By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum has appealed to the Federal Government to consider the option of seeking military support from the neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon Republics for a big onslaught that could bring insurgency in the North Eastern Nigeria to a conclusive end.
Prof. Umara Zulum who was the chairman of the 4th routine Northeast Governors’ Forum meeting held in Bauchi on Wednesday, also wants the federal government to involve the use of mercenaries towards ending the insurgency in the North in particular and the country at large.
Zulum drew the attention of participants at the Bauchi meeting that include British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs. Catrina Laing and elder statesman Muhammadu Bello Kirfi, that unless the insurgency is totally subdued, all developmental efforts by governments in the Northeast geo-political sub-region would be futile.
He emphasized the need for the Federal Government to seek support from mercenaries to enable it win the terror war in the country, taking into consideration the inadequacy and incapability of the Nigeria’s military might to fight the terrorists to submission.
The forum 4th meeting chairman also advised the federal government to as a matter of urgency, convert all boarding schools in the entire North to day schools as a result of incessant abductions of the students, attributable to insecurity in the schools as demonstrated in Katsina, Niger and Zamfara mass abduction.
Governor Babagana Zulum who noted that the country is fighting a war it cannot win alone, lamented the devastating effects of acts of insurgency in Borno State as the theatre of the war, regretting that for seven weeks now the entire state capital has been cut off from the national grid of electricity power supply due to the damage done to the mainline of supply.
The Governor who intensely looked disturbed over the security challenges, called for action by governments at all levels particularly the North-East subregion which is mostly affected by the terrorism acts, saying the current escalation of deadly attacks by terrorists has some limitations in terms of the expected impact, hence the need for a pragmatic and result-oriented initiative to completely subdue the terrorists.
Zulum unequivocally said, “The Federal Government should seek for support from neighbouring countries such as the Republics of Chad, Cameroon and Niger with a view to providing a joint action team that will look into the possibility of ending this crisis”.
“Federal government has to look into the possibility of involving mercenaries with a view to ending this insurgency because it seems that the commitment is not there. Therefore, for us to end this insurgency, we must be committed enough, we must bring in external support to ensure that mercenaries are hired to end this insurgency”.
It would be recalled that in the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency when 21 LGAs of Borno state were captured by the insurgents and hoisted their flags at the LGA headquarters, mercenaries were hired by the immediate past government of Goodluck Jonathan, but eventually with the inception of the present administration, the mercenaries were pulled out of the support.
The Forum chairman also stressed the need for the country to reconsider the possibility of forming a security outfit within the ambit of constitutional precedent and operational feasibility as has been done in other parts of the country, and advised the new Service Chiefs to device new strategies to counter the attacks of insurgency and forestall any future acts of terrorism in the sub-region.
The meeting host Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed had in a welcome address, stressed the need to stand up and fight the insurgency war with all vigour in a manner that, “The insurgents when defeated will not be able to regroup again, then peace will return to the sub-region.”
Governor Bala Mohammed added, “Our fight against insurgency must be total because by the time Maiduguri is subdued, then we are not safe here too. Security infrastructure must be put in place to be able to fight this war considering the sophistication of the terrorists.”
Mohammed contended, “We will not just sit down and watch when terrorists will overrun us, we must stand up to fight them, chase them away and ensure that our areas are well secured. We must do everything possible to protect our people from the terrorists”.
He concluded, “If we must be honest, the public opinion at the moment is that we have failed, that many of our people have resorted to self-help in order to get away from this despondency. We must accept the fact that the over-centralization of the security arrangement is an obsolete school”.