Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, says Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has the love of his people at heart and will continue to identify with the people of the state despite threats to his life.
Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said Zulum was “very frank” on the insecurity situation bedevilling his state at a recent meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The NGF chairman made this known in Maiduguri on Wednesday when he, alongside three other governors, paid an “empathy and solidarity visit” to the Borno State governor over recent Boko Haram attacks on his convoy.
We had earlier reported that Zulum’s convoy was attacked on Friday and on Sunday by suspected Boko Haram terrorists. The attacks made it the third time in about three months that the governor’s convoy has been attacked leaving scores of security operatives dead.
The governor had left Maiduguri for Baga to prepare for the planned return of internally displaced persons from Maiduguri to the camps in Baga when his convoy was attacked to-and-from the area last weekend.
“This is not the first time you (Zulum) have been attacked, but you always said to me and to a lot of our colleagues that it is God that will protect. Even when we say to you, Prof, you have to be careful, you have to be vigilant, you have to protect yourself, you always reply by saying, what about the people? It is my duty, the primary responsibility I have as Governor is the security and welfare of our people and that is what you have been discharging,” Fayemi was quoted as saying in a statement released by Zulum’s office on Wednesday.
The statement was titled, ‘Fayemi: When Governors engage Zulum on safety, he replies “what about my people?”’
It noted that Fayemi was accompanied by Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State; as well as Simon Lalong of Plateau State.
Continuing, Fayemi was quoted as saying, “Not long ago, you (Zulum) and I (Fayemi) had a meeting with Mr. President on these issues. You (Zulum) were very frank with Mr President about what is going on here, the difficulty that the military is experiencing, and the challenges that our people have in returning back to their communities. Your determination to ensure that the local population is returned so that they can go back to their farmlands, so that they can return to their normal lives.
“In spite of all your efforts, in spite of the work you continue to do, it is obvious that we still have a lot to do as a country. As your brothers, we shall not relent in also expressing to the authorities, the importance of nipping this in the bud so that calm and peace return to Borno and this can serve as a vehicle for peace and development in the rest of our country.”
Responding, Zulum thanked the delegation. He also stressed that Borno was facing serious humanitarian issues, noting that it was important for displaced persons to relocate to their homes and continue their lives.