The governor briefed the president on the Bama attack.
The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Wednesday, said he would not reply the presidency on the latter’s statement accusing the governor of falsehood and ignorance.
The presidency, had on Tuesday, through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, berated the Borno governor for suggesting that the members of the Boko Haram were better armed and motivated than Nigerian soldiers battling the insurgents in the North East.
Mr. Shettima had made the statement on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after briefing President Goodluck Jonathan on the recent upsurge in attacks on civilians in Borno by the Boko Haram.
On Wednesday, Mr. Shettima was again at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to further brief the president on the happenings in Borno including the early Wednesday attack on Bama by the Boko Haram.
The governor confirmed to reporters that the Bama attack occurred, but did not provide details. Security agencies are also yet to provide details with residents saying many people may have been killed.
“There was an attack on Bama,” Mr. Shettima told journalists after a short meeting with Mr. Jonathan. “We are yet to get the actual number of casualties but I am told that they have inflicted a lot of damage on the town, but the military are doing their best.’’
The attack, suspected to have been carried out by Boko Haram members, reportedly took place at about 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
I won’t reply presidency
When asked whether he was summoned by the President on account of his earlier comment on Monday that the Boko Haram was better equipped than the military, the governor said “not at all.’’
He said he came to the Presidential Villa “to adequately update President Goodluck Jonathan on the happenings in Borno State.”
He, however, declined to speak further on the earlier comment he made and the response from the Presidency.
“I do not want to comment on that. President Jonathan is our president and I am here to update him on the Bama attack and I do not want to make additional comments.”
Earlier on Monday, after meeting with Mr. Jonathan, Mr. Shettima had said,
“What we are being confronted with is that we are in a state of war. It is what I came to update Mr. President; the sooner we stop playing the ostrich and rise up to the challenges of the day, and marshal all resources towards visualizing the antics of Boko Haram, the better for all of us.
“But the bottom line is that we need more resources, more vote on ground. In all fairness to the officers and men of the Nigerian Army and Police, they are doing their best given the circumstances they have found themselves in. But honestly Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops.”
Mr. Okupe had on Tuesday replied the governor, saying the military was winning the war against terror and Mr. Shettima, not being a military expert, was not in a position to assess and compare the sophistication of the weaponry of the Nigerian Armed Forces with that of the Boko Haram.
He added that “Nigeria is not in a state of war’’ as claimed by the governor, saying that what was being witnessed in some parts of the Northern region were guerrilla attacks.