GOVERNOR Babagana Zulum of Borno State has lashed out at Arab nations for not doing enough to help his people or provided them with enough humanitarian assistance as they grapple with the Boko Haram insurgency.
Borno State has been the epicentre of the insurgency that has been raging since 2009 as Boko Haram seek to establish a pure Islamic caliphate governed by Sharia law. Apart from the huge death toll and huge destruction of property, Nigeria has the highest number of internally displaced persons in the world with 2.7m people living in refugee camps across the country.
Speaking earlier this week while receiving the Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Saleh Fheied Saleh, Governor Zulum said countries in the West have shown more concern for Borno people than rich Arab nations. He added that over the years, Borno State received humanitarian support from Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and other countries but little from the Arab world.
Governor Zulum said: “They have demonstrated concern and have made efforts to support our traumatized citizens in many ways especially on food, medicals and livelihoods. However, that level of concern never came from Arab countries with whom millions of Borno people share similarity in religion and culture.
“We have indigenous Shuwa Arabs in Borno, this shows how our histories are tied. We have made severe efforts, written and visited embassies of Arab countries, especially those that are rich and not dealing with crises but the majority do not care about our situation, neither do they support us.”
In response, Mr Saleh told Governor Zulum that his country had concluded plans to support the Borno State government in some areas. He added that many Nigerians currently reside in Palestine, particularly Borno indigenes and some of them have served the government, including Fatima Barnawi, a former minister and police chief.
Mr Saleh said: “There are a lot of Palestinian companies in Nigeria and they are willing to work with the Borno State government. We are ready to cooperate with you and we are ready to help in anything you want us to do.”