The recent visit by Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state to
President Mohammadu  Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to brief
the nation’s number one citizen of the security situation in his state
has no doubt assumed a controversial dimension. During the visit, as
usual, members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm waited patiently to
be briefed on the outcome of the closed-door meeting of the duo.

Shortly after the meeting, Governor Sule said he was in the Villa to
brief the President on the security situation in his state,
particularly the activities of Boko Haram terrorists, who were
regrouping in his state to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.
According to him, the meeting focused on the insecurity issue and the
possible federal government take-over of Jitata road, which serves as
an alternative route from the state to the Federal Capital Territory.






Sule said: “I have come to see the leader of our party, the leader of
the nation, and our father, Mr. President, to brief him about some of
the activities happening in my State, especially first in the area of
a security that we continue to have challenges with a team of Boko Haram
who had settled at the border with the FCT”

He further revealed that the group was part of the elements fueling
the security challenges in the State, saying that the terrorists had
been dislodged from their camp in Toto before regrouping at the
Nasarawa/Benue border from where they are now launching attacks on
residents.






Sule affirmed that some of the Boko Haram elements active in the State
belong to the Darussalam group that had been dislodged from Niger
State, even as a lot of them were hitherto killed while 900 of them
were arrested upon a joint security operation.

Nigerian Pilot observed that the Governor’s visit to the President and
indeed, his boldness in revealing the true security situation in his
the state has attracted commendations from different quarters,
particularly those living or travelling around the new Boko Haram
base. To them, the Governor has demonstrated a high level of
patriotism as information coming from him as Chief Security Officer of
his state, apart from triggering an action from the Federal Government
will also reawaken their security consciousness while travelling or
carrying out their daily activities at the identified dangerous spots.






But in what has been viewed by many as an insult on the sensibility of
Governor Sule and the people of his state, the Minister of Information
and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his usual characteristics tried
in vain to drag the governor to public ridicule when he claimed that
he (Governor) denied ever saying that Book Haram terrorists were
regrouping in his state.

Lai Mohammed, who was briefing the media said: “I was also concerned
over this and I called the Governor and asked him. But he said it was
a case of being quoted out of context”






The Governor, according to Lai Mohammed only told the media that he
was at the Presidential Villa to see the President, first, to wish him
Happy New Year and to thank him for the forces he had sent to Nasarawa
State to dislodge the bandits, who were trying to behave like Boko
Haram.

Perhaps, to the Information Minister, the revelation by the Governor
about the presence of Boko  Haram terrorists in Nasarawa state had
further exposed the alleged inefficiency of the Federal Government in
the highly criticised fight against Boko Haram insurgency, hence the
Minister’s “damage control” strategy to redeem the image of
government.

Critics averred that, by addressing a press conference on an issue
merely discussed through a telephone conversation the Minister claimed
to have had with the Governor, the Minister has perpetrated an
illegality by assuming the position of a spokesman to the Governor,
who has a professional journalist as Commissioner for Information and
highly competent media aides to address the press on the issue if at
all the Governor was quoted out of context as suggested by Lai
Mohammed.






Sources revealed that the Nasarawa state Governor has been under
intense pressure from the Presidency ever since he made the Boko
Haram revelation. A highly placed aide of Governor Sule, who spoke
with Nigerian Pilot in confidence confirmed that the Governor was
asked not to make further comments in the media regarding security
issues of such magnitude but the Governor appears to have chosen to be
on the part of truth and honour by standing firm and insisting that
the insirgents are indeed, regrouping in his state.

The claim by Alhaji Lai Mohammed that the Governor told him it was a
case of being quoted out of context when he (Engr Sule) categorically
told State House Correspondents that the regrouping insurgents are
members of the Boko Haram terrorists while reacting to a question that
sought to know if he was able to confirm that they were Boko Haram and
not bandits remains a surprising thing to many people, who now see Lai
Mohammed as an enemy of the state.

“First and foremost, it was easy for us to know who these people are.
If you remember, they used to gather at a place called Utu in Toto
Local Government Area”

“When I came here (Presidential Villa) the last time, I appealed to Mr
President. Then, the Department of State Services (DSS), the Police,
the Air Force, and the Army had a joint operation and were able to
dislodge them” Governor Sule had revealed.






According to him, when the insurgents were dislodged, a lot of them
killed while many others ran and abandoned members of their families,
leaving the government to take hostage of about 900 members of their
families in Lafia, including children and wives.

“The Special Forces which we have in Doma, Nasarawa State, took the
hostages. A lot of interrogations were done and most of them confirmed
that they were indeed Boko Haram. In fact, they gave us the name of
the person who used to be like the second-in-command to Shekau”






“So, during the interrogation, they confirmed themselves that they
were indeed Boko Haram. Some of them said they were remnants of
Darussalam group that were dislodged from Niger. They came, merged,
and became Boko Haram. That is how we got our confirmation that they
were indeed Boko Haram. They said it themselves.”

State Commissioner for Information, Dogo Shammah, when interacting
with Journalists in Lafia over claims by the Information Minister
penultimate week, affirmed that his boss was quoted verbatim and there
was no case of been quoted out of context as claimed by the
Information Minister.

“That was exactly what the Governor said. If for any reason the
Minister of Information and Culture has anything contrary, we don’t
know. But as a government that was the position we took so that we can
safeguard the lives of our people and there property. If there is a
different meaning to it, we don’t know.”

The Federal Government must therefore act fast by deploying security
forces to assist the state in curtailing the dangerous activities of
the rampaging terrorists rather than what could best be described as a
dangerous propaganda in the face of a serious security threat at the
the detriment of lives and property of the citizens.






QUOTE
The claim by Alhaji Lai Mohammed that the Governor told him it was a
case of being quoted out of context when he (Engr Sule) categorically
told State House Correspondents that the regrouping insurgents are
members of the Boko Haram terrorists while reacting to a question that
sought to know if he was able to confirm that they were Boko Haram and
not bandits remains a surprising thing to many people, who now see Lai
Mohammed as an enemy of the state.

 






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