Nasarawa State Governor, Abdulahi Sule, yesterday, visited the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he cried out to President Muhammadu Buhari, over the havoc being caused by Boko Haram in the state.
Speaking with newsmen after a meeting with President Buhari wherein he sought his intervention, Sule said the state has witnessed security challenges recently, noting that the terrorists had been dislodged from Toto, where they initially camped, but have regrouped at the Nasarawa/Benue border from where they now launch attacks on residents.
He said some of the Boko Haram elements active in the state belong to the Darussalam group that had been dislodged from Niger State, saying that upon a joint security operation, a lot of them were killed while 900 were arrested.
The governor maintained that those arrested confirmed their membership of the Boko Haram insurgency group. He, however, expressed confidence that after his meeting with the president, a swift action would be taken to curtail the menace.
He stated further: “We thank the security forces that they have been able to dislodge them. But now, they have gone back and gathered at our border with Benue. And they are causing a lot of havoc.
“I strongly believe that just like a decision was taken last time to take care of this issue, another decision will be taken.“First and foremost, it was easy for us to know who these people are. If you remember, they used to gather at a place in Toto Local Government Area (LGA). I appealed to Mr. President. Then, the department of State Services (DSS), the Police, the Air Force and the Army had a joint operation. They were able to dislodge them. A lot of them were killed, some ran away and left members of their families.
“We took hostage of about 900 members of their families in Lafia, including children and wives. The Special Forces, which we have in Doma, Nasarawa State, took the hostages.
“A lot of interrogations were done and most of them confirmed that they were indeed Boko Haram. In fact, they gave us the name of the person who used to be like the second-in-command to Shekau. So, during the interrogation, they confirmed that they were indeed Boko Haram.
“Some of them said they were remnants of Darussalam group that were dislodged from Niger. They came, merged and became Boko Haram. That is how we got our confirmation that they were indeed Boko Haram. They said it themselves.”
On the current status of the hostages, Sule said a lot of them were families of different people in the country that were kidnapped, noting: “In most cases, when they kidnap women, they marry them off. We had a lot of kidnapped women that were married off. We released them back to their various states and families. We got people from about 17 states. A few of them were from Niger Republic. We handed over those from Niger Republic to DSS. We handed over those from states to their various governments through DSS offices in their domains.”
The governor said he also discussed the possible take-over of Jitata road, which serves as an alternative route from the state to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by the Federal Government with the President, adding that he also sought the support of the government towards tackling the new wave of Coronavirus pandemic.
“It is also to confer with Mr. President about the steps we are taking in Nasarawa State and seek additional support that will help us to approach this pandemic.
“This time around, the second wave of the pandemic is really taking lives and we are worried about it. But we are doing the best we can do to see if we can contain it by taking several steps that we relaxed in the past,” he said.
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