Dear fellow citizens, I address you today with heavy heart and grief. I join you in mourning your families, friends and other loved ones who may have lost their lives to the security challenges that we face in Borno State; I commiserate with you for the injuries, you or your loved ones may have suffered and for the properties you may have lost as we are confronted with a nightmare that has haunted us for far too long.
I am usually thrown into emotional torture any time a life is lost in Borno especially by man-made brutality because as your Governor, I am under obligation, constitutional and moral, to ensure your safety. As your leader, I consider myself a father to all orphans, a brother and friend to everyone of you, a son to every parent and a member of every family in Borno State regardless of religion, tribe and geo-political affiliation.
Fellow citizens, as you may be aware, the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has in exercise of his constitutional powers, declared a State of Emergency in our dear State, following the spate of killings and destructions of properties, that have pervaded us. It is the constitutional responsibility of the President to take such measures. It is also the duty of any responsible State government, to support lawful efforts that would guarantee the security of lives and properties. It can never be the wish of any guarded democratic government to have the military directly involved in the affairs of any of its unit except for unfortunate and painful causes. As the military leaders have said in discourses, the armory of the Nigerian soldiers is not meant to fight fellow Nigerians, the armory is meant to protect fellow Nigerians.
A human life is sacred, more so, the life of every good Nigerian, no matter whose’ it is; and we all have moral, spiritual and social obligations to preserve and respect the lives of one another as we would want ours to be so preserved and respected.
A period of State of emergency is that which comes with rules that are different from those that guide our day to day lives. We must therefore, take personal steps as citizens, to avoid being caught by the strange rules. I have directed the State Ministry of Home Affairs, Information and Culture to work out public safety enlightenment programmes that should be regularly featured on the Borno State Television and Radio while I urge our partners and friends in other media organizations resident in the State to help in educating citizens on public conducts at this different time that we face together.
Let me use this opportunity to importantly urge the military who are fellow Nigerians like all of us, to abide by the directive of Mr. President, in operating under the rules of engagement so that innocent lives and their properties are jealously preserved and protected.
I will seize this opportunity for the umpteenth time, to call on our brothers in the Jama’atu ahliss Sunnah lil Da’awatu wal Jihad (Boko Haram)to embrace dialogue so that we can solve this problem on the table through collective bargaining, offers and compromises. I am glad to note that the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution, is still working round the clock as also emphasized by the President. I believe like I have always said since 2011, that by the end of the day, dialogue will be the last and sustainable resort. Let us embrace the spirit of live and let’s live.
I urge you to fervently pray for the return of peace in our dear Borno State and in all other parts of Nigeria, to pave the way for rapid recovery and the socio-economic transformation that we so desperately seek to put in place as a Government.
I thank you so much for your support and wish every one of you, Allah’s guidance and protection.
Long live Borno State!
Kashim Shettima (Governor)
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