Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has administered oath of allegiance on 500 local hunters newly recruited to work hand-in-hand with the soldiers to fight Boko Haram.
The governor made the hunters swear to an oath to elicit trust and build confidence among the combatants in the task to return the state to orderliness. At a ceremony at the Government House, the governor presided over the administration of oaths of allegiance, using the Quran and Bible based on the faith of the hunters.
After taking the oath, the governor allocated operational vehicles to the hunters and assured them of timely payment of their monthly allowances.
He equally donated hundreds of bags of food items to support their families.
Leader of the traditional hunters, Mai Durma, said: “May anyone who reveals our strategy to Boko Haram or betrays allegiance to the military and government in anyway be consumed by this oath.”
He warned the hunters to be mindful of what they swore to and commit themselves to efforts to regain peace in the state.
The hunters, versatile in traditional fighting skills, were made to undergo thorough background screening for months.
Governor Shettima told the hunters that they were deployed due to the renewed attacks by insurgents in some parts of the state.
He added that even though there was no doubt concerning the sincerity of the traditional hunters selected, the oath was to eliminate any doubt which could arise especially since unlike the Civilian JTF who have worked longer with soldiers, engagement of the traditional hunters was comparatively new.
Earlier, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaka Shehu Lawal, who is a member of the state’s security council and whose ministry coordinates counter insurgency volunteers through a department of civil rights protection, recalled that “couple of months back in one of the councils meetings attended by heads of military, police, DSS and other para-military formations in the state, the council resolved to engage 500 gallant traditional hunters to complement efforts of our security forces” and in furtherance, selection and screening was also done through the leadership of the traditional hunters.
“It is in view of the security council’s resolution that we present to you these set of gallant hunters for inauguration” Shehu told Shettima.
The leader of the hunters assured of his members’ combat readiness and allegiance to the Nigerian Army and Government as they offer to fight in defense of Borno people and Nigeria’s sovereignty.