By Bode Olushegun
Governor Babagana Zulum has nicknamed Boko Haram COVID-2009, warning that the world should not allow the younger COVID-19 (coronavirus) to get them distracted from the older and equally dangerous.
The governor, in his fecilitation message on Saturday to Christians on the celebration of Easter, which marks the crucifixion, restoration and ascension of Jesus Christ, used the season to warn that notwithstanding the global focus on COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria and the international community must never lose sight of the Boko Haram insurgency, he referred to as an older coronavirus- COVID-2009.
The governor, in the message by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, said: “I warmly felicitate with our Christian brothers and sisters in Borno state and beyond, at Easter, which is a season we should recognize and imbibe selfless sacrifices and renew our hopes and convictions.
“While wishing all Christians a happy and memorable Easter, I share the pain, that the important Easter is being celebrated at this time that Nigeria, like many parts of the world, is battling to contain a pandemic caused by coronavirus disease. The Covid-19, first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, has so far caused the deaths of nearly 104,000 persons around the world from which Nigeria recorded 7 in mortality. Borno state government will remain relentless in fighting this dangerous and highly contagious disease through strict preventive and responsive measures.
“In the midst of the fight against Covid-19 however, there is the risk of stakeholders in Nigeria and the international community, losing focus on the fight against Boko Haram, which to us in Nigeria, is an older ‘Covid-2009-coronavirus‘. Although the Boko Haram, under its initial identity as Taliban, launched its first attack back in October 2003 around Yobe state, the group gained notoriety in July 2009 and since then, no one knows the exact thousands of persons killed by this dangerous ’Covid-2009’”
“The Boko Haram is equally contagious through the spread of violent ideologies and links with terror groups around the world. It is also contagious by creating permanent fear and agonies for millions of people. We cannot afford to be distracted. We must be simultaneous and consistent in applying and sustaining tough measures against Covid-19 and ‘Covid-2009’. With their proven evil mindset, Boko Haram insurgents would expect us to be carried away with Covid-19, so they can exploit the situation to make Covid-2009 worse than it already is. We must never let this happen” Zulum said as quoted in the statement.