The Emir of Akira-Uba in Borno State, Abdullahi Ibn-Muhammed, said he slept in tents when he returned home after the liberation of his kingdom from the control of Boko Haram insurgents.
Recounting his ordeal, Mr Ibn-Muhammed, said he was voluntarily returned home and slept for several weeks in tents to build confidence and encourage his subjects to also return home.
Mr Ibn-Muhammed said this on Saturday when Bulama Biu, a brigadier general and acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division and Commander Sector 1, Operation Lafiya Dole, paid him a courtesy visit at his palace in Uba.
He said when the insurgents sacked the town in 2014, his people ran for safety and became Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in various places.
“When the town was reclaimed by the military, I took courage to return back to my palace along with the members of my traditional institution.
“We returned and saw that most of the structures were razed. They burnt my palace; some of the structures that remain standing are the brick fireplaces of homes.
“Despite all these challenges, we came back and stayed. Some of us were taking shelter in makeshift tents. I slept in my burnt palace. And sometimes when it rained, we have to put ourselves together in one place and cover ourselves,” he said.
The monarch commended the efforts and sacrifices of the military in safeguarding the peace, security and territorial integrity of the country.
“It is because of the commitment you have given towards ending the lingering crisis of Boko Haram that we are enjoying relative peace in our community.
We in Askira will always thank you for making it possible for us to come back home.
“It is a well-known fact that fighting insurgency is a difficult task. It is very difficult because you don’t always know where the next attack will come from but the army has done tremendously well and lived to the expectation.
“War cannot be completely won within the short period of time. It requires continuous efforts of mobilisation, fighting, sensistisation, enlightenment and support from all stakeholders.
“The government needed to continue educating them (insurgents) to drop their arms, embrace peace as well as meaningful reintegration.
Those taking arms should understand that they cannot fight the government.
The emir lamented that the terrorists had inflicted unprecedented damage to people’s lives and property under the guise of Islam, noting that going by their actions, they have nothing to do with the religion they claimed to be fighting for.
“The group has nothing to do with Islam because most of their victims are Muslims.
The Muslims are the worst affected population of this war. They kill both Muslims and Christians.
“I therefore want to assure you that we will continue to do our best to support you to succeed. To me, I have that vision of what the army required,” he said.
Mr Ibn-Muhammed further appealed to the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, to establish and deploy a permanent battalion in Askira-Uba to enhance more security for his people.
Mr Biu said he was at the palace to pay homage to the monarch as well as thank him for all the support and cooperation he had been providing to the troops of 28 Task Force Brigade.
He said he was on operational trip as part of the effort to boost morale of the fighting troops and to interact with them on some of their concerns.
“We are in Konduga, Kawuri, Bama, Gwoza, Pulka, Madagali, Michika where we sympathised with the people on the March 14 incident and now we are here.
“We will be going to Chibok, the Headquarters of the brigade and Damboa all in an effort to support our fighting troops,” he said.
The GOC said that the recent attacks, which were mostly repelled, amounted to a kick of the dying horse, noting that the Nigerian Army was committed to ensuring lasting peace and sanity in the entire northeast.
“I will forward the request you made to the Chief of Army Staff for his consideration,” he said.
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