By Michael Olugbode
Less than 24 hours after the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, attacked the military for not doing enough to check the rampaging Boko Haram terrorists in the state, he yesterday gave gifts to soldiers for gallantry in the commercial town of Bama.
Zulum’s gesture comes a day after he tongue-lashed the military for the inability to secure a 20 kilometers section of the Maiduguri-Damaturu-Kano highway.
The governor had on Monday during a visit to Jakana along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway come hard on the military and other security agencies for allowing about 35 commuters to be abducted by Boko Haram.
He had questioned why the military should be trusted to defeat Boko Haram if they could not secure the section of the highway.
But in a twist on Tuesday during a visit to the headquarters of 151 battalion at Banki junction in Bama, he announced a Christmas package for each of the over 700 soldiers and their officers, for gallantry and standing toe to toe with Boko Haram, and remaining undefeated.
Zulum on arrival at Bama entered a closed-door meeting with the Commander of the 21 Special Armored Brigades, Brigadier General Waheed Shaibu, and Commanding Officer of the 151 Battalion, Major A.A Umar.
He subsequently addressed the troops, saying that: “On the basis of fairness, I treat everyone or group on their own merit. While we have challenges in some areas, we have successes in others, and one of those areas is this 151 battalion because you have never been defeated by the Boko Haram since formation.
“This battalion has largely stabilized all the areas under your jurisdiction here in Bama. I am principally here to on behalf of Government and the people of Borno State, once again, register our appreciation as I have done here before and as often do to other battalions and their brigades across the State.
“All of you have been very gallant and patriotic. We acknowledge all your sacrifices and we also know that you all operate under difficult conditions in different operational locations. We came with our widow’s mite. Food will come your way and I have given a message to your commanders which will reach each one of you.”
He added: “Nothing can compensate for your sacrifices. We are grateful and we pray that Allah continues to protect all of you here and all our troops and volunteers and sustain your strength to remain undefeated. May God grant us permanent peace in Borno and Nigeria in general. God bless you all.”
Meanwhile, the governor has directed the construction of a housing complex in Bama.