President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital yesterday from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to commiserate with the state government and families of victims of last Sunday’s attack on travellers by insurgents in Auno, where 30 people were killed.
Buhari was in Addis Ababa to attend the African Union (AU) Summit.
The president assured the people that more proactive and decisive measures would be taken by the federal government to end the Boko Haram menace once and for all.
He said that intelligence sharing and synergy among the law enforcement agencies as well as the civil populace were critical to accomplishing the task.
Buhari said: “I assure you that improvement in security will be pursued vigorously. The military will work harder and strategise with tactics to deal with the insurgents. This is, however, not possible without good intelligence and cooperation with local community leaders.
“Boko Haram cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing because traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.
“I want to call on the leadership at various levels to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens,” the president said.
“We will do our best and I hope history will be kind to us; to recall what was on the ground when we came and what will be on the ground when we leave,” he added.
President Muhammadu who was at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, His Royal Highness Abubakar Ibn Umar Gabai, accompanied by the state governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, sympathised with him and other victims of the attack, and prayed for the repose of the soul of the victims.
In his remarks, Governor Zulum thanked the president for identifying with the state in its trying time. He praised the efforts of the military so far and wondered why some people would be comparing the security situation now with what obtained before the Buhari administration came on board.
“Roads were closed, there were sporadic bombings everywhere even within the metropolis. Close to 20 local government areas were under Boko Haram. We are surprised that there seems to be resurgence in 2019,” he said.
The governor tasked the military to learn from their successes, especially between 2015 and 2017, take the battle to the insurgents and push them to the fringes of Lake Chad.
He also urged the security agencies to be patient with the civilian populace and give opportunities to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to access their communities in order to return to their occupations.
Reps Want State Of Emergency On Security
In Abuja, the House of Representatives yesterday called on Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security in order to tackle the rising tide of insecurity across the country.
The lawmakers directed the military authorities to henceforth, quit detaining commuters overnight at a particular period on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road.
The call followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance on „Recent Attack by the Boko Harem Insurgents at Auno Village, Borno State“, sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno.
In his debate, Monguno, who informed that Auno Village is situated on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road, Bomo State, noted that due to the security challenges in the Northeast Zone, commuters on the road are compelled to suspend their journeys once it is 6:00pm.
He said:“The House is aware that Auno Village is one of the spots where the Nigerian Armed Forces instruct commuters on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road to spend the night before proceeding on their journeys the next morning.
“Again, be aware that on Sunday, 9th February, 2020, while commuters in their hundreds were waiting in the Auno Village, the military men left them to their fate or at best abandoned them.
“Disturbed while the commuters were waiting to spend the night, Boko Haram insurgents attacked, kidnapped and burnt some of their Vehicles,“ he said.
The lawmaker lamented that the occupants of two Hummer buses and one Sharon bus were kidnapped, 18 vehicles burnt and 30 people killed including an infant.
“Also concerned that no super military camp exists on the Damanturu-Maiduguri Road, hence exposing the commuters to the danger of being killed, maimed or kidnapped. Regret that keeping commuters in the night is dangerous in view of this security challenges in the Northeast zone of Nigeria,” he said.
In his contribution, the minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, reiterated earlier calls by the House for the sack of the service chiefs over their inability to tackle the incessant killings across the country.
“I still stand by that call that the service chiefs have overstayed their welcome. Our brothers and sisters who voted us in must be protected. Mr. Speaker, if care is not taken, one day our brothers will march in here and ask us to leave due to what is currently going on in the country.
“We cannot be repeating one thing every time. I still stand by the earlier resolution of the House that the service chiefs have overstayed their welcome and they must go,“ he submitted.
In adopting the motion, the House directed the military to allow commuters proceed on their journeys even after 6:00pm and establish super camps in Auno.
It further mandated its Committees on Defence and Army to ensure compliance and investigate while military personnel left the checkpoint.
