Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima has described the ‘cordon and search’ on the biggest premises of United Nations in Maiduguri by soldiers as regrettable.
The incident, which took place on Friday, had raised concerns among members of the international community with the UN directing its humanitarian workers operating in the state to remain indoors.
On its part, the military said the operation was “a week long search operations for fleeing Boko Haram terrorists conducted on 30 houses in different areas, one of which included a property occupied by the UN around Pompamari”.
Governor Shettima had consequently convened an emergency meeting of the State Security Council which was attended by heads security agencies in the state as well as the UN deputy humanitarian coordinator, Mr Peter Lundberg.
Mr Lundberg, however, noted that in spite of the incident, UN’s relationship of trust and collaboration with the government of Nigeria remained intact.
In a statement signed on Saturday by his spokesman, Isa Gusau, Governor Shettima said the search was a setback on the well-established relationship with the UN.
According to the statement, the governor was worried and had to place a phone call with the UN Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), Amina Mohammed.
“In their conversation, Shettima reassured the DSG of his government’s commitment to safeguarding humanitarian workers and ensuring that international protocol was restored by all security agencies,” the statement said.
The Governor also convened an emergency security council meeting which in addition to heads of security establishments, was attended by the Deputy Governor of the State, Secretary to the Borno Government, as well as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
At the meeting, both the military and the UN officials discussed their areas of concerns with the governor ensuring that the UN was fully reassured of diplomatic protection and protocol.
The meeting later agreed that as a sign of good faith, all members of the State Security Council jointly pay a visit to the UN property that was searched on Friday to deepen the relationship.
The visit was also to send a message of synergy to rebuild public confidence in humanitarian workers at the UN rented property and those operating in other parts of the state.
“The meeting took measures to forestall a repeat of Friday’s incident in line with the international diplomatic protocol which confers diplomatic privilege on UN premises all over the world.The meeting agreed to deepen
“The meeting agreed to deepen the relationship between security agencies and international partners operating in Borno State for the good of residents,” the statement added.