By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara, on Tuesday declared that the whereabouts of Boko Haram is known to everyone.
Umara said the whereabouts of “these criminals are known to everyone, the military, security agencies, the traditional rulers and most members of the public,” insisting that all we need is to take the war to their doorsteps.
Speaking in Maiduguri at the North-east Security Summit organised by the Office of the Inspector General of Police, hosted by the Borno State Government, the governor said to end this war, “we must take the fight to these criminals. The war should be fought at their doorsteps”.
He called on the governments in the region never to allow any of its citizen to be displaced by the Boko Haram terrorists again.
Umara said: “The whereabouts of the criminals is well known to all of us . It is well known to the Nigerian military, it is well known to the Nigerian police, the Civil Defence and the DSS.
“Therefore, the only solution is to take the fight to the corridors of the insurgents. Another most important thing we need to understand in the sub-region is the issue of restoring civil authority to the region.
“We have to understand that the absence of human population in some areas is largely responsible for the prolonged insurgency.
“Under no circumstances should the governor of any state in the North-east region allow any of the citizen to be displaced by Boko Haram terrorists again.”
The Borno governor expressed the readiness of the governments of the North-east region to support the Nigerian military and the police to ensure that the terrorists are defeated.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Yobe State Governor Mai-Mala Buni called for a fresh approach to the war by introducing dialogue, having tried military solution for so long without putting the crisis to bed.
Buni said: “But given the unique opportunity that this summit provides, it is pertinent to pause and reflect on how our collective journey has been in addressing our security challenges, and what new ideas we can test in order to fully restore peace and secure the lives and property of our people.
“First, we strongly believe that while the military effort to contain the insurgency is necessary, we must actively explore and engage in dialogue. As records show, no conflict of this nature anywhere in the world has ever been resolved solely by military means.
“As we transit to a post-insurgency era with the relative peace that our state now enjoys, there are emerging security threats that we are equally very concerned about.
“The rising cases of rape, kidnapping, robbery, homicide, conflict between farmers and pastoralists, and cattle-rustling are challenges we have to confront seriously.
“The Yobe State Government believes that we, as a people, cannot make meaningful socio-economic progress while these security challenges persist. We have to confront them.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, who represented the Senate President Ahmed Lawan at the Summit, said with the low budgetary allocation to the Nigeria military and the number of soldiers and officers in our military, the country may have shown that it is not ready to end this war soon.
Ndume, who said the Nigerian Army is just 154,000 soldiers and 6,000 officers, lamented that at present the nation needs a minimum of 400,000 soldiers.
The senator, who noted that nothing moves without safety and security, emphasized that this was the reason the constitution gave the task of security and welfare as the number role of government.
He said Nigerians would not bat an eyelid should the entire budgetary allocation be given to fight the raging insecurity in the nation.
He lamented that the budgetary allocation to fight the war in 2020 was just not enough, noting that at a meeting with the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, lawmakers on oversight duty were made to understand that with the needed equipment, the war would end in just three months.
Ndume asked what is stopping the government from doing this and letting us have our peace.
He assured the audience that the National Assembly is not only concerned about the situation in the North-east but is actively involved.
He called on the North-east Development Commission to ensure that the N35 billion appropriated to it is spent before December ending, calling on the managing director to address the problem affecting the people.
He asked that the Nigeria Police should also put its acts together, noting that the security and welfare of the people can only be guaranteed if the police and military are taken care of.
He called on the gathering and eminent persons to raise their voice in order to enhance the operational capacity of the security agencies.
Earlier in his address, the Inspector General of Police (IG) Mohammed Adamu noted that the phase of the security submit is the third in the series that have been convened with the support of governors and other partners.
The IG said in the two previous submits, security challenges that are peculiar to each of the zones were commonly discussed and at the end, new strategies in addressing them were evolved.
He said: “I am delighted to confirm that the strategies jointly developed at the submits in two geopolitical zones have been effective in addressing the security threats that are peculiar to each of the zones,” he said.
At the summit were Borno and Yobe governors, deputy governors of Bauchi, Adamawa and Gombe States.