GOVERNOR Babagana Zulum of Borno has engaged the services of 30 Saudi Arabian-based Nigerian clerics asking them to offer special prayers that will lead to Boko Haram abandoning its war of insurgency and laying down its arms.
Since 2009, Boko Haram has been waging a war of insurgency against the Nigerian state as it seeks to establish a purist Sharia theocracy. Last week, Governor Zulum visited Saudi Arabia and gathered the clerics, who are residents of Mecca together, asking them to offer daily prayers for the return of sustained peace in Borno and the country.
He said that the 30 clerics, who hailed from Borno, Katsina, Zamfara and Kano states, have for decades, devoted themselves to spending hours at the Kaaba daily for the purpose of worship. Alhaji Isa Gusau, Governor Zulum’s spokesman, explained that one old man among them was said to have been a Kaaba devotee for the last 40 years.
Alhaji Gusau said: “The critical move is aimed to combine different approaches that includes sustained support for the Nigerian armed forces, aggressive mass recruitment and equipping of more counter-insurgency volunteers into the Civilian Joint Task Force, hunters and vigilantes as well as a socio-economic approach to enhance access to education, job opportunities and provide other means of livelihood through social protection initiatives.”
He added that Governor Zulum, a professor of soil and water engineering at the University of Maiduguri before his election, interacted with the devotees on Friday at the Kaaba. Expressing gratitude and seeking continued prayers, the governor urged them to open up spiritual front too.
Governor Zulum added: “Rather than sending anyone, I am here, on behalf of the good people of Borno. I thank you so much for your empathy and the compassion in devoting yourselves to prayer for us every day at the Kaaba which, for us as Muslims, is the most sacred place.
“We need prayers more than ever before, we are handling our problem from different approaches. Prayer is key to everything that we seek and we will continue to seek prayers from many fronts.
“We will keep supporting our clerics of different faiths in Nigeria for prayers and we will seek the same from all of you that are always here around the holy Kaaba. I beg you, continue to pray for us towards achieving three things, first, for us to regain peace in Borno State, the north and Nigeria in general, secondly; we need prayers for us to achieve our ambitious plan for Borno State and lastly, for Allah to make us remain focused and not to get carried away by power.”