BY ONYEKA AJUMOBI ONOCHIE
RBorno Governor, Babagana Zulum
Former Senate President States Why Boko Haram Still Thrives in Borno
Third Republic Senate President, Senator Ameh Ebute, has examined why Boko-Haram insurgency still persists in the country, especially in the north eastern state of Borno, blaming it on lack of collaborative efforts among Nigeria’s political class, and not military conspiracy as many were inclined to believe.
Stating this in a position paper sent to the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) during the week, Ebute observed that while the threats of Boko Haram and its allies such as ISWAP have almost disappeared in neighbouring states of the region, it persists in Borno on account of the unwillingness of political leaders for a collaborative support with the military, particularly urging the NGF members to call their counterpart from Borno, Babagana Zulum, to order, in order to give peace a chance.
The administration of Zulum, he said, has utterly lacked the ingredients of mutual coexistence with relevant authorities towards ending the Boko-Haram menace.
Ebute said: “If the truth must be told, with the way the political authorities in the state are treating the threats posed by Boko Haram, we might experience the worse soon,” adding, “in our opinion, it is an anomaly to assume that the task of securing Borno State is the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government alone.”
According to him, “The case of Borno State is unfortunate because it has remained the unresolvable base of the insurgency not because the Federal Government has not lived up to expectations, but because the current government in the state has not deemed it necessary to support the military in their operations.
“Has the state government been cooperative with the military authorities towards ending the Boko Haram scourge? The question is because all we see in the media is either the state Governor is attacking military commanders at checkpoints or his deputy speaking to our selfless men and women in a very derogatory manner.”
On this note, he counseled Zulum to imbibe good leadership examples from governors of neighboring states of Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi, States, “all of whom have always been on the side of the troops.”
The former Senate President noted that lack of needed collaboration from the governor has, in the main, dampened the morale of the troops and consequently, gingered continued out-of-control criminal activities.
He stressed: “The governors of Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa and Gombe States have, indeed, set examples worthy of emulation for their continuous support towards ensuring there is no resurgence of Boko Haram in their domains. This, they have achieved, by working day and night with the military,
“Governors as Chief Security Officers are aware that resources are needed in security operations. As such, they must advocate for more resources for the military to aid their operations,” he further stressed, adding, “the military must be encouraged and appreciated to continue to give in their best in the task at hand, even as the psychological implication of these cannot be overemphasized.”
Just last week, Gov. Zulum had accused the military of sabotage following the attack on his convoy by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
His convoy was ambushed by purported Boko Haram terrorists during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration on his way to Baga to distribute food items to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), following which the governor had accused the military of responsibility on account of complacency.
But in a quick reaction, the Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, had refuted the governor’s claim, emphasizing that the Defence Headquaters had investigated the allegation and found it to be false, noting that the attack was not a military sabotage, neither was it a case of complacency.
This was even as a civil society organisation, Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ), had also called for thorough investigations to get to the root of the matter. Its National Coordinator, Barrister Charles Timothy, in a statement on Monday, had said, “it is paramount to ascertain the real event in Baga to avoid falling for propaganda, as the governor’s claim that the military was responsible is bogus.”