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Security, a global challenge -Yuguda

| October 16, 2012 More

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

In Bauchi State, the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, has carried out a series of attacks leading to deaths and destruction. But in this interview with some Nigerian journalists at the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States, the state governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, maintains that the perpetrators are outsiders. Leon Usigbe brings excerpts:

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where spoke about his disappointment in people relying on freedom of speech to denigrate religion and especially expressed sadness over the protest in the country against a video that emanated from the US mocking Prophet Muhammed. What is your take on this?
I think this video that was shown that was offensive to the region of Islam received a lot of condemnations from everybody, including of course, America.  They appreciate that it is a very serious issue. Religion is a part of somebody’s culture and to come out and rubbish your culture tells a lot about what is going on as far as international security is concerned. Because, religion is an emotional thing, since it is tied down to culture and your culture makes you, it is a very serious thing. 

I hope the United Nations will come up with a position, even though we know that freedom of speech, freedom of association, in fact, freedom of almost everything is part of development. In fact, the word, freedom, is part of development. But it should not be seen or taken for granted that any kind of freedom will bring development. This kind of freedom is rather inimical to the development of nations, the humanity at large. I want to believe the UN will reflect on it very seriously. This video clip has received condemnation from all people and so the UN should take it very seriously. All the heads of state present at UNGA spoke in that light and I believe this is something that is serious and is capable of creating deep hatred for somebody who is not a Muslim. 

 Recently, there was another bomb blast in Bauchi at a time many people thought that the war on terror was being won. What has not been done in your state to stop the reoccurrence of these bombings?
 Well, I think you have to be very fair to Bauchi. The last time we were attacked by Boko Haram in Bauchi was in 2009. We were the first state to have an encounter with them and we ended up getting them out of the town and their places of worship and houses were destroyed and we did that in over 12 hours and since then we have not had any incident until when they came for the prison break during the last Ramadan. Ramadan, in the religion of Islam, is not a month that you will fight even if somebody comes with a weapon and wants to kill you. So, we expect that any person who is godly at that time,  given what the religion of Islam said, don’t fight during the month of Ramadan, it confirms our speculation that they are not Muslims. 

They came for the prison attack outside Bauchi State and they succeeded because they came at the time people were breaking their fast. They shot at the gate and it was opened for them and they entered and freed the inmates. And since then we have never experienced any incident except robbery of banks, police stations to steal money and guns. But the papers have been awash with Boko Haram in Bauchi. They have never given credit to what the state government is doing as far as the issue of security is concern. From that time till now, we have received over two million refugees in my state. With the crisis in Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe and Borno states, we ended up with over two million refugees today, but we are able to settle them. This is a humanitarian crisis, even by UN standard and nobody is talking about it. The press has not come to see them or where they are located and they continue writing things about Bauchi.

Why are you singling out the press for condemnation as it the Boko Haram issue appears to be getting out of control?  
You should also appreciate that if they had done so at least the world would have known but they only talk about Bauchi and Boko Haram. So, apart from the humanitarian crisis, you can imagine if our state was not safe, would you imagine that this people will run to Bauchi? We are having more from Yobe, Maiduguri and we have to receive them because they are our brothers and sisters and there is nothing we can do about it. There was an incident two months ago but we knew about it because of our security. 

We have a lot of security establishments on ground to get information and know when they are going to commit a crime. And in all cases, including the recent one where they came from Gombe (because we caught one of them and that person happens to be one of those that escaped from the cell of the soldiers sometimes in 2010), they came in from Gombe to do the operation of hijacking somebody who is close to me because he is my in-law, married to my sister but we caught one of them. 

 The incident that has to do with the bombing of churches and the mosques, of course, they are targeting both, they never got close to their targets. The first one, the church had over 2000 worshippers. When were got the information, we told all the churches and mosques to put barricade, including cars like 200 meters, away from the places of worship. So, when this latest bomber came, he drove to the barricade and denoted it. The policeman who saw him followed him, instead of shooting the guy until the guy detonated it, killed himself and four other people. Some people near there were injured and the bomber came from Gombe and others came from Yobe to carry out the attacks. So, we don’t have the attackers in Bauchi. They came in to attack, us but we have to re-strategise and see how we can deter them from getting into our states.

President Jonathan, during his presentation at the UN, spoke on things being done to curb insecurity in the country. In your view, how are we tackling security challenge?
 You can appreciate the fact that if we were not winning the security war, things would have fallen apart by now. It is very obvious that given the approach government is adopting-the Federal Government, security agencies and many other approaches confirms the success in the area of security. If our strategies were not working, things would have fallen apart more than we have seen today. The terrorist groups would have by now inflicted a lot more damage on the environment; a lot more damage on human lives; many of our people would not have been able to go to even their farms. So, I can assure that the various efforts of government are working very well. 

 We have to appreciate the fact that there is no environment that does not have issues with security. Let me tell you that in this city of New York, every minute somebody is being killed; every minute, a woman is being raped and I know way back when I was in the banking industry as a managing director, their budget on security is in the region of $30 billion. I’m talking of the city of New York. Imagine the kind of resources we give to security in Nigeria. In fact, as at then, the entire budget of Nigeria was in the region of $15 billion. 

You can see that where it concerns security, as far as human beings are involve, we must have animals among you; you must have deviants among you-people who don’t want peace by nature; people who want to distort religion because they know it is an emotional thing. They exploit it and carry out mayhem on other people and politicians leverage on it to create problems in their environment, ostensibly because they are eyeing public offices, to win elections. I think it is something that is a concern and we will get over it very soon. 


Category: Bauchi State News

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