Yobe claims spending N13b on soldiers, seeks refund  

Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state and President Muhammadu Buhari at State House Abuja. PHOTO: TWITTER

• Army hands over 670 ‘cleared’ Boko Haram members to Shettima
• Buhari mourns Malu, condoles with Ghana over gas blast

The Yobe government has asked the Federal Government for a refund of N13 billion spent on taking care of the military joint task force prosecuting the war against insurgency in the state.

Briefing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa yesterday, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam said the refund would go a long way in solving some of the problems of the state.

According to him, Yobe specifically needs the refund now to be deployed in the provision of other services, including the establishment of hospitals for the benefit of the people.

The governor lamented that the displaced people of the state have not received any monetary support from the Presidential Committee on North East Initiative that could have assisted in the building and reconstruction of their houses so that they can start their normal lives.

“We have not received a kobo in terms of cash, but in terms of materials, food and non-food items, we have been receiving a lot which I cannot tell you precisely in a quantified form here. We have received enough.

“But during the last administration, Yobe State took care of the joint task force which is a combination of the military, the SSS and the police who were carrying out the war against insurgency.

“We even paid their allowances and provided all their logistical needs, including patrol vehicles. We have spent quite a substantial amount of money in that direction up to about N13 billion during the time of insurgency.

“We have submitted to the Federal Government if they could refund even 30 percent of that so that we can deploy it for the establishment of some infrastructure like hospital.

“Recently, we awarded a construction of cargo airport. If we can get a portion of that money, it will go a long way in relieving some of our problems,” he said.

Gaidam explained that his mission to the villa was to seek federal assistance to facilitate resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the destroyed areas by Boko Haram insurgents in the state.

“I told him that we have now got relative peace in Yobe State in terms of the insurgency. For the past two years or so, we have not had any attack by the insurgents in Yobe.

“So, I accordingly briefed him and told him that all our Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have returned to their bases and resumed their normal businesses. Our problems now border on resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the destroyed areas by the Boko Haram,” he said.

Gaidam spoke as the Coordinator of Joint Intelligence Centre (JIC) of Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig-Gen Abdulrahman Kuliya handed over 760 cleared suspected members of Boko Haram to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State for re-integration into society.

Handing over the cleared suspects yesterday at the Bulunkutu
Rehabilitation Centre, Maiduguri, Kuliya said they were cleared after thorough “interrogation and investigation” by JIC of the Theatre Command.

“We had to clear all these suspects before you, by profiling their individual relations and activities with Boko Haram. We certify that none of them is involved directly or indirectly in terrorist activities, before handing them to the governor for reintegration into their respective communities in Borno,” said Kuliya at the handover ceremony.

According to him, the crackdown on Boko Haram terrorists is yielding significant results in terms of reduced suicide bombings that claimed many lives and property in Borno State and most parts of the North-East.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has described the late former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen Victor Malu (rtd) as an icon of professionalism, bravery and discipline.

This was contained in a condolence message to the Malu family as well as the government and people of Benue State on the death of the former Force Commander of the ECOMOG peace-keeping troops in Liberia who passed away yesterday.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari also commiserated with the Nigerian Armed Forces on the demise of a very distinguished and professional colleague, who demonstrated incredible courage and leadership, including during very turbulent times in Liberia.

The president recalled that as Force Commander of the ECOMOG peace-keeping troops in Liberia from 1996 to 1998, General Malu was an icon of professionalism, bravery and discipline, and he aptly demonstrated these attributes throughout his national and international military assignments.

The president said that the late Malu would be fondly remembered for his dedication and commitment as a military officer; and his numerous landmark contributions to Nigeria’s unity and development.

Buhari urged the bereaved family, friends and associates to honour Malu’s memory by upholding his invaluable sacrifices for a peaceful and united Nigeria.

Also yesterday, President Buhari condoled with the Ghanaian ‎President Nana Akufo-Addo over last Saturday’s gas explosion in Legon, suburb of Accra, where many persons were reported killed.

A statement by Adesina yesterday said President Buhari offered the condolences to the government and people of Ghana in a telephone call on Sunday, where he prayed for those who lost loved ones and friends in the tragedy, and a speedy recovery for the injured.

The Nigerian leader told his Ghanaian counterpart that his personal thoughts and prayers, as well as those of all Nigerians, were with their Ghanaian brothers and sisters as they mourn their loved ones.

President Buhari further prayed that Ghanaians, who are known for their extraordinary strength and resilience, would overcome the disaster and rise above the losses the country suffered in recent times from gas-related explosions.

President Akufo-Addo thanked President Buhari for his comforting and kind words, the statement added.



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