Borno Governor Meets with Buhari over Upsurge in Boko Haram Attacks

Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum
  • Demands tougher military action  
  • Army develops mobile fighting units

Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja over the spate of attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the state.

Three local governments in the state – Konduga, Gubio and Magumeri – were in the last one week, attacked by the insurgents who killed some of the villagers and destroyed their properties.

The governor, in a press release by his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, was said to have had one-on-one meeting with Mr. President at the Aso Villa in Abuja.

Gusau said the meeting was at the governor’s instance, and was held after the Juma’at prayers. 

The spokesman said that at the meeting, the Borno Governor gave security updates, in the aftermath of the attacks carried out by the insurgents on Wednesday night in Gubio and Magumeri local government areas as well as Thursday attacks in Wanori, Kalari and Dori villages of Konduga.

He noted that the meeting identified measures being adopted by the federal government, with assurances of continued strengthening of ongoing efforts towards enduring peace and stability in Borno State and the rest of the northeast. 

A source close to the Borno governor disclosed further that he also pleaded for tougher military action against the terrorists to checkmate them.

Gusau noted the governor who left the Villa at about 4pm had on Thursday met with the Vice President over the same issue. 

He said the governor took advantage of his participation at the National Economic Council meeting at the Villa, to meet the Vice President on the sideline. 

Gusau recalled that the governor was twice in Gubio on 11th and 14th August over issues of security.

He said during the visit, the governor met with the then Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Benson Akinroluyo and Commander of 5 Brigade in charge of Gubio.

According to him, the commanders, at the meeting, gave assurances of sustained military presence.

Meanwhile, the military yesterday said it was going after the economic lifeline of Boko Haram as parts of the new strategies to bring the terrorist group on its knees.

The military equally said part of the new strategies put in place to combat the terrorist group was a roving military force instead of stationed troop.

Speaking to journalists in Maiduguri during the destruction of vehicles, fish, and hides and skin seized from transporters believed to have been trading with the Boko Haram group, the Head of the military counter-insurgency operation in the Northeast (Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole), Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi said that the military had not relocated from any of the towns in Borno.

He explained that rather the military had vacated the trenches and reduced the road blocks and in its stead, evolved mobile units where the troops are always moving and roving the troubled areas with the preparedness to counter and attack any threat.

Adeniyi said the military had found out that the stationed formation made it easy for the insurgents to attack military facilities, adding that with the latest strategy, the insurgents are in for a surprise.

The Theatre Commander said they could now easily “take up the insurgents by surprise and are now more alive to give the insurgents good fight.”

On the need to quickly resolve the crisis, he said the insurgents had a running economy and this must be crushed in order to cripple them.

He noted that fishery in the Baga axis of the Lake Chad was hitherto banned and it must be enforced to stop finances to the terrorist group.

He decried the attitude of some traders and commercial vehicle operators who transport the insurgents’ fish to the markets.

Adeniyi noted that the insurgents engaged in fishery and skin trades in complicity with some members of the society.

“Boko Haram insurgents have a running business to generate money to fund their dastardly activities.

“We fully recognise fishery industry in Nigeria but the fishery done by Boko Haram is to create confusion, continue insurgency and destruction of the northeast.

“Anybody who allows his horse or camel to carry fish for the Boko Haram, you are part of the insurgents because you are aiding them and an enemy of the state,” he said.

Adeniyi revealed that four vehicles conveying insurgents’ fishery products were seized on Maiduguri-Ngala Road by operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

He explained that the military had also seized fertilisers, metal and welding equipment from the insurgents’ logistics suppliers, adding that the items were being used by the insurgents to produce Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The commander called on the people and the Nigeria Union of Transport Workers (NUTRW), to sensitise their members on the need to desist from transporting goods for the insurgents, warning that such vehicles would be seized and destroyed.