By Ali Inuwa
Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno on Monday led other dignitaries including Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari to perform the Eid prayers in Konduga town, Konduga Local Government Area.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Konduga is one of the most attacked areas in Borno state by the Boko Haram insurgents.
According to the Army, Konduga was attacked more than 20 times by insurgents because of its strategic location and importance in the war against insurgency.
The governor told newsmen shortly after performing the prayers that he decided to observe the Eld prayer in Konduga to showcase the gradual return of peace in the state.
“Our performing Eid prayer in Konduga is significant as we want to show the world that as painful as it is, the process of enthronement of peace has begun in the state.
“We came to share this moment with the people and to also reassure them that we would not have allowed them to return to Konduga if it was classified unsafe; this is why we are here with them,’’ he said.
Shettima expressed optimism that in the nearest future, the state would overcome its current security challenges.
“In the coming weeks and months, we shall have an enduring peace all over the state,’’ the governor said and commended the military for its efforts in tackling the insurgents.
He also dismissed insinuations that Borno government was contemplating forcing Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), whose communities had been liberated by the military to return home.
“I want to say without any fear of contradiction that government has no plan to force any persons back home to his or her community.
“We will not compel individuals to go back to their place,’’ Shettima said.
He said that rather than compel the IDPs to return home, government would give them the freedom to either choose to return home or stay where they are.
“We have not compelled anyone to go back to Konduga, Mafa or Dikwa because peace does not require propaganda; peace manifests, it shows itself where it evolves and people respond to it by going to peaceful places.
“Some IDPs have even started returning to their communities months ago without our knowledge.
“Through local information gathering mechanism, they got to know that peace had returned to their communities and they responded by going back in groups,’’ Shettima said.