Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State Thursday disclosed that over 10,000 Nigerian boys and girls were still being held by Boko Haram and indoctrinated with militant fundamentalism.
He stated that the terror group had also killed over 30,000 Nigerians and displaced more than three million others.
The Governor who made this known in Makurdi during a virtual presentation as guest lecturer at the 2021 Press Week/Lecture organized by Nigeria Union of Journalists, Correspondents Chapel FCT Council, with the theme: Insecurity in Nigeria: Restoring Peace, Unity and Progress.
The Governor stated that Boko Haram had been largely responsible for the insecurity in the North East geo-political zone for about a decade.
According to him, “the terror franchise is responsible for killings, rape, public executions, bombings of public and private property, and places of worship, robbery and mass abductions. These include the abductions of the Chibok girls (2012); Damasak school children (2015) and the Dapchi girls (2018) including Leah Sharibu who is still in custody.
“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.
“States that have been worst hit are Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna. Boko Haram seems to be gradually coalescing with these militants in this axis for a final showdown with the Nigerian State.
“Before the advent of Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism and other violent crimes were being perpetrated in almost all parts of the country. But the influx of foreign armed herdsmen into the country has led to the escalation of these criminal 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.