Shettima flays allegation of military ties with Boko Haram
Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday condemned the allegation of collaboration between the Boko Haram and some sections of the nation’s military, describing such allegation as unfair, reprehensible and dangerous to the survival of the nation at the current phase of counter insurgency operations.
The governor was reacting to media reports which quoted an unnamed soldier as saying that some military commanders were working with Boko Haram elements. An unknown soldier had made the allegation in an interview on VOA Hausa Service radio.
But Shettima in a statement yesterday debunked the claim, saying insurgents would do everything to cause confusion and manipulate people into distrust as citizens and establishments, saying, “let’s not fall into their trap, lose focus and become their mass victims”.
“Of all theories being linked to Boko Haram, the most dangerous as far as I’m concerned is to raise such grievous suspicion around our security forces. When citizens grow such suspicion and believe in it, I’m afraid, Boko Haram can light fireworks to celebrate a grand victory of setting up citizens against the security agencies. Since last week, I have listened to and read these media reports with the hope that the issue will not get out of hand but it appears the matter is growing and I find it very disturbing. I do not want to bother about the credibility or otherwise of the soldier in question. I’m sure the security forces take this allegation seriously and they are investigating it as they should. I am not holding brief for the armed forces but as governor of Borno State ,whose area is unfortunately the worst hit, who has been closely working with security agencies, I would rather encourage confidence building between citizens and the armed forces so that intelligence sharing can rise continually and we don’t lose focus in the counter insurgency”, he said.
The governor noted that the day citizens become suspicious of security agencies as collaborators with insurgents the nation would drift towards chaos.
“We cannot afford that unhealthy development. Unless it becomes unquestionably evident, we must work as individuals, groups and institutions to promote public trust in our armed forces to encourage cordiality between citizens and security agencies. We must recognize that at the moment, the security agencies are all we’ve got, we should preserve their integrity by at least giving them the benefit of doubt”, he added.