By Musa ALI, Biu
Elders from the Southern part of Borno State, under the aegis of the Lardin Gabas Elders Forum have cried fowl over discriminatory tendencies in the rehabilitation of areas affected by Boko Haram, even as they accuse the Borno State Government of deliberately neglecting their areas for political reasons. Rising from an emergency meeting in Abuja over the weekend, the elders condemned what they described as selective rehabilitation and rebuilding of communities by the Borno state Government and the Presidential Committee on the rehabilitation of the North East, headed by General T Y Danjuma. According to them, most communities in southern Borno, some of which were damaged more than others from the central and northern Borno have never benefitted from any form of relief material nay has any effort ever been made to rebuild the communities affected in the southern part. A communiqué at the end of the meeting stated that, in Hawul Local Government Area alone, most communities perceived as being non Muslims have been completely sacked, and their buildings and churches destroyed, yet no mention was ever made of such communities, to enable them benefit from any form of support.
Signed by 44 elders in attendance, the communiqué described as uncharitable attempts by the Borno state government and other top officials to suppress the agitations of the people of southern Borno for equitable treatment in the rehabilitation efforts going on in communities affected by Boko Haram and for IDPs in the south to benefit from relief materials being given out. They argued that, all communities from Shaffa down to Tashan Alade, Kwajaffa, Ghung, to the borders with Adamawa, communities have either been destroyed or citizens displaced, but when victims of the insurgency are discussed, the southern part is never mentioned deliberately, so as to suppress their problems and deny them benefits from donors and even government rehabilitation programmes. In Askira/Uba, most communities had to take refuge in Biu and other cities, when they were sacked by Boko Haram, and to date, the Borno state government pretends if only the Central and northern parts of the state suffered from Boko Haram attacks. “We are constrained to speak out having seen that, while our people suffered most as the prime targets of Boko Haram attacks, and our communities ravaged, our churches burnt and our citizens displaced, nobody seems to want to pay attention to our plights for sheer political reasons”.