Contrary to claims by the Nigerian government that no local government in Nigeria is under Boko Haram occupation, the House of Representatives have discovered that at least 17 local government areas are still under the occupation of the terrorists.
In June, at the 2018 World Congress of the International Press Institute in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated that Boko Haram had been degraded and was no longer in control of any part of Nigeria.
“Your annual congress is holding in Nigeria during a period of global terrorism. Nigeria experiences that scourge through Boko Haram which has been technically degraded and has no territorial hold anywhere anymore in its North-East operational base,” he said.
But in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service on Tuesday, the chairman of the House Committee on Internally Displaced Persons, IPDs, Sani Zorro, gave a shocking revelations that 17 local government areas are occupied by terrorists.
He said the lawmakers discovered this during a recent oversight function in Nigeria’s North East.
“I assure you that 17 local government areas of Borno are still under Boko Haram. They have control in many areas, collecting all many of taxes. In some local government areas, they would go to where people draw well water and ask people to give them certain amount of money in three days. And the locals would comply and give them the money.
“So whoever says Boko Haram is not occupying and administering those areas is telling a lie.
“It is better they (Nigerian authorities) stop claiming that Boko Haram is not occupying any territory. Those living in the rural areas of the affected states hear all manner of tales. Why are trenches dug to stop infiltration of insurgents into areas protected by the military?
“For instance, about three days ago, the terrorists invaded Abadam and Kalabalge, leading to the UN refugee agency’s withdrawal of its aid workers. This is where two nurses were killed.
“The question now is, if you say Boko Haram is not holding any Nigerian territory, where are they coming from and where are they taking the hostages they abducted?” Mr Zorro asked.
He told the BBC that no success was recorded in the resettlement of displaced persons to their communities as most of the displaced persons who were either forced or persuaded to resettle have fled their communities again.
“We were in Bama on 5th November, in the report we submitted, we said in conservative estimate that there are not more than 200 people living in Bama. But I believe there are not more than 50 people living there today. We traversed everywhere in Bama including their hospital, military base and the palace of the emir. I can tell you that even vultures have fled the palace of the emir,” he said.
Bama has a population of 269,986 people, according to 2006 Census.