On the 4th of November 2011, the two major towns of Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe State were on fire following coordinated bombing and shooting attacks on police and other facilities in the State.
Residents of the two towns for several hours could not fathom what was happening as they ran in different directions for dear lives.
At the end of the pandemonium which were confirmed to have been attacks caried out by Boko Haram, no less than 150 persons lay dead and several buildings were razed.
As the Boko Haram terrorists were turning Yobe State upside down, its members were also causing havoc in Maiduguri as they attacked the convoy of the then governor, Kashim Shettima and two of their suicide-bombers attempted to blow up the military Joint Task Force headquarters in Maiduguri in a botched suicide attack on the same day.
All these happening in one day, gives an idea of the kind of terror the people in the Northeast part of the country were being subjected to before the coming of the current administration.
Markets, schools, worship centres and other public buildings became no go areas for several months for fear of bomb and gun attacks.
Those who have no compelling reasons to stay in any of the five Northeastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Yobe Stats hurriedly stalling economic activities in those states.
Access to education and medical care became a tall order as security even such places could not be guaranteed.
The Boko Haram were having a field day as they were even threatening to match to Abuja to bring down the central government.
The situation was so bad in 2011, that the Boko Haram terrorists had moved from attacking ordinary residents to threatening the highest symbol of constituted authorities in the states, the governors.
Spokesman for Boko Haram at the time, Abu Zaid, threatened that the Boko Haram would hunt down the governors of Borno, Bauchi and Gombe if they fail to apologise to them. “We would not relent in our efforts of searching for them until they come out publicly and apologize,” he was reported to have said.
Then Bauchi State governor, Malam Isa Yuguda and his former counterpart in Gombe State , Danjuma Goje were so stricken with fear that they had to buy spaces in national dailies to apologise to the terrorists as demanded.
The two publicly appologised Boko Haram, for any rights violations suffered during the military crackdown on its leaders in 2009.
Said Yuguda, “I apologise to the members of Jama’atu Ahlussunnah lidda’awati wal Jihad for perceived injustices caused them as they have the full rights to be protected by the law,”
While Goje said: “As a true Muslim, who believes in peace and brotherhood, I hereby tender my public apology to the organisation for any wrong done to it in the course of performing my duty as the then governor of Gombe State”.
The Borno State governor on his part offered amnesty to the terrorists as a way of placating them.
Adamawa too had its bitter taste of the nasty experience with frequent attacks and shootouts, bomb attacks on police stations, banks worshippers centers, etc..
But with the coming of the current administration the people of the Northeast no longer live in fear.
Adamawa has become safe and peaceful while economic activities and spiritual functions have resumed fully.
The people of Damaturu, Potiskum, Geidam and other towns constantly attacked y terrorists in the past, have put such gory incidences behind them.
The atmosphere of peace and calm is even more pervasive in Gombe and Bauchi states where the insurgents have been completely flushed out.
In most parts of Borno, normacly has also returned.
Most of the rural areas vacated for fear of attacks are now occupied.
The suicide bombers have been frustrated as their attempts have been detected and stalled.
Abduction of young women and girls at random has also been stopped.
The people of the Northeast are immensely grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari who made it a priority to secure and return peace to the terrorism ravaged states of the Northeast. Every time one travels to the Northeast, one cannot help but notice the hope on the faces of residents.
Haske a public affairs analyst wrote this piece from Yola.