Contrary to statistics constantly released by international humanitarian agencies, over 100, 000 persons may have been killed in Borno alone within the six years of Boko Haram insurgency.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima stated this when a six-member delegation of three Senate committees on women affairs, health and primary health, led by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) visited him.
The governor also raised the alarm over the poverty and unemployment rate among youths in northern Nigeria, which he said could lead to more violence in future in the region.
“We have 59, 000 widows and more than 20, 000 orphans. In Monguno Local Government alone, there are 13, 000 orphans. So, how did those dishing out statistics of deaths come up with conclusion that roughly 15, 000 people died in the crisis?” he queried.
“There is endemic poverty in the North. We are also confronted with unemployment among our youths, and if we do not do something urgent, we may be confronted with more security challenges worse than Boko Haram,” Shettima said.
He said population in the country would double in 2020 and noted that the northern region may have more population than other regions. He said “unemployment, poverty and diseases are likely to be on the increase except urgent steps are taken by leaders in the region.”
He maintained that education holds the key to address the challenges he envisaged even as he disclosed that his state was investing in education to liberate his people from the grip of poverty, diseases and unemployment. He also appealed for support from the National Assembly on the humanitarian challenges, reconstruction of destroyed building and resettlement of displaced Boko Haram victims in Borno State and the effected northeast states.
“We need your support. I don’t like begging, but I have to beg the National Assembly to support us because of the situation we found ourselves. We want to invest in education, reopen our schools which have been shut down for over two years,” he stated.
Leader of the delegation, Senator Oluremi Tinubu said the senators were in Borno on the mandate of the senate to visit the IDPs’ camps to check the state of the children and their welfare.
“The decision came up at the floor of the senate following the celebration of the Children’s day with a theme ‘stop violence against children’. We will report to the senate on our findings and take decision on areas of intervention,” she disclosed.
She commended the Borno State government for its resolute in carrying on the task of governance despite the security challenge.