As the Boko Haram sect gradually turns the hitherto peaceful state of Borno to a slaughters house, two eminent Nigerians yesterday proffered solutions to the menace of the group.
The Shehu of Bornu, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai Almin El- Kanemi, called for prayers as a solution to the problem, while a Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to swing into action and nip the menace of the group in the bud.
The Shehu of Borno and an elder statesman Alhaji Ali Monguno, urged the people to return to God for peace to return to the state and Nigeria at large.
The Shehu of Borno made the appeal at his palace after the announcement of the banning of the usage of motorcycles in the state.
He called on the state government to make the Borno Express buses available in order to alleviate the sufferings of commuters, adding that the Keke NAPEP (tricycle) should also be made available to the youths to reduce the rate of unemployment.
He said people should pray for the restoration of peace, as Borno was known to be “Home of Peace”, adding that only prayers can solve the problem.
Also in his separate contributions, an elder statesman Alhaji Ali Monguno during an interactive session with journalist at his Maiduguri residence said the government has wherewithal for providing peace, so something must urgently be done to restore peace to Borno State.
The elder statesman stated that even during the civil war Borno State has never undergone such a terrible situation, where people are now selling their properties and relocating to other areas.
In his own contribution, Soyinka urged Jonathan to urgently find a lasting solution to the security challenge posed by the Boko Haram sect. Soyinka who noted that the Boko Haram issue though a security and social problem should not be taken with levity, added that Jonathan should swing into action and find a lasting solution to the menace.
According to Soyinka, “there is a tendency to downplay one side for the other but we cannot neglect the two. However, the pre-eminence is security and the security arm must wake up to their responsibility and reduce drastically or eliminate this threat to all of us.”
Soyinka who spoke in Lagos at the laying of wreath ceremony to mark the 13th posthumous Birthday celebration of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, said that those that truncated Abiola’s mandate were now in the corridor of power in the country.
Soyinka identified former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the current Senate president David Mark as part of those that conspire to kill the mandate given by Nigerians to late Chief Abiola during the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has announced a total ban on motorcycle usage in Maiduguri Metropolis. He said the ban would be enforced in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere local government areas as from yesterday.
Shettima in a state broadcast at the Government House Maiduguri said that the ban became necessary, as the killing of security agents, politicians, traditional rulers and other innocent citizens continued unabated.
He said the government was not unmindful of the hardship that the ban might cause the good people of the state, adding that the temporary hardship was necessary to restore peace.
The governor further stated that to cushion the effect of the ban the government has procured 5,000 tri-cycles and 100 buses to be distributed within the twin local government areas.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force (JTF) in a press release which was made available to our correspondent said it observed with dismay the unacceptable behaviour of some residents in Maiduguri who willingly allowed their surroundings or frontages of their houses to be used for nefarious activities.
The JTF strongly warned that henceforth it would take appropriate actions to protect the general public from the wrongful use of such premises, adding that owners of makeshift kiosks who allow them to be used by their collaborators will be dealt with.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday, called on President Jonathan to forget dialogue with Boko Haram asking him to seek more information on the activities of the sect in addressing the problem of constant violence being perpetrated by the group.
Obasanjo, who spoke in an interview with journalists at his Hill top residence in Abeokuta, shortly after beingawarded the Grand Peace Legend laurel by the African Peace Foundation, said he was never against granting of amnesty to the Boko Haram sect, but believed the gesture must be done at an appropriate time and on an appropriate issue.
He said if amnesty must be granted, the people must be identified, the offence committed must be brought out and the necessity of the granting of the amnesty must be ascertained.
The former President said: “I believe a group of people acting strangely when they are not insane must have their reasons. I believe these people are not insane and so there must be reasons for their actions. Even though you may not necessarily agree with their reasons but we must try and find out why they are doing what they are doing, those behind them both internally and externally.
“We must not take this for granted as the lives of majority of Nigerians are on the risk. We need information to tackle the Boko Haram issue. There is so much to know and so much to find about them. If there is the need to deal with them through the stick and carrots approach, we must be able to know what should be the “stick” and what should be the “carrots.”
He stated that the nation requires adequate information on the activities of the Boko Haram sects, the motive behind their actions, and their sponsors before the problem could be effectively tackled.