Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, on Tuesday said over 100,000 people have been killed in the state in the last 12 years contrary to other claims on the numbers of persons killed by Boko Haram insurgents.
According to the governor, 10 per cent of the population of Borno State is unaccounted for as many people in many communities in the state are still nowhere to be found even as government is working towards resettling the communities returning after they had fled their homes at the peak of the crisis.
Governor Zulum made the revelations after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the state house in Abuja where he briefed the President on the activities of terrorists in the Northeast and particularly in Borno State.
He also briefed the President on the successes being recorded especially with the fighters currently submitting to the Nigerian troops.
The governor said while some Nigerians are of the opinion that the surrendered Boko Haram fighters be rejected, there is no reason for any community to reject them, adding that they are people living within the communities before the unfortunate incident.
“Those fighters who surrendered should be accepted and treated well and should not be rejected in their communities. That is the only way to show them the difference by loving them because they have repented from their mistakes,” the governor said.
Zulum also told newsmen that, so far, a total of 2,600 former terrorists and fighters have surrendered to the Nigerian military and are currently in custody of the military.
He said ”Not all of them are criminals. Some of them are also victims, as such the need for communities to understand and welcome the fact that they have realised their shortcomings and are now turning in to be good citizens.”
He explained that many of those who are surrendering to troops are people who were forcefully conscripted and that they had to stay with the terrorists to stay alive.
“Some of them were small children when they were taken to join the terrorists,” he added.
Zulum told journalists that, he was attacked over five times by the terrorists while moving from one end of Borno State to another end to ensure that he builds confidence on the people, a sacrifice which is also yielding result with terrorists giving up and coming out to submit themselves.
He said his administration will do everything possible to support the surrendered terrorists, adding that government is not contemplating inducing the terrorists in order to have them surrendered but will work to ensure that those who surrender after profiling by the military return to their communities.