Attacks, Another Evidence Of Failed Security Architecture – CAN
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned last Sunday‘s killing of 30 people in Auno near Maiduguri by terrorists and reiterated its call on President Buhari to
While commiserating with the families of the bereaved, the people of Borno State, Muslims including the state government, CAN in a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the special assistant on Media and Communications to the association’s president, said that it found it rather shocking and unfathomable the reported policy of the military that necessitated closing the only entry gate against civilian citizens commuting from security risk roads and areas into Maiduguri only to become cheap preys for blood-thirsty terrorists to slaughter.
CAN said that if the road must be closed, “why is the security protection not made available for the travellers who would arrived there after the closure? Was there any evidence that a thorough check was carried out on the travellers and their vehicles to confirm if they were armed?’’
It asked the military authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to the emergence of the gate instead of adequate provision of security on the road in order to stop the incessant invasion of Maiduguri and terror attacks in the area.
“That is why we salute the popular position of the state governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, who has been consistently critical of the failure of the army in stopping the menace of terrorism in the state,’’ it said.
The statement noted that the army and the federal government had severally told them that terrorists had been decimated, technically defeated and chased away from the country, yet, the terrorists have become even more daring in their deadly operations, consistently attacking communities, killing, maiming, abducting and burning property with minimal or without any resistance from the frontline troops.
The association said that the dastardly act was unacceptable and also condemnable.
Oladeji added that ‘’CAN has consistently maintained that the security arrangement in the country, especially in the Northeast, has been compromised and except the security system is completely overhauled, Nigerians will remain helpless and the federal government may never be able to contain the current nightmarish security situation.
‘’There is no doubt that sabotage and compromise are largely responsible for the prolonged terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen killing in the country, an allegation that has been confirmed by authoritative voices in the country‘s security circle at the highest level,’’ CAN said.
Troops Neutralise Terrorists, Capture Gun Trucks, Arms
Meanwhile, Troops of the Nigerian Army have neutralised several terrorists, captured gun trucks and cache of arms in different encounters with the Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast.
The Nigerian Army Operations media coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, said that on 9th February, 2020, troops of 25 Task Force Brigade deployed in Damboa in Borno State in conjunction with elements of the Civilian Joint Task Force while on a fighting patrol met with the remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State‘s West African Province criminals hibernating within their area of responsibility with gun trucks as well as motorcycles.
He said that during the encounter, several insurgents were neutralised while others escaped with gunshot wounds, adding that one Boko Haram fighter, Koise Bulama, was captured alive.
Other items captured included one Buffalo Gun Truck, one Anti-Aircraft Gun, three Machine Guns, two AK-47 rifles, 141 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, one suicide vest, one Improvised Explosive Device box, 10 motorcycles, one pumping machine and some mechanical tools.
In a related development, on the same day, troops of the 121 Battalion deployed in Pulka, Gwoza LGA of Borno State repelled an attack on its base and neutralised many terrorists.
He said that earlier on, during the night of 5/6th February, 2020, troops of 112 Task Force Battalion deployed in Ngwom in Mafa LGA of Borno State thwarted an attempt by the Boko Haram to infiltrate their defensive location.
The troops neutralised one of the infiltrators while many of them escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
Col. Iliyasu said that during the exploitation phase, the troops recovered one Baofeng Hand Held Radio, one Rocket-propelled gun bomb, 101 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition and two rounds of 60mm mortar bombs abandoned by the escaping criminals.
Also on 10th February, 2020, the troops of 212 Battalion deployed in Tungushe in Konduga LGA of Borno State encountered Boko Haram criminal elements mounted on six gun trucks within their area of responsibility.
After the encounter, three Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised while one Buffalo Gun Truck, one Anti-Aircraft Gun, two AK 47 rifles, two AK 47 rifle magazines and 60 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition were also captured from the insurgents.
“Regrettably, one gallant soldier paid the supreme price during the encounter, he said.
Similarly, on the same day, troops of 3 Battalion (Main) deployed in Rann in Kala/Balge LGA of Borno State repelled terrorists attack on its location in four gun trucks alongside a number of their foot soldiers.
