Former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has said he chased the dreaded Boko Haram leaders, Abubakar Shekau and Abu Qaqa, out of Niger State during his first term as governor.
He said if he had not done that, the state would have been the foundation of Boko Haram.
Speaking at the 2023 annual public lecture, awards and election of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations over the weekend, he said part of the solution to the security challenges ravaging the country, like terrorism and banditry is proper planning and budgeting that will eradicate the negative statistics of 20 million out of school children and change the story of Nigeria from being rated as the global poverty capital.
He said, “When I arrived in Niger state, I found a security challenge in the form of nine people who went to a village in Mokwa local government, who had multiplied in 2007 to 7,000 people and were involved in armed robbery and abducting women in the area. They constituted themselves into a republic.
“When I took the census, I discovered that more than 60% of the members were not Nigerians. The original Shekau and Abu Qaga were the leaders. I got the support of the Late President Musa Yar’adua to disperse them after compensating them and providing them transport to their destination in Nigeria and the foreigners were taken to their borders.
“That action probably saved Niger State from being the foundation of Boko Haram. As we come to know, they were regularly visiting the River Niger bridge. That the federal Government would support any Governor who has done his homework is not I doubt.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris Malagi expressed the optimism that the 2024 budget would mark a transformative era in the country once it is passed by the National Assembly.
He noted that the budget signified a pivotal step towards the realisation of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.