Boko Haram Are Bunch Of Dissidents, Not Religious, Ethnic Sect, Says Shettima


SAN FRANCISCO, February 19, (THEWILL) - Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State Wednesday dismissed the insinuation that the Boko Haram sect is a religious or ethnic group, saying the terrorists are a bunch of dissidents.

"Boko Haram is not a religious and ethnic sect but dissidents that attack all.

It should be corrected that they are not out to attack Christians alone but they have been attacking all in equal measure," the governor said .

He made the declaration when he visited the displaced residents of Izge, currently taking refuge in the open field and on trees in Sabon-Gari and Gulak in Madagali Local Government of Adamawa State.

On arrival at the towns, Shettima and his entourage were greeted with tears and stories of woes by the displaced residents who now take refuge under trees and in the open field following the destruction of their homes in last week's Boko Haram attack that also killed over 100 persons.

Declaring Boko Haram members as a set of miscreants deficient in ideology and known belief, the governor said: "Nigerians should not be under the illusion that the Boko Haram sect is fighting a religious or ethnic war against the country as their actions have continually shown they are no respecter of anyone.

" He also debunked some international media report that the attack on  Izge was targeted at Christians, saying  the sect killed at will  without any line of demarcation.

Shettima said many Muslims were killed in Izge, which is predominantly a Muslim settlement, insisting that the sect have been killing Muslims and well as Christians, burning churches as well as mosques, slaughtering Kanuris as well as other ethnic groups.

Shettima, who once compensated a church burnt down in Gwoza by Boko Haram  with N3.

2 million, said as a leader, he has been given the mandate to be fair to all and has never discriminated against anyone based on religion or ethnic line.

He said as the Borno governor,  he  had "to give assistance to Muslims and Christians alike, Kanuris as well as non-Kanuris, indigenes of the state as well as non-indigenes who have been victims of Boko Haram attacks.

" Maintaining that "No single church will be paid less than N1 million among the 20 churches burnt in Gwoza Local Government Area of the state," the governor said the 10 mosques also burnt in the area by the terrorists would also be compensated.

On hearing that over 300 persons were killed in the area recently, the governor said: "We will not set out to discriminate against any ethnic group, religious group or body.

One of the churches that was burnt was just given N3.

2 million assistance.
" In company with the governor during the visit were other state officials, including   the Senator representing Southern Borno, Mohammed Ali Ndume.

They were filled with emotions as  the   people of  Izge who had to journey over 20 kilometres to Sabon-Gari and Gulak both in Madagali Local Government of Adamawa State for refuge wept openly at the arrival of the governor.

Apparently moved by the agony of the people, Shettima  ordered that N2 million should be released to them for food items and toiletries.

He also gave out  N200 million to the victims of various Boko Haram attacks in Gwoza Local Government Area, promising that the government is with them especially in their period of agony.

"We are not here to pay for the lost of lives and properties consumed by the Boko Haram onslaught as no amount of cash would either repay for the souls lost or valuables destroyed by the insurgents as well as horrifying trauma you suffered.

Rather we are here to sympathise with you and see how best to overcome your sufferings," he told the people.

Shettima urged them to take heart, saying government has  some mechanisms to protect them from further attacks.

He therefore constituted a committee to take care of the feeding, provision of clothing materials, among other basic needs, to the people.

In his remarks at the occasion,  Senator Ndume assured the displaced people that Governor Shettima is  committed to ensuring that more troops are deployed to their area to enable them return home.

He informed them that Shettima had met  with President Goodluck Jonathan to map out modalities for their safety.