is a collective responsibility and that is why we would not stop calling on members of the society to help us because we all have a stake in securing Nigeria. When there is problem in Borno, it is not the problem of the people here only, it is the problem of the whole country. This committee is succeeding because of the support we are getting," he said.