Posted by News Express | 7 March 2013 | 3,218 times
After years of avoiding the hotbeds of the Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, finally visits the north-eastern states of Borno and Yobe today in a move designed to counter the opposition’s claim that he is afraid of going to the violence-wracked region.
Interestingly, the Nigerian leader was beaten to it by the opposition following last Thursday’s meeting in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, by 11 governors of the emergent All Progressives Congress (APC).
The itinerary of President Jonathan’s visit shows that he will fly to the Maiduguri International Airport in a presidential jet today, from where an air force helicopter would take him to Damaturu, capital of neighbouring Yobe State. Jonathan is scheduled to inaugurate the state university, the dual carriageway ring road, 300 housing units and an ultra-modern hospital before returning to Maiduguri in the evening to pass the night.
Tomorrow morning, the President will pay a courtesy call on the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai El-Kanemi, before inaugurating some projects executed by the state government. The visit will end with a town hall meeting with members of the Borno Elders Forum, religious and community leaders as well as other stakeholders.
News Express learnt that nothing has been left to chance to secure the two states ahead of Jonathan’s visit so as to thwart any attempt by Boko Haram to embarrass him or the nation. “I’m petrified. I am in Maiduguri and just coming out of a security briefing. There’s palpable tension ahead of Pres GEJ’s visit,” said Leon Habby, one of the journalists covering the visit.
In the case of Yobe, the state Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Sanusi Rufa’i, said: “Teams of riot policemen have been deployed to the state to reinforce the security. We are determined and working towards a peaceful and hitch-free presidential visit to the state.”
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, is personally supervising security arrangements after deploying about 3,000 policemen for the visit.
With the tight security in place, it would be suicidal for anyone to attempt any terrorist attack in the Borno/Yobe axis over the next two days.
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