The coordinator said that at the end of the encounter, the heroic troops neutralised two of the criminal insurgents and captured one General Purpose Machine Gun, one AK 47 rifle, one Baofeng Hand Held Radio and 33 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition.
Additionally, on the same date, troops of 21 Special Armoured Brigade deployed in Bama, Borno State conducted a robust clearance operation at Kote (a suspected Boko Harm criminal enclave) and destroyed all the structures within the vicinity.
The troops rescued seven women and nine children held hostage by the criminals while two Boko Haram flags, one motorcycle and one motorcycle engine were recovered.
In a similar vein, during a well-coordinated sting operation conducted by troops of 231 Battalion in conjunction with elements of 331 Artillery Regiment between February and 1 and 3, 2020, troops arrested 11 high profile Boko Haram/Islamic State‘s West Africa Province logistics suppliers within Biu LGA of Borno State.
He listed the suspects as Aminu Abubakar, aka Aminu Alhaji Habu, Gambo Abubakar – aka Gambo Alhaji Habu, Abdullahi Alhaji Habu – aka Audu Alhaji Habu, Zaradini Jafaru, Lawali Abdullahi, Lawali Sando, Sule Ahmadu – aka Sule Dan Kasa, Saidu Ibrahim – aka Saidu Doctor, Audu Haruna – aka Mainasara, Isiya Salisu, Usman Alhaji Ahmadu – aka Manu and Nasiru Mallam Abbas.
Also, on 10th February, 2020, following credible information about the criminal activities of some Boko Haram elements along Rail Line Auno – Jakana in Kaga LGA of Borno State, troops of 212 Battalion, cleared Lassa, Jewu, Wazilongla, Male, Rail Line Jakana-Maiduguri and other suspected Boko Haram hideouts.
During the operation, troops arrested one Boko Haram member named Umar Musa at an abandoned insurgents’ hideout. The troops discovered one abandoned Gun Truck at Jewu Village.
Northern Youths Ask President To Resign
Also yesterday, the Coalition of Concerned Northern Youths (CCNY) called on President Buhari to resign over the worsening security situation, particularly in the northern part of Nigeria.
“Now that the same insecurity problem is replaying itself under President Buhari, we are left with no option than to respectfully but vehemently call on him to honorably resign so as to give room for someone who has what it takes to address the security problem that constantly turns our nation to another version of Somalia“, the coalition said.
In a press release made available to LEADERSHIP by the national convener of the coalition, Comrade Muhammed Ishaq, he said: “We, as a coalition that represents millions of youths from various nooks and crannies of Northern Nigeria, are pained by the insecurity problem that threatens to consume our region, the North.
“The above call is made in the best interest of the nation having considered the fact that insecurity problem is caused and maintained by nothing but the failure of leadership,” he said.
The coalition said that “it is a glaring fact that security situation in Nigeria is seriously deteriorating and our agony as victims is aggravating. This lingering insecurity problem is one of the major reasons that made us to clamour for change and voted Goodluck Jonathan out in 2015.“
Take Steps to End Killings, PDP Charges Buhari
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also charged Buhari to go beyond his sympathy visit to Borno and take decisive steps to end the killings in that state and other parts of the country.
The party said that the booing of the president the state was a clear message to him that Nigerians hold him responsible for the escalated insecurity in the country.
A statement by the party’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the booing also showed a loss of confidence in the Buhari presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP demanded that the president should not limit his visit to Borno but to other parts of the country, including Kaduna, Kano, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Niger, Taraba and other states to face the feelings of Nigerians as well as view the national devastation his poor handling of security and infrastructure had caused our nation.
“The party hopes that the visit to Borno state, which came only after the PDP and Nigerians criticized Mr. President for his aloofness, particularly over the Auno killing on Sunday, is not part of the usual presidential media stunts that will not be followed with a corresponding action to track down killers and end terrorism,”he said.