Governor of Borno state, Babagana Umara Zulum has raised the alarm that the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents were recruiting fresh members, mostly from the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Zulum, who revealed this in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service monitored by our Correspondent in Kaduna, noted that the insurgents are working on people to join them and it’s becoming frightening.
He said the security situation was improving in Borno state, but there is still danger as the Boko Haram elements were still in their hiding place, while the IDPs are exposed to the temptation to join if their desire to return to their homes and farms were not met.
According to him, “The sect members are hiding at the Lake Chad area and the Sambisa forest. There will still be a problem unless they are traced to their hiding places. Chasing them away from their headquarters is one of the solutions towards ending the insurgency,” he said.
Zulum however, observed that chasing the Boko Haram elements from Sambisa needed support form Nigeria’s neighbors. However, the governor explained that to successfully go into the lake Chad basin and Sambisa forest, it required the cooperation of the countries that share borders with Nigeria in the area.
On whether the Insurgents still occupy some places in Nigeria, he said, “truly, there is no place under the occupation of Boko Haram. But there are places with no people there. What I mean is that people are yet to return to their places of origin.”
“I swear by Allah, before the coming of Buhari, the security situation in Borno had deteriorated; at that time, 20 local government areas where under Boko Haram, now, it’s not so.”
Asked when Boko Haram will end, he said there are thousands of people in different IDP camps in the state. “One surest way to end Boko Haram is ensuring a good relationship between the military and civilians.”
“I keep on saying wherever you go, you will see the military and vigilante together. But what I am saying is that the military should provide protection to the civilians to enable them to return home and go back to their farms.”
He said the military is doing their best. “But what is disturbing us is, when shall this war with Boko Haram come to an end?.” Commenting on the Baga attack on his convoy, he reiterated that it was sabotage.
He said although he did not mention the name, whatever is done to hinder the fight against Boko Haram is an act of sabotage including failure to use money and buy arms.
Rise up to security challenges, Defence Minister tells Service Chiefs
Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, has charged Service Chiefs and heads of security agencies “to raise the bar of patriotic service to the nation.”
According to Mohammad Abdulkadir, media aide of the minister, Magashi spoke during an occasion to mark his one year in office.
Abdulkadir said the minister expressed commitment to building a “robust defence sector that will usher in sustainable peace and security in the country”.
“General Magashi was emphatic in his resolve to continue to sustain the momentum of what he called the irrevocable task of building a robust Defence Sector that will usher in sustainable peace and security in the country,” Abdulkadir said in the statement.
“He paid glowing obeisance to the President Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari and thanked him for the opportunity given to him to serve the nation as Minister of Defence. He considers his task as work in progress in the delivery of his mandate in the years ahead.
“Attesting to the unabated support of Mr President for the Armed Forces to enable them end insurgency and banditry in the country, he expressed optimism that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“He enjoined the Service Chiefs and heads of other security agencies to continue to raise the bar of patriotic service to the nation, emphasing that security is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians.
“He thanked Members of the Nigerian Armed Forces and stakeholders in the national security callings for being parts of the success story of his 365 days in office.”
Although Buhari has refused the pressure to fire service chiefs, the president has told them on different occasions that their best is not good enough.