The Borno State Governor, Mr Kashim Shettima, could not hold back tears on Monday as he broke down before President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
The governor cried over the activities of Boko Haram insurgents in his state, which had witnessed a sudden rebound lately.
He shed tears before Buhari at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, urging the President to do all he could to stop the insurgents, who now attack communities at will.
The governor had gone to the Villa in company with Borno elders to meet with Buhari in order to seek further ways of addressing the resurgence in attacks by Boko Haram.
Others at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.); who is also from Borno State; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; acting Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar; and the Director General of the Department for State Services, Mr Yussuf Bitchi.
In his opening remarks, Shettima reminded Buhari of some resolutions reached at an extraordinary security meeting held in Borno State a week ago and the need to urgently implement them.
But, as he spoke, he became emotional and tears rolled down his cheeks.
He said amidst sobs, “Between 2013 and 2014, we witnessed the most daring and most vicious evil of the Boko Haram, losing 20 local government areas.
“However, we rushed here because of the recent upsurge in the activities of the demented monster called Boko Haram, especially in Borno North Senatorial District. We are here because since 2015, Mr President, you have been able to restore our hope.
“Sir, you have demonstrated empathy for Borno and the overriding commitment to ending the Boko Haram. This is why we rushed here on witnessing some setbacks.
“We are here because we thought that Allah will use you to fully reclaim Borno traditional glory of being the home of peace. We are here as a people who worked, prayed and waited for your Presidency in the firm belief that with you as the Commander-in-Chief, Boko Haram will become history in Borno.
“Mr President, we have not, and Insha Allah, we will not lose hope in you because we have witnessed and survived worse moments before you came. We do not feel hopeless. Our hopes are very much alive and they are very high.
“We came with some observations and 10 requests for urgent presidential intervention. These observations and requests are products of discussion in the aftermath of our extraordinary security meeting held one week ago.
“We didn’t rush to come after the meeting. We felt the need to travel to northern Borno, interact with displaced persons and the military so as to strengthen public confidence.
“I will seek the understanding of journalists by not making public any of our observations and 10 requests.
“They are matters of security which we hope to discuss with Mr President behind closed-door.”
As he continued to speak, journalists were asked to vacate the venue.
However, the Presidency, in a statement after the meeting, said Buhari reassured Shettima that his administration would strengthen the Nigerian military to neutralise the insurgents in the North-East.
The statement, which was signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, added that Buhari told the visitors that the security and safety of all citizens remained his primary concern.
The statement added that Buhari thanked them for their support in the anti-insurgency war.
Also in a statement in Maiduguri, Shettima’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, stated that the delegation presented the recommendations to the President.
According to him, the delegation presented a letter containing security-related “observations” and 10 undisclosed demands to the President.
He said the demands were connected to measures, which the delegation believed if adhered to, would help in the efforts to end insurgency in the area.