by Adeniyi Abdul
The Borno Elders forum has spoken out against the current conditions in the state, expressing their dissatisfaction at being made prisoners in their own land. In a speech by the Chairman of the forum, elder statesman and first minister of petroleum, Shettima Ali Monguno, read by former head of the Borno State Civil Service, Bulama Mali Gubio, the group pleaded with the government to reduce the number soldiers on the streets of Maiduguri, and the Boko Haram sect to lay down their arms as people could no longer practise their religions properly. See the statement below:
“Our people can no longer engage in any meaningful activity to sustain their lives. Nowadays, the people cannot perform the five obligatory prayers in congregation in mosques near their houses or perform the Friday prayers in several mosques in the town.
We are no longer practicing our religion as desired. Our markets and other places of business are no more; many people can no longer access schools for their children. People can no longer move from one point to another without being subjected to harrowing experience
The members of the Boko haram are our children, sons and brothers. We are aware of your grievances; we are however appealing to you to ponder on the recent happenings and how our people are subjected to those harrowing conditions enumerated above.
We appeal to you to lay down your arms, come back home, re-integrate yourselves and help salvage our destroyed society and economy. Nobody else will do this for us except ourselves. You have the right to live your normal lives like other citizens and go about with your lawful activities as members of our community.
All of you should as a matter of urgency come back, confide in us and seek the path of dialogue to resolve all issues you may wish to raise. You need to do that for Islam, for our people and for yourselves. This is your own land and you have no other land.”