Borno Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has said there was need for change of strategies in the ogoing fight against boko haram.
Prof. Zulum made this declaration, at the Palace of the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi, on Wednesday, 12th February, 2020, in Maiduguri, when President Muhammadu Buhari had visited Borno to sympathise with government and people of the State, over the recent Boko Haram insurgents’ attack at Auno, in Konduga Local Government Area of the State, which had reportedly left 30 persons dead with 18 vehicles and houses burnt.
The Governor, who spoke in the presence of President Buhari at the Shehu’s palace during the condolence visit by the President, following boko haram attacks in Auno, however acknowledged the successes recorded by the same military in the state in the past.
Governor Zulum said: “Your Excellency sir, between the period of March 2019 to date we have started witnessing horrific and spontaneous attacks by the insurgents which has resulted into the lost of lives and properties of our people.
“We are calling upon the Nigerian military to change strategies and we can borrow a leaf from the success our military was able to hugely record in the years 2016 and 2017 with a view to ending the insurgency. We need to keep taking the war to enclaves of the insurgents in the fringes of the Lake Chad, in Sambisa forest and some notable areas” Zulum said.
Governor Zulum then commended the President for his commitment to ending the insurgency, even as he recalled the gains recorded in the successful years of 2016 and 2017 and also thanked him for being consistent in showing empathy to the people of Borno.
“Let me appreciate Mr President for associating with us at this our very trying moment. I am so surprised that we have forgotten the past” Zulum said.
The Governor, who noted that although he could not ignore the current unfortunate situation, however recalled that the people of Borno state still remember the days before Buhari’s emergence, when 20 out of the 27 local government areas in the state were in the hands of boko haram while all the five routes into Borno state were largely inaccessible with exception of Maiduguri-Kano road. In addition, he cited, sporadic bombings and killings even within the capital, Maiduguri.
“Close to about 20 Local Government areas were resettled under Buhari. In fact, in the year 2016/2017 we celebrated the demise of the Boko Haram insurgency that has unfortunately returned” Zulum said.
Addressing the Shehu of Borno, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed surprise at the upsurge in Boko Haram activities in recent times and lamented the continued operation of the insurgents in Borno State, despite military onslaughts.
His words: “I want to condole with the government and people of the state over the recent happenings in Borno. But stakeholders and communities have to key in for the government to end Boko Haram, even though terrorists are clearly on a back foot and their days are numbered.
“The peculiar challenges of asymmetric warfare notwithstanding, our armed forces are ever determined to defeat these enemies of humanity.
“As our armed forces continue to receive more hardware and intelligence to counter our current security challenges, the remnants of Boko Haram will ultimately be crushed.
The president, who wondered how Boko Haram insurgents have been surviving despite the security measures put in place, appealed to the people of Borno State to liaise with the military and other security agencies in the fight against insurgency in the state, stressing that cooperation will facilitate successful implementation of the counter-insurgency campaign.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) further reports that President Buhari in addition to calling for the continued cooperation of the people with the military, declared however that Boko Haram cannot strike without the cooperation of Borno leaders.
According to the President, Boko Haram insurgents or any of their factions cannot carry out attacks on the people without the supports of some of the locals and while sympathising with the government and people of the state over the Boko Haram insurgents’ attack which claimed many lives at Auno in Konduga Local Government Area, noted that the fight against insurgency could not be achieved without good intelligence and support of the people.
“Boko Haram or whatever they are cannot come to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.
“With my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up to this end.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I campaigned in 2015 and last year on three fundamental issues which include security as you cannot preside over an institution or a country if it is not secured.
“We are working for you in this country; as Commander-in-Chief, I am dealing with the security institutions and I believe there is an improvement in security.
“I urge the people of the state to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies; let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens and encourage displaced people to go back to their land.
“I assure all Nigerians that we are taking steps to ensure improvement in security, nationwide. In Borno the military will work harder to deal with the insurgents. I am also appealing to community leaders and the populace to give our troops the intelligence and cooperation needed,” the President said.
President Buhari then reiterated his commitment to ending the insurgency, fighting corruption and leading the country to economic recovery.
President Buhari, who also stopped over at the Presidential Lodge, Government House, Maiduguri during the one day visit to Borno State, commended Governor Zulum on his zeal and commitment towards the betterment of lives of the people of Borno State despite the security challenges.
Professor Zulum expressed gratitude to the President for the visit, even as he assured of his government’s commitment to supporting the security agencies to in the collective effort to end insurgency and the Boko Haram menace in the State.
The president was accompanied on the trip by the defence minister, the National Security Adviser, the governors of Imo and Cross River states, Hope Uzodimma and Ben Ayade, and other federal government officials.