The Borno State Government has dispatched fifty of its citizens to India for a course of Irrigation Agriculture, a move Governor Kashim Shettima said, is part of his administration's 3-approaches to “fighting the Boko Haram attacks in the State.”
The 50 citizens left Nigeria on board an Ethiopian airline in Abuja earlier on Saturday, soon after Shettima addressed them at a farewell gathering held at the Ogbeh farms, in the Kuje area, council of the FCT. That property belongs to the former National Chairman of PDP, Chief Audu Ogbeh. Ogbeh is a honorary adviser on Agriculture to Governor Shettima, and he is also a key member of the Borno State Agricultural Transformation Team.
Shettima said at the farewell that his Government has since discovered that, in addition to misguided beliefs, the Boko Haram insurgents have over the years been recruiting foot soldiers they pay salaries to, who ‘accept their offers’ as a result of high local joblessness, hopelessness, and extreme poverty. It is a condition, he said, that can be addressed with a massive investment in Agriculture.
The Governor said he believes that the Boko Haram can best be contained through a combination of “Military socio-political, and economic solutions,” maintaining that none can be effective without the others.
Shettima said the fifty citizens, selected across the 27 local government areas of the State, are to undergo a three weeks train-the-trainers course on Irrigation equipment installation, effective utilization, and maintenance, after which they will train farmers across the State. A world leader, Jain Irrigation of India, which is currently installing drip and center pivot irrigation equipment in the State, is to conduct the training as part of a contract between the State, and the Company.
Shettima had noted that in addition to the Indian irrigation equipment, an American company from Nebraska, a mid-western State, which the world headquarters of irrigation equipment is located, is installing 50 units of center pivot, and sprinkler irrigation equipment along Maiduguri -Konduga farm areas as a pilot program. The governor revealed that 400 units of such equipment from the U.S, India and China are expected for installation across private farms in the State. The goal is with a view increasing cropping in the State, and to revolutionize agriculture and create millions of new jobs so that Boko Haram wouldn't find easy recruits as they have already.
The Governor recalled that the Government has found cases where citizens were paid as little as N5,000 to set schools ablaze, or to spy on soldiers due to the absence of job opportunities.
In speaking to the grouping the governor added, "besides those driven by spiritual motives, there is also the economically induced Boko Haram. This can be seen where some youths were paid as low as N5,000 to burn schools, and spy on our security men. So that goes to show that Boko Haram is not only propelled by evil spiritual motive, but also, by economic motives."
Shettima maintained that while the State will continue to support the military and volunteers as a coercive unit, focus must also be accorded to social re-orientation to de-radicalise citizens as well as provide jobs for majority of them. He noted that without such a program in place which, the Boko Haram would hardly be addressed in the immediate, medium, and long term because, so long as people can be recruited, the group can always grow.
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Does this mean Boko Harams are on rehabilitation course?When the Bokos operate in the farm area what is the assurance these men would not be re inducted again into terror.