Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, says western countries have shown more concerns and supported the state more than the Arab countries.
Zulum stated this Tuesday evening in Maiduguri, the state capital when he received the Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Saleh Fheied Saleh in his office.
“In the midst of challenges with the Boko Haram insurgency, countries from the west have shown more concern for the plight of Borno people than rich Arab nations whose people share similarity of religion and culture with the majority of Borno citizens,” he said.
“I am a practical person. I work with the realities I see on ground. In the face of our challenges over the years, we have received humanitarian support from the UK and other parts of Europe, the United States, Canada, from Japan and a host of others who have demonstrated concern and have made efforts to support our traumatized citizens in many ways especially on food, medicals and livelihoods.”
The governor praised Palestine for being one of the few exceptions, within the Arab community.
“However, that level of concern never came from Arab countries with whom millions of Borno people share similarity in religion and culture. We even have indigenous shuwa Arabs in Borno and this shows how our histories are tied,” Zulum said.
“We have made severe efforts, written and visited embassies of Arab countries, especially those that are rich and not dealing with crises, but obviously, majority of the Arabs do not care about our situation, neither do they support us.
“The Arabs have not shown concern to us. Your visit, however, has renewed our hope especially and we are very grateful for your visit.”
The Palestinian ambassador had informed Zulum of plan to support the Government of Borno State in some areas of need.
“There are a lot of Palestinian companies in Nigeria, they are willing to work with the Borno State Government. We are ready to cooperate with you, we are ready to help in anything you want us to do that we can do,” Saleh said.
The Ambassador also said many Nigerians are currently residing in Palestine, particularly Borno indigenes, some of whom have diligently served the government and people of Palestine.
He cited that “among Borno people in Palestine, a lady called Fatima Barnawi was once a minister and a police chief”.
For over a decade, Borno state in the Northeast region of Nigeria has been facing a protracted Boko Haram insurgency.
The group broke into factions in 2018 giving rise to the Islamic State of West Africa Province popularly known as ISWAP.
The conflict has spread to other African countries like Niger, Chad and Cameroon which has killed over 30,000 local civilians and displaced millions of people.
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