Former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, has revealed how he chased the dreaded leaders of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau and Abu Qaqa, out of the state during his first term as governor.
Speaking in Kaduna at the weekend as a guest speaker at the 2023 annual public lecture, awards, and election of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Kaduna branch, Babangida said that the state would have been the headquarters of Boko Haram.
He pointed out that proper planning and budgeting are part of the solution to the security challenges bedeviling Nigeria, like terrorism and banditry.
According to him, proper planning and budgeting will eradicate the negative statistics of 20 million out-of-school children and change the story of Nigeria from being rated as the global poverty capital.
Babangida said: “The primary purpose of government is the security of lives and property of the citizens, which SK e Governors don’t take seriously. As Chief Security Officer of your state, you cannot claim the inability to secure your citizens. Yes, the officers of the security agencies might not have come from your state, they are federal officers posted to assist you in your state.
“Being proactive as a leader and follower also helped so much. When I arrived Niger state, I found a security challenge in the form of nine people who went to a village in Mokwa local government, who had multiplied in 2007 to 7,000 people and were involved in armed robbery and abducting women in the area. They constituted themselves into a republic.
“I also discovered that many Governors have tried to do something but were probably frustrated by Abuja. Two immigration officers sent to investigate the activities of the group became members. When I took a census, I discovered that more than 60% of the members were not Nigerians. The original Shekau and Abu Qaga were the leaders. I got the support of the Late President Musa Yar’adua to disperse them after compensating them and providing them transport to their destination in Nigeria, and the foreigners were taken to their borders.
“That action probably saved Niger State from being the foundation of Boko Haram as we come to know, they were regularly visiting the River Niger Bridge. That the federal government would support any Governor who has done his homework is not I doubt.”