Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom revealed on Thursday that over 10,000 Nigerian boys and girls are already being kept captive by Boko Haram and indoctrinated with militant fundamentalism.
He also said that the terror group had killed over 30,000 Nigerians and displaced over three million more.
The Governor made this known during a simulated presentation as a guest lecturer at the 2021 Press Week/Lecture organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Correspondents Chapel FCT Council, with the theme: Insecurity in Nigeria: Restoring Peace, Unity, and Progress.
According to the Governor, Boko Haram has been primarily responsible for instability in the North East geopolitical region for around a decade.
“The terror franchise is responsible for massacres, torture, public executions, bombings of public and private buildings, and places of worship, extortion, and mass abductions,” he claims. This include the kidnappings of the Chibok girls in 2012, the Damasak schoolchildren in 2015, and the Dapchi girls in 2018, including Leah Sharibu, who is now detained.
“Reports indicate that Boko Haram is holding more than 10,000 boys and girls and continues to indoctrinate them into militant fundamentalism.
“The group was responsible for the bombing of the UN building in Abuja and has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced more than three million people. The North East is still unstable and there does not seem to be any prospects of defeating Boko Haram soon.”
Speaking further, the Governor observed that banditry, insurgency, armed Fulani herdsmen, abductions for ransom, cattle rustling and illegal gold mining activities had continued to drive the insecurity in the North West geo-political zone.
“The worst affected states are Zamfara, Katsina, and Kaduna. Boko Haram seems to be increasingly joining forces with these rebels in this axis in preparation for a final confrontation with the Nigerian state.
“Before the rise of Boko Haram, banditry, extortion, armed robbery, cultism, and other violent crimes were common in almost every part of the country.” However, the introduction of foreign armed herdsmen into the country has resulted in an increase in these illegal activities.
“The proliferation of arms has further compounded the situation in the country. In Benue State, we have enacted laws to prohibit kidnapping, cultism, terrorism and other violent crimes with very stiff penalties to serve as deterrent,” he added.