Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam
Says military lacks advanced weapons, communications apparatus •Laments huge state's expenditure on troops
By Michael Olugbode and Senator Iroegbu
Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, Friday said the federal government did not do enough in the last six months to normalise security in the three states where emergency rule was imposed in May.
He insisted that its extension on Wednesday, “without putting needed machinery on ground will be tantamount to motion without movement."
The governor also said the logistic support the state government provides to the security agencies on ground was taking a heavy toll on its finances and affecting its ability to meet other obligations. He said while the President had ruled out any compensation for victims of Boko Haram attacks, the state believes that a Marshall Plan-like intervention by the Federal Government, where special funds would be allocated for special empowerment and regeneration schemes, would do significant good to public confidence and boost the capacity of hardworking, innocent ordinary citizens to carry on with their lives.
Also yesterday, the Nigerian Air Force announced that it had made substantial progress in aviation research and development which has greatly assisted its aircraft deployed in the war against terrorists in the North East.
The Yobe governor in a statement by his media aide, Alhaji Abdullahi Bego, said he supported President Goodluck Jonathan when emergency rule was declared in May last year, because he believed that the measure was necessary “to allow for the deployment and use of all the elements of our military power to deal with the prevailing criminal and violent insurgency.”
However, he said: "Over the past six months, the efficacy of emergency rule has been demonstrably checkered. While the military and other security agencies on the ground have done and continue to do a commendable job in very difficult circumstances, insurgents and criminals are still able to carry out heinous and despicable attacks on innocent people. We still remember and mourn the innocent victims of attacks on our schools in Damaturu, Mamudo and Gujba towns.
“We cannot forget scores of other innocent victims who were killed, maimed or deprived of livelihoods by criminals and insurgents who have not a speck of respect or feeling for human life. And our people still continue to endure hardships as a result of the prevailing security situation."
The governor while noting that recent attacks across the North East could be used as a rationale for the extension of emergency rule, said, "It is time the federal government moves beyond nomenclature and actually addresses the ongoing senseless and violent insurgency as a national emergency.”
Gaidam said that in the wake of the College of Agriculture, Gujba attack in which about 42 young, bright and hardworking students were killed, he made a number of observations and appeals, which he still believes are pertinent now for the resolution of the crisis.
Said the governor: "The federal government should as a matter of urgency, provide security personnel on the ground in Yobe and other affected states with advanced weapons and communications apparatus to enable them track and hunt down all criminals and insurgents operating in the areas.
“As the Turaki Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee has highlighted, security agents on ground do not have the superior weaponry and advanced communications capabilities needed to counter and deal the insurgents the blow that every peace-loving and law-abiding citizen wants.
"Second, that the federal government should urgently review and upgrade the surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the security agents on ground, to be able to detect, prevent and bring to justice, criminals or insurgents bent on carrying out attacks or wreaking havoc on innocent people.
"Third, that the federal government should as a matter of high priority, deploy and maintain regular aerial surveillance and ground patrols along the major highways in Yobe and other affected states to track and nip criminal activity in the bud. Currently, many of the attacks on innocent people in the northeast took place in broad day light on the highways."
Gaidam also stated that the logistic support the state government regularly provides to the security agents in the state was taking a heavy toll on its finances and its ability to meet its other obligations.
Said Gaidam: “While the President has ruled out any compensation to victims of Boko Haram attacks, the Yobe State Government believes that a Marshall Plan-like intervention by the federal government, where special funds are allocated for special palliative empowerment and regeneration schemes, will do significant good to public confidence and boost the capacity of hardworking, innocent ordinary citizens to carry on with their daily rounds."
The governor emphasized: "Unless these measures are taken with the fierce urgency of now, an extension of emergency rule for another six months will simply amount to motion without movement."
Gaidam assured the security agents on the ground that his administration as well as all the peace-loving people of Yobe State “will continue to partner with and support them every step of the way as they carry on with their patriotic and courageous services to our nation.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force announced yesterday that its aircraft in combat operation in the North East were already benefiting from its recent breakthroughs in research and development.
Speaking to journalists yesterday at NAF Headquarters, Abuja, the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal Baba Abubakar, listed some of the ground-breaking inventions and innovation by the Air Force: "Prior to the coming of the CAS, we have relied on importation of Russian made Hydraulic Differ for the Mi24s and another one for Mi25. But now, all our helicopters are using locally produced ones. What we have produced now can be used in both Mi24 and Mi25 unlike before, because of slight modification."
Abubakar also disclosed that the Air Force had recorded another remarkable invention of more reliable card batteries for their aircraft, all locally made in Enugu.
Said Abubakar: “In addition, NAF in collaboration with Nigerian universities has been able to resolve data-gathering air craft cameras without foreign involvement and as well as to locally manufacture electrolyte in Markudi.
"Everybody in the Air force today is thinking or dreaming of research and development and we are happy because the new inventions are contributing to the economy since the companies like the one producing hydraulic in Ibadan, Oyo State are making some money.
"It is cheaper to produce with the little we have here than to purchase from abroad, which is costlier and time-consuming. It is more expensive to get this hydraulic from outside the country with each unit costing $6000, while that locally produced is N10,000. Time factor is also crucial as it takes a minimum of nine months to acquire new ones from abroad."