In over the one thousand years that Islam has taken its roots in Borno, it indeed has affected the lives of our people positively,

and has through its doctrines guided our daily lives and interpersonal relations ranging from social to economic interactions. As an integral part of our existence, the Borno Region stands proud in its Islamic history that has been in existence even when Usman Dan Fodio was waging jihad on communities. In this regard, even the emergence of colonialism in 1900 recognised the fundamental supremacy of Islam and its values and did not alter and or manipulate the Islamic values and traditions. The virtues of tolerance, being your brother’s keeper, good neighbourliness, social justice, accountability and honest leadership were and still are the hallmarks and enduring legacies of Islam in our state and indeed our lives.



In Borno was a model, a standard of what was good in the African culture, a pride of the Blackman everywhere and our history was compared to that of the Ottomans and Sa’adi Morocco, some of the oldest and most impressive dynasties in the world. Borno as a society was and still remains a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic as well as multi-religious society. This heterogeneity often referred to as a melting pot was sustained by a tolerance of dissenting views. Tolerance, moderation and accommodation were the traits that made us great as a people and as a society. Once the fundamental right of the other person to hold opinion is abridged, there can never be peace and harmony.
The current state of insecurity and deplorable state of affairs is not unconnected with the attempt to impose the opinion of a small group on a larger society, a situation which clearly abridges the freedom to freely hold and express ones opinion which is fundamental and inalienable in any given society.


We as a society have had our fair share of instability and even wars in our chequered history, to mention but a few include the sacking of Birnin Ngazargamu by the jihadists in 1808, Rabih’s invasion and occupation in 1893 and the Maitasine riots of the 1980’s. In all these crisis, destructive and vicious as they were, the wars did not degenerate into killing of innocent souls, targeting of public recreational centers, places of worships in a sustained and protracted manner, as we sadly witness today. The targeting of innocent and unarmed civilians regardless of their ethnicity, race and or religious beliefs is alien not only to our norms and culture, but to the fundamental doctrines of Islam.
My fellow citizens, going by the present spate of things, how can a true Muslim explain, let alone profoundly justify, the current unfortunate cold blooded murders and bombings in the name of Islam? Islam means “peace & submission to the will of God” and thus it should remain so, in both theory and practice. This was the understanding of our forefathers; theirs is the true meaning of Islam in both letter and spirit.

In the history of of our society, our leaders had responded to the challenges of their day, similar in gravity, similar to the unfortunate situation we are undergoing today, with utmost sense of restraint and without recourse to violence. The response of the Borno leadership under Sheik Muhammad Al-kanemi to the attack on Borno and allegations of un-Islamic practices at the beginning of the nineteenth century was clear, simple and straight forward. In his efforts to ensure peace, he carried on a series of theological, legal and political debates through letters with Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio, and later with his son, Muhammad Bello. “We are Muslims and Muslims do not harm innocent souls, much less fellow Muslims; any interpretation or understanding of Islam which justifies killing of innocent people is condemnable and should be rebuked in toto”.

My fellow citizens, long years of peace, progress and social harmony for which Borno has come to be associated with the world over were hinged on the concepts and principles of tolerance and moderation. We must then return to the basics and embrace the path of tolerance, forbearance and moderation if we are to progress as a people, as a society, a state and to compete nationally and internationally. A situation where the name of our dear state, an epitome of peace degenerates to signify violence with evoking fear to outsiders, and trepidation in residents, leading to lack of free movement to attend to day to day activities, is clearly unacceptable.

This administration has already clearly stated its readiness to open channels of communication with all aggrieved sections of the society with a view to bringing this despicable trend to an end. Our doors are open for constructive dialogue and a speedy resolution to this state of insecurity.

I am personally, deeply pained by the trend of events. I am a native of Maiduguri , born, bred, and buttered right in the heart of Yerwa, from Nimeri Korongoso. Most of the insurgents are from the well known neighbourhood of Shehuri North, Shehuri South, Limanti, Lamisu Gamboru, Fezzan and Hausari wards of the metropolis. I say unto you my brothers what Hamid Karzai the Afghan President said at the burial of his brother, Wali Ahmed Karzai some few days ago.
“…..my message for them (taliban) is that my countrymen, my brothers, should stop killing their own people. It is easy to kill and everyone can do it, but the real man is the one who can save people’s lives”

Islam always sanctioned the killing of Non-Muslims and the destruction of their places of worship. In the early phase of Islam, when Muslims were persecuted by the Makkan pagans, they sought refuge in present day Ethiopia , under a Christian King, Negus. The Muslims stayed in Ethiopia for 15 years and all entreaties by the Makkan leaders for Negus to deport them were rebuffed by the just, Christian king.
“Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an Ch. 2:256)
Once again, i wish to beseech my brothers in the Jama’atul ahlul sunnah lidda’awati wal jihad to lay down their arms and come and dialogue with us, for indeed this is the only way we can move our beleaguered State forward.

