Let’s battle Boko Haram with mercenaries – Zulum

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Drastic measures are needed in the fight against insurgency, including the use of mercenaries, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum said on Monday.

The governor, renowned for his radical ideas, listed other ways to stop the killings and ravaging of the Northeast by Boko Haram insurgents.

He spoke when a Federal Government delegation led by Senate President Ahmad Lawan, paid him a condolence visit.

No fewer than 43 rice farmers were killed by the Boko Haram insurgents in Zabarmari community in Jere Local Government Area of Borno on Saturday.

They were buried on Sunday, with the governor in attendance.

Also on Monday, bandits killed seven farmers and abducted 30 others in Katsina State.

Zulum recalled that the Goodluck Jonathan administration contracted a private army from South Africa, which helped in the recovery of some territories taken over by Boko Haram in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

He advised the government to take more serious measures to bring the crisis to an end.

The governor said: “One of our recommendations as possible solutions to end the insurgency is the immediate recruitment of our youths into military and paramilitary services to complement the efforts of the Nigerian forces.

“Our second recommendation is to engage the services of our immediate neighbours, especially the government of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, in clearing the remnants of Boko Haram hiding in the shores of the Lake Chad.

“Our third recommendation is for the President to engage the services of mercenaries to clear the entire Sambisa forest.

“Our fourth recommendation is for him to provide the police and the military, with armed resistant armoured personnel carriers and other related equipment.

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“We are also soliciting the support of the Federal Government to support the Borno State repatriation of out displaced persons currently residing in Cameroon and the Niger Republic.”

The governor called for a more coordinated approach in the fight against the insurgent.

According to him, there is a need for increased federal support for traumatised residents of Borno.

The governor’s admonition struck a chord with the President who said: “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake.

“I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.

“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.

“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.

“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly.

‘It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”

To Zulum, many of the attacks would have been avoided “if adequate support and infrastructure had been provided for the Northeast and the military”.

Borno roads, he said, have not been rehabilitated by the Federal Government in the last 25 years.

“If the Federal Government can fix the bad roads in Borno and the Northeast, the insurgency would be reduced by 60 per cent,” he said.

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Senator Lawan said the delegation was in the state to commiserate with the people over the unfortunate killings.

He said: “The government will do anything and everything until we take the fight against insurgency to their enclaves.

“In this regard, the government will continue to provide resources to our armed forces and other security agencies and also intensify bilateral and multilateral operations with our neighbours, particularly to ensure that the insurgents have nowhere to fight when they are chased out of our country.”

Zulum has been forthright in asking the government and military authorities to do more to end the insurgency.

In July, he accused the military of sabotage in the July 28 attack on his convoy.

The governor was on routine inspection when his convoy was attacked by suspected Boko Haram fighters between Baga and Munguno.

President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration would not rest until insurgents are flushed out.

Represented by his Chief of Staff Prof Ibrahim Gambari, the President described the massacre as the worst form of “senseless, barbaric and gruesome murder”.

Shehu, in a statement, quoted the President as re-committing himself to making more resources available to the military to prosecute the war.

Also on the entourage were National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and ministers of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello and Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami.

Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Baba Shehuri and the Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu were also present.

 

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