President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the people of Borno State to cooperate with the military and other security agencies to facilitate successful implementation of the counter-insurgency campaign.
The President made the call when he paid a condolence visit to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi, on Wednesday in Maiduguri.
The president is in the North-East state to sympathise with the government and people of the state over the Boko Haram insurgents’ attack which claimed many lives at Auno in Konduga Local Government Area.
The insurgents had, on Sunday, attacked Auno community, killing dozens of stranded passengers, destroyed houses, vehicles and properties worth millions of Naira.
Buhari noted that the fight against insurgency could not be executed without good intelligence and support of the people.
“Boko Haram, or whatever they are, cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing; traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.
“With my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up to this end.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I campaigned in 2015 and last year on three fundamental issues which include security – you cannot preside over an institution or a country if it is not secured.
“This is just common sense, everybody knows this, even those that have not gone to school know this.
“On the issue of economy, the Nigerian youths are over 60 per cent of our population with many of them below 30-years. We have to remind them that they must help us to stabilise the country so that they can have a better future.
“If they do not cooperate with government; they are endangering their future; I am already 77 now, how many years do I expect under a normal circumstances?”
Buhari reiterated his commitment to work with the security agencies to enhance security, protect lives and property in the country.
“We are working for you in this country; as Commander-in-Chief, I am dealing with the security institutions and I believe there is improvement in security.
“I urge the people of the state to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies; let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens and encourage displaced people to go back to their land,” he said.
The President noted that his visit to the state was to sympathise and show his respect to the governor and the people of the state.
Speaking on the economy of the nation, Buhari said that government had saved millions of dollars through agriculture which enhances livelihood of farmers and food security, and also improved the social and economic state of the people.
Buhari said that the Federal Government had adopted proactive measures to check smuggling through the land borders in the country.
According to him, government has created an enabling environment for educated Nigerians to venture into legitimate and sustainable agriculture to enable them become self-reliant and employers of labour.
The President, however, commended Governor Babagana Zulum for providing quality leadership in the state.
Also speaking, Zulum called on the military to take the fight to the insurgents in the fringes of the Sambisa Forest, Lake Chad Basin and other identified hideouts of the terrorists.
Zulum urged the military authorities to foster greater unity between them and the civil authorities with a view to closing the existing discrepancies in their relations.
“We also call on the Federal Government and the military to open opportunities for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), in host communities to have access to their farmlands, livestock and fishing areas so as to upgrade their livelihood.
“I equally implore all the citizens of Borno to be patient, law abiding and not to forget the past.
“This is very important; I call on all of you to pray, may Allah bless our leaders, bless our state and Nigeria as a whole,” Zulum said.
On his part, Elkanemi commended the president on the sympathy visit and pledged support of the traditional institutions to end insurgency.
The president was accompanied by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, Mrs Sardiya Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, among other officials.