By John Ikani
Governor of Borno State, Babagana Umara Zulum alongside prominent leaders, have expressed concerns over the massive surrender of Boko Haram fighters and their families.
The Governor made known his concerns during the weekend while addressing military officers and community leaders in Bama and Gwoza on the emerging situation.
Zulum travelled to Gwoza and Bama local government areas for humanitarian and developmental activities before addressing military commanders at brigades in Gwoza and Bama, and community leaders at the palaces of the Emir of Gwoza and Shehu of Bama.
According to him, the people of Borno state have to critically look between two extreme conditions and decide their future.
“We have to choose between an endless war or to cautiously accept the surrendered terrorists which is really painful and difficult for anyone that has lost loved ones, difficult for all of us and even for the military whose colleagues have died and for volunteers,” he said.
Also reacting to the massive surrendering of the Boko Haram terrorists, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, said their surrender to the military was a welcome development to both the state government and victims of terrorism.
He however noted that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for citizens and victims of the terrorists to accept the reintegration of the repentant insurgents into the destroyed communities.
While recalling that Boko Haram flattened Bama town and its College of Education in September 2014, El-Kanemi added that the fears of the people over the 12-year insurgency still remain and would continue, especially in communities where the surrendered terrorists would be reintegrated.
He lamented that 13 district heads and many ward heads were also killed in the insurgency in his emirate, comprising 16 local government areas of the state.
When asked if the people will forgive the repentant terrorists, the royal father said it is easy to forgive for the destruction of many lives and property, but difficult to forget the wanton loss of lives in the various communities of his chiefdom.
On his part, an elder statesman, Alhaji Ahmed Ashemi stressed that crimes committed by the repentant terrorists are so heinous that bringing them to their original place of abode where they perpetrated the crime, would be counterproductive.
He noted that if the terrorists that killed people’s fathers, mothers and even raped their sisters in their very eyes could comeback into the society now and start to mingle, it might create another social problem.