Ahead of the December presidential deadline to rout out Boko Haram in the embattled northeast of Nigeria, the insurgents are still holding on to one out of the 20 local governments in Borno state.
The Islamists are in control of Abadam, a strategic local government zone bordering the Niger Republic.
The extent of the insurgents’ dominance has started emerging even as the government persistently underplays the danger.
Recent military exposes show that the insurgents had almost taken over the whole of Borno state with the control of 18 local governments areas.
The various local governments the group has captured in Borno has been despite the Nigerian military having a presence there.
However Borno State House of Assembly speaker Abdulkarim Lawan says “only” Abadam local government is not liberated. “I am sure they are going to liberate every local government in the state,” he says.
“Only one local government is yet to be liberated from the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno state out the 20 local government areas earlier occupied,” he confirmed on Thursday in a statement.
But he expressed optimism that the December deadline given by President Muhammadu Buhari to rout the Boko Haram insurgents would be met.
“Nineteen local governments [in Borno] are now in the control of the military. And the people are gradually returning to their homes in the affected areas,” noted Mr Lawan.
Boko Haram sect members first struck in Bauchi in 2009 in what appeared to be a protest against the local police over enforcement of the use of motorcycle helmets.
The deaths spiralled into a retaliatory riot in Maiduguri, Borno’s state capital, when the army was called in to intervene in the large-scale mayhem that followed.
The army successfully quelled the bloody riot and arrested the Boko Haram sect leader, Mohammed Yusuf, who was handed over to the police.
The extra-judicial killings of Yusuf and other arrested sect leaders sparked a full-scale insurgency that has lasted six years, in which more than 18,500 people have been killed and more than 1.5 million people displaced.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW