Bama: Shettima ‘cuts short’ trips to Sudan, UK
Following attacks on Bama by Boko Haram, the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, on Wednesday cut short his trips to Sudan and the United Kingdom.
The governor said he decided to return home to provide leadership at the trying moment for the people of the state.
He also said security sources hinted on Wednesday that the military had reclaimed Bama.
The governor made the disclosures in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Communication, Mallam Isa Gusau.
The statement said: “Following Monday’s renewed attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in some parts of Borno State, Governor, Kashim Shettima has abruptly returned to Nigeria on Wednesday, cutting short his official trip to Sudan and the United Kingdom where he has scheduled assessment meetings with school authorities and over 70 students recently sponsored by the state government for medicine and Petroleum Geo-Sciences.
“Shettima returned and held crucial meetings in Abuja in connection with happenings in Bama and rest of the state. He had also approved the formation and release of funds to a committee set up to coordinate distribution of relief materials and management of victims.
“The governor was scheduled to leave for Maiduguri on Wednesday despite heightened fears about planned attacks on the ancient city of Maiduguri by the Boko Haram insurgents who had never hidden their desperation to hit the capital in retaliation for their forceful eviction by soldiers and citizen-volunteers in 2013.
“The military has imposed a curfew in Maiduguri in response to the planned attack. Shettima returned mainly to provide needed leadership, be with his people, build public confidence, coordinate relief for victims, step up co-funding and psychological support for military.
“The governor who had left Nigeria on Sunday night and was scheduled to meet officials at a University in Sudan where 50 female citizens of the state are currently undergoing State sponsored Degree program to become medical doctors under the State Female Medical Education/Intervention Programme designed to train abroad, 300 female doctors in five years.
“Shettima was also to be in United Kingdom to meet 20 students undergoing Petroleum Geo-Sciences in addition to signing agreements for other human capacity development programs and a follow up meeting with a water systems company required for domestic use and irrigation agriculture in Borno aimed at boosting jobs creation as a strategy to discourage economic based recruitment by Boko Haram insurgents.”
Meanwhile, the governor said troops have reclaimed Bama.
The statement added: “The Boko Haram insurgents had attacked several areas with the most recent being an attempted seizure of Bama town, one of the most populated areas in the State, located about 70 kilometers away from Maiduguri, the state capital.
“Thousands of residents have thronged Maiduguri from Bama following the attacks. There was initial report that the insurgents had captured the army base and was in control of Bama, headquarters of the commercial council.”