In the same vein, this administration is seriously and sincerely concerned about the plight of our people and the rate at which people are leaving the state capital in search of safer zones. May I, therefore, seize this opportunity to appeal to our people not to flee, as government is making every effort to contain the situation and restore normalcy. I wish to also appeal to all the good people of Borno, irrespective of differences in our political affiliation, religious persuasions, tribal and sectional backgrounds to coalesce into a single unit and find a sustainable solution to the challenges confronting us as a people. These times call for restraint, sobriety, statesmanship and maturity; these time call for brotherhood and unity. Let’s move beyond rhetorics, political demagoguery and grandstanding. With no intent to denigrate nor question the motives of eminent personalities agitating for withdrawal of the JTF from the state, I regret to note that none has offered a tangible yet sustainable alternative to fill the security vacuum to be created in the event of the withdrawal of the JTF.
THE WAY FORWARD
The World Bank has described the central region of the Savannah-Sudan comprising of the areas covered by the North-East Political Zone of Nigeria, the Republic of Tchad , eastern portion of Niger Republic , Northern Cameroons and the Dafur Region of the Republic of Sudan as being one of the poorest regions on earth. The Region has very little and mainly dilapidated infrastructure, a population with poor or ill education and highest level of unemployment especially among the youths, little or poor authority for mobilization of people for self-help, a large number of hungry and angry population, inept and bankrupt leadership, little or complete absence of government control, network and other factors for economic progress and social harmony of the area.

The foregoing scenario provides a fertile ground for the emergence of radical organizations such as the Janjaweed Militia of the Dafur region and Jama’atul Ahlul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal jihad (often called Boko Haram by the Nigerian media) in the north-eastern part of Nigeria .
Towards addressing the myriad of problems confronting us, the Borno State Government wants to adopt a holistic approach, enveloping all the socio economic challenges confronting us. We intend to pursue the following:-

ON THE INTERIM MEASURES
• Compensation of all victims of recent crisis will be done with immediate effect. A Committee will be set up and a data base of all victims will be collated and compensated appropriately.
• Procurement and distribution of 5000 Keke-Napep tricycles and 100 Buses to ease in intra city transport within the Metropolis
• Purchase of food stuff worth N2 Billion for distribution to the people.
• An economic stimulus package for the business community in the state through the establishment or support for micro finance bank in every senatorial zone towards the provision of soft loans to traders/marketers and cooperatives to boast and position entrepreneurship

LONG TERM MEASURES
In our relentless pursuit to provide good governance, this administration has put in place long term measures to address the socio economic challenges faced in the State and these include:-
• A grassroot socio-economic empowerment programme aimed at creating 500,000 jobs in the next 4 – 6 years. Agriculture will be the centre piece of the programme and all developmental initiatives will revolve round it. The programme will be anchored on three crucibles.
• Vocational and skills acquisition centres,
• Farming skills acquisition centres,
• Entrepreneurship development schemes,
• Complete revamping and repositioning of our educational system towards meeting the challenges of the times. Along this line, the State has just accessed the N1.7 Billion un-accessed funds from the UBEC and is putting in place mechanisms for accessing the N3.2 Billion un-accessed funds from ETF. The State will seek to develop strategic plan in the educational sector by committing to the goals of the Northern States Education Action Plan, seeking assistance of DFID, SABMF and Arewa House etc in this activity. 
• Ensure the immediate disbanding of all political militia and seek federal Government assistance for a comprehensive rehabilitation of these militia and violence prone youths.
• Collaborate with NDLEA, NOA and NAFDAC to fight drug addiction, control spread of illicit drugs, use and selling outlets.
• As regard health, policy focus will be on prevention of diseases and epidemic with capacity for full scale diagnostic of ailments and treatments. Reintroduce urban sanitation, recruit and train sanitary inspectors to work closely with Ward Heads to enforce basic sanitation rules.
• In our pursuits to boost agriculture, efforts are made to explore counterpart funds of the World Bank for the Fadama III and other sustainable developmental initiatives of multilateral organizations operating in the country as well as the resuscitation of farming especially irrigation schemes in the Chad Basin Area. Agricultural extension services is to be revived so as to ensure modern farming systems and techniques, improved seeds and post harvest techniques.
CONCLUSION
In every counter-insurgency, the key issue is winning the hearts and minds of the people and the security personnel will soon be issued with code of conduct/ rules of engagement to be fiercely monitored by independent observers. Hotlines will be provided, for the lodgement of complaints of excesses by security personnel. 
Historically, Borno has been known to come out ever more stronger with each passing crisis that confronts it.
My fellow citizens, this is the time for us to unite and move our state forward, this is the time for us to foster peace and progress.