Borno State governor, Babagama Umara Zulum, has passionately appealed to the National Assembly to put in place practical measures that would save his people from the agonies of Boko Haram insurgents and permanently end the menace.
Zulum specifically called on the lawmakers to give the military high command the latitude to recruit into the army indigenes of the state willing to defend their communities.
The governor said this when a nine-man House Committee on Defence paid him a commiseration visit at the Government House, Maiduguri, accompanied by the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiyà Dole, Maimalari Cantonment Maiduguri, Major-General Olusegun Gabriel Adeniyi, and other senior military officers.
While lauding the Federal Government and the nation’s military for their assistance and support to the people and government of Borno State since the insurgency broke out, particularly between 2015 and 2017, Zulum said, “I thank you for the visit and interface with the government with a view to finding lasting solutions to the lingering crisis. I have mentioned it severally. We acknowledge the fact that federal government and Nigerian military have done well between 2015 and 2018.
“I even said it long ago that there is however a demarcation, a very distinct one between what happened and what is happening now. There is a difference in the manner the military operated years back and how they are operating today. There is need for re-strategy.
“Hitherto, Borno State has suffered greatly. Thousands of people have been displaced, lots of property destroyed, 20 local government areas were displaced, all roads linking Borno State were closed or blocked. It is the right time communities should resettle. We acknowledge all the supports by the Federal Government and the military.
“We want the IDPs to return back to their communities. But notwithstanding the gains between 2018 and to date, we have experienced series of attacks. Therefore, the Federal Government and Nigerian military need to revisit the strategy of 2015-2017 so that we can end the insurgency and allow development to take place.
“What we should do is to take the fight to the enclaves. The communities are rendering information to the military to the best of my knowledge. Another issue is the commercial activities in the state, how it has been paralysed. There is no place for employment of the unemployed youths. No place for farmers to farm or farming.
“The military should initiate recruitment of youths into the Nigerian Armed Forces for the youths to be trained and deployed to fight the war. Fortunately, the Chief of Army Statff, COAS, is aware of the need for return of activities. We have discussed severally with COAS. He has lifted ban on fish farming recently. We have conveyed the massage to the fishermen. We intend to reach Damasak to allow them also to return to their fish farming.
“In Monguno, over 500,000 people have been displaced and are in IDP camps, in Niger Republic 120,000, in Cameroon Republic 68,000 and in Dikwa we have smaller number who are eager to return back to farm. In Dikwa they want to go back to their farmlands.”
Earlier, House Committee chairman, Hon. Babajimi Benson said, “We are here in Maiduguri to commiserate with you and people of Borno over the recent Auno Boko Haram attack.
“We are also on fact-finding mission of military operations and security challenges where we have met with the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiyà Dole and other senior military officers at the theatre command headquarters Maimalari Cantonment Maiduguri.
“He told us his version of the operations and challenges. We are now here to meet you to carefully listen to you to take notes and see how we can proffer solutions within the shortest time possible.”