Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, has expressed deep pain over insurgents’ execution of aid workers whom he described as heroes that were gruesomely killed in the course of serving humanity.
The insurgents had released a video which showed five blindfolded aid workers with four of them shot at close range, while one was spared even though he was also positioned for execution. The five aid workers were abducted weeks back during a humanitarian mission to support Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Zulum’s spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, said in a statement issued on Thursday, that the governor was informed of the execution on Wednesday evening, while he was at headquarters of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Abuja to discuss introduction of civil-defence volunteer programme and the deployment of more agro rangers to secure farmers in Borno State.
“Zulum departed Maiduguri same Wednesday and on arriving Abuja, he drove to the NSCDC,” the statement said.
“Governor Babagana Umara Zulum is deeply pained and extremely worried by the gruesome execution of the aid workers who lost their lives while trying to save IDPs through humanitarian activities.
“The Governor mourns these heroes and shares the grief of their families and employers: Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Action Against Hunger, Reach International, International Rescue Committee, and condoles with the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (UNOCHA).”
Gusau noted that Zulum has, in his absence, directed a government delegation to immediately visit families of the aid workers to participate in funeral activities and to pay condolence visits to affected humanitarian partners through UNOCHA.
The statement also added that the governor wants fresh ideas that would be the way out of the insurgency.
“Governor Zulum wants a new thinking that would hopefully stop these endless killings. We cannot continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result,” Gusau said.
“The Governor believes in a combination of kinetic and non-kinetic approaches and he is of the position that the Nigerian military has, through its operation ‘safe corridor’, demonstrated its willingness to rehabilitate and reintegrate insurgents willing to stop the killings of fellow humans.
“The Governor reiterates his call on the insurgents to stop the killings that have been on for 11 years. Zulum also urged all stakeholders to renew commitment to ending the insurgency by being open to new ideas and applying different measures that will hasten good results.”
The United Nations said the aid workers had been traveling by a main road between Monguno and the state capital of Maiduguri when they were kidnapped.
“They were committed humanitarians who devoted their lives to helping vulnerable people and communities in an area heavily affected by violence,” said Edward Kallon, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria.