*Says sect does not target only Christians
Boko Haram is not a religious and ethnic sect but dissidents that attack all. It should be corrected that they are not out to attack Christians alone but they have been attacking all in equal measure, Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has said.”
Shettima said as against the report in some international media that the attack on Izge was targeted at Christians, the sect killed at will and without line of demarcation.
He said many Muslims were killed in Izge, which is predominantly a Muslim settlement, insisting that the sect have been killing Muslims as well as Christians, burning churches as well as mosques, slaughtering Kanuris as well as other ethnic groups.
The governor who, had had to compensate a church burnt down in Gwoza by the insurgents with N3.2 million, said he, as a leader, has been given the mandate to be fair to all and has never discriminated against anyone based on religion or ethnic line.
He said since he became governor of the state, he has had “to give assistance to Muslims and Christians alike, Kanuris as well as non-Kanuris, indigenes of the state as well as non-indigenes who have been victims of Boko Haram attacks.”
The governor who promised that: “No single church will be paid less than N1 million among the 20 churches burnt in Gwoza Local Government Area of the state,” said 10 mosques were also burnt in the area by the insurgents and they will all be compensated.
The governor, who was told that over 300 persons were killed in Gwoza Local Government Area in recent time, said: “We will not set out to discriminate against any ethnic group, religious group or body. One of the churches that were burnt was just given N3.2 million assistance.”
The governor and his entourage, which included the Senator representing Southern Borno, Mohammed Ali Ndume could not but be moved by the weeping of the people of Izge who have had to journey over 20 kilometres to Sabon-Gari and Gulak both in Madagali local government of Adamawa state for refuge.
The people, who have not come to term with what hit them, recounted their ordeal to the governor in sob and shock as all the governor could do is appeal to them and pray that God will give them the fortitude to bear the lost.
He also ordered that N2 million should immediately be made available to provide for them needed food items and toiletries as the people were on Tuesday during the governor’s visit left in the open on the streets of Gulak and Sabon-Gari.
The governor also ordered the release of N200 million to assist the victims of various Boko Haram attacks in Gwoza Local Government Area, promising that the government was with them especially in this their period of mourning.
He said: “We are not here to pay for the loss of lives and properties consumed by the Boko Haram onslaught as no amount of cash would either repay for the souls lost or valuables destroyed by the insurgents as well as horrifying trauma you suffered, rather we are here to sympathize with you and see how best to overcome your sufferings.”
At the local government secretariat, Madagali, where some of the fleeing residents of Izge sought refuge, Shettima implored the survivors to take heart, saying government has unveiled effective mechanisms to protect their lives and properties against further recurrence of the unfortunate incident.
Also speaking, Senator Ndume told the victims that Governor Shettima was committed to ensuring that more troops are deployed to their area to enable them return home.
He said the governor has met with President Goodluck Jonathan and deliberated on how best to guarantee their safety.