WeeklyTrust – Most prominent people, including politicians, traditional rulers, businessmen and civil servants no longer stay in their hometowns or villages in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states as a result of the ongoing occupation by Boko Haram.
Though eight local government areas are under the firm grip of the sect in Borno State, almost all caretaker chairmen of the 27 local government areas, their deputies, secretaries, directors of finance and administration, councilors and other senior officials now operate from Maiduguri, the state capital.
They are now living in government quarters and hotels while those that have personal residences in the state capital are living there with their families. In some cases, you see dozens of extended family and even friends staying with them.
Most local government areas have been deserted and where there is partial security, only the indigent who have no alternative are staying in their homes. For instance, in Bama, the second biggest town in Borno which fell to the hands of Boko Haram on 1st September, 2014,the town remains inaccessible.
Bama’s emir, Alhaji Kyari Ibn Ibrahim El-Kanemi is now in Maiduguri with his family. Senator Ahmed Zanna, the Senator representing Borno Central in the National Assembly is from Bama. Also, the member representing the area in the House of Reps, Abdurrahman Terab, who is also from the area are all in Abuja.
It is the same with the two Members of the State House of Assembly representing Bama. These are Mohammed Abba Jato (Bama Central) and Rawa Goni (Gulumba/Woloji). Prominent businessmen from the area who have completely relocated to other places include Alhaji Rijya Bama, Alhaji Mustapha Kwali-Kwali, Alhaji Modu Musumbe, Alhaji Mogamus and Alhaji Zarami Banki.
Gwoza fell to the insurgents on 6th August, 2014 and the place has remained inaccessible since. The emir, Alhaji Muhammadu Mustapha Idrissa Timta and members of his family are now in Maiduguri. Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, representing Borno South in the National Assembly, is from Gwoza as well.
Umar Hambagda, a former senator, Ambassador Mahmud Ahmed, Alhaji Lawan Buba, Alhaji Haruna Timta, a former head of service, Dr Asabe Vilita Bashir, a former commissioner are all living elsewhere.
Dikwa is one of the ancient towns of Borno State and it is also under the firm control of Boko Haram and the emir, Alhaji Muhammadu Ibn Shehu Masta II and members of his family have been displaced, as well as Hon. Mohammed Zakariya, the member representing the area in the State House of Assembly and Alhaji Mustapha Gajibo, among others.
Gamboru Ngala, a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon, is under the control of the insurgents. Ngala is the hometown of Galadima Modu Sheriff, father of former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff. Though they have not been staying there for decades, they cannot visit their ancestral home anymore.
The situation is the same with Idrissa Jidda, Member representing Ngala in the State House of Assembly and dozens of oil merchants now living in Maiduguri. Mobbar is another local government area in Borno which has been taken over by Boko Haram. Gashigar, a major town in the area, is the hometown of Brigadier-General Abba Kyari (Rtd) former governor of North Central State. Other people from the area are Umar Lawan Kareto, a former national treasurer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Alhaji Gambo Lawan, a former gubernatorial aspirant.
Marte, a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon is also under Boko Haram occupation and its prominent people can no longer go home. They include Alhaji Asheikh Jarma, a former governor of Borno State; Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jiddah, the secretary to the Borno State Government and Asheikh Kurso Bashir, a former member of the State House of Assembly, among others.
Prominent people from Monguno local government area who could not visit their homes include Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno, an elder statesman and Honorable Tahir Monguno, a Member of the House of Reps, among others.
In Yobe State, it’s the same. Take for instance Gujba Local Government Area, where the insurgents have taken over major towns, including Buni yadi, Buni Gari, Ambiya and Goneri. Among the prominent people in the area are former governor and a serving senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, former FCT minister Alhaji Bunu Shariff, Colonel Dala Aji Goniri who is one- time commander of 241 Reccce Batallion Nguru and Mai Kachalla Gujba, an Executive Director at First Bank.
Other people from the area are: Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, the National Secretary of the All Progessives Congress (APC); Member House of Reps, Hajia Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim; Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Ahmed Goneri; former commissioner and currently Special
Adviser to Governor Gaidam, Alhaji Aji Yerima Bularafa and others.
In Gulani Local Government Area, the insurgents have sacked many places, including Bara, the headquarters of the council as well as Bularafa, Gumsa, and Dokshi. Prominent people from the area include the serving Minister of science and technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama, Managing Director, Chad Basin Development Authority, Dr. Garba Iliya and many others.
Then in Adamawa State where intense violence is currently unfolding, government officials from Northern parts especially can no longer visit their localities, as the areas remain under the grip of Boko Haram. At present, Governor Bala Ngillari and the speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly and erstwhile acting governor, Ahmadu Fintiri as well as other officials from Madagali Local Government Area cannot go home.
As the insurgents extend their control to Michika and Mubi, dozens of federal and state government officials have been affected with the insurgents razing or occupying their mansions. Apart from Ngillari and Fintiri, those affected include the Minister of Youths Development, Boni Haruna from Michika, the Minister of Women Affairs, Zainab Maina and the Chief of Defence Staff , Air Marshal Alex Badeh both from Mubi and the Senator representing Northern Senatorial Zone, Muhammad Jibrilla who hails from Maiha. Also affected are two members of the House of Representatives from Mubi North/Mubi South/Maiha as well as Michika/Madagali, Abubakar Mahmudu Wambai and Titsi Ganama respectively. Others are five state legislators and five council chairmen of Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, Mubi South and Maiha as well as their councillors.
As the insurgents’ rampage continues seemingly unchecked, the question on the lips of Nigerians is: “Where’s next?”