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ISWAP, Boko Haram insurgents surrender en masse; 30,000 recorded- Zulum



ISWAP not controlling parts of Borno State - Governor Zulum
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state has said that over 30,000 members of terrorist groups, Boko Haram and Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP), has surrendered since September 2021.

The governor revealed these to State House Correspondents on Thursday, shortly after a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the State House.

He said, “The ongoing, massive defection of Boko Haram members, this time around, has also started with a defection of ISWAP members. This is a welcome development.

“As of now we, have received nothing less than 30,000 from beginning to date for both Boko Haram and ISWAP. ISWAP, we have started receiving them in few numbers, but Boko Haram, we have started receiving them in huge numbers.

“The way we are going, with the support of the federal government with good management, Boko Haram will be over very soon”.

“The most important thing is that the federal government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Buhari, the Borno State Government, the military, we’re all working in close collaboration to ensure that those that are willing to surrender are given the opportunity to surrender.

On the reasons for the mass surrender, the Governor said the terrorists are surrendering on their own accord.

“We don’t give any promissory notes to defectors, honestly speaking. As I’ve been saying before, the kinetic measures alone will never end the insurgency. The social and political dimension of this crisis is very important. So we have decided to engage them through dialogue and mediation, to ensure that many of them lay their arms.

“But you also have to understand one essential thing; there is a difference between those that have been captured and those that have surrendered. People should understand these two un-identical situations. Go back and Google and see the international conventions, rules and regulations. There is a difference between those that have been captured and those that have willingly surrendered,” Zulum explained.

Asked if the insurgency in the Northeast will end before the end of his first tenure in 2023, the Governor said, “Insha Allah. Even now, in Borno State, we’re doing extremely well. You know what I mean by Insha Allah, God willing, it will end before 2023.”

On the purpose of his visit to the President, Zulum said, “In a closed-door session with Mr President, we discussed a lot of issues and how the government of Borno State, as well as the federal government, will manage the ongoing surrender by the insurgents.

“So far, so good, the objective has started yielding positive results. Apart from this also, in Borno State, for example, as I told you last time, we had problems on the shores of Lake Chad as well as in southern Borno.

“I’m pleased to inform you that there was a very heavy military deployment into southern Borno. And I hope such a deployment will also take place in northern Borno to clear the ISWAP insurgents in the Lake Chad. So, this has also yielded positive results.

“And then on the relocation of the two local Government Area that last time, I said are not occupied by human beings, we are also doing very well with the military to see how we can return the population. The military has also given us the go-ahead. So, we’re working with them to see how we can return them. Things are getting better in Borno State, and this is the major reason why I came to see Mr President”.

Quizzed on the kind of assistance he currently needs from the Federal Government, the governor said the recently inaugurated Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns, and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the Northeast is working to ensure that normalcy returns to the region.

“The mandate of this committee, among others, also includes the management of repentant terrorists. I think this committee is strong enough to give the desired support to the programme,” he explained.

On managing the soaring numbers of out-of-school children in the Northeast, the Governor argued that beyond building classrooms, his administration is also recruiting teachers to boost education in the resettling communities.

Zulum said, “You have seen the massive number of schools that we’ve built in Borno state. This morning, the Yobe state government has launched education fundraising. And then the Borno State Government has been recruiting many teachers because what matters is not only the construction of classrooms. So the government at the sub-regional level is working to tackle the issues of lack of education among others”.

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