Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State on Friday signed an agreement with 30 Saudi-based clerics who are residing in the city of Makka, the seat of Islam’s holiest mosque, to endlessly pray for the return of peace in Borno, a government statement said.
The governor, who has been in Saudi Arabia since last week, had the agreement sealed with the 30 clerics whose responsibility, henceforth is to offer prayers and perform daily tawaf (circulation) around the holy Kaaba.
Muslims believe that prayers offered in the holy mosque of Kaaba are speedily granted.
The North East state has been tormented by Boko Haram insurgency since 2009. More than 20,000 people have been killed by the terrorist group while millions have been displaced.
The Borno governor’s quest for spiritual intervention in the unending conflict came days after the Nigeria Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Butatai, declared that ending Boko Haram now more requires spiritual intervention.
Some Nigerians ridiculed the remarks, highlighting its contradiction to the government’s position that Boko Haram has been defeated.
The governor’s spokesperson, Isa Gusau, said all the 30 clerics are of Nigerian origin — from Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, Kano and parts of the northwest — and have been living in Makka for decades where they devoted themselves to prayers by spending hours at the Ka’aba.
Mr. Gusau said, “An old man amongst them is said to have remained a Ka’aba devotee in the last 40 years.”
“The Ka’aba is Islam’s holiest area located inside the grand Al-Haram mosque in Makkah,” he said.
Mr. Gusau described the governor’s action as a “critical move.”
He said the aim is ” to combine different approaches that include sustained support for the Nigerian Armed forces, aggressive mass recruitment and equipping of more counter-insurgency volunteers into the Civilian JTF, hunters, and vigilantes as well as socioeconomic approach in enhancing access to education, job opportunities and providing other means of livelihood through social protection initiatives.”
Mr Gusau, who was present during Governor Zulum’s brief interaction with the devotees on Friday evening around the Ka’aba, said “the governor was there to convey his deepest gratitude and to seek continued prayers. ”
“Rather than sending anyone, I am here to, on behalf of the good people of Borno State thank you so much for your empathy and the compassion in devoting yourselves to praying for us every day at the Ka’aba which for us as Muslims, is the most sacred place ,” Mr Zulum was quoted in the statement.
“We need these prayers more than ever before. We are handling our problems from different approaches. Prayer is key in everything that we seek. We will continue to seek prayers from many fronts. We will keep supporting our clerics of different faiths in Nigeria for the same prayers and we will seek the same from all of you that are always here around the Holy Ka’aba.
“I basically will beg that you continue to pray for us towards achieving three things: first, for us to regain peace in Borno State, all of the north and Nigeria in general. We will have to continue that prayer on a permanent basis because we need the peace that will be sustained.
“Secondly, we need prayers for us to achieve our ambitious plan for Borno state and lastly for Allah to make us remain focused and not to get carried away by the power,” Governor Zulum told the devotees.
The Governor returned to Nigeria on Saturday.