60% of insurgents non-Nigerians, says Buratai
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
President Muhammadu Buhari has said climate change contributed to the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency, citing the Lake Chad region.
He disclosed this at the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco but added that Nigeria is taking urgent steps to combat adverse effects of climate change.
The president also reminded the gathering of the agreement signed at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, United States of America, that climate threats and security threats go hand in hand and called for concerted efforts on them.
“The Lake Chad Basin for example, has shrunk to a mere 10 percent of its original size, and this has seriously affected the livelihood of over five million people and contributed to the growth of insecurity in the region, including the emergence of Boko Haram as a terrorist group. Hence, the urgent need to resuscitate Lake Chad… We have also announced our plans to reduce emissions by 20 percent by the year 2030, with the intention of raising this target to 45 percent, with the support of the international community. This is one of Africa’s most ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – covering all emissions from all parts of the economy.
“This commitment comes from the recognition of the grave social, economic and environmental threats that climate change poses to humanity. In Nigeria for example, the impact is being felt by more than 2.1 million people displaced by devastating floods that the country has continued to suffer since 2012,” Buhari said.
He reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, and the clean up of Ogoniland.
Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Tukur Buratai, has said more than 60 per cent of Boko Haram fighters are not Nigerians, even as the insurgents have been described as international terrorists.
Buratai, who received the United Nations Special Representative and Head of the U.N. office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambers, at the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole, in Maiduguri, Borno State capital yesterday, said though insurgency started in Borno, but the current Boko Haram fighters are mostly non-Nigerians.
“Presently, 60 per cent or more of people involved in Boko Haram are not Nigerians. I can even testify by the number of insurgents that surrendered,” he said.
He added that “the earlier Boko Haram were Nigerians but many of those carrying out isolated attacks in recent times are foreigners suspected to be from neighbouring nations.”
Buratai, his commanders at the Theatre Command Headquarters and Chambers described Boko Haram as international terror group.
“Boko Haram is part of international terrorist group. The group has unleashed serious humanitarian catattophe on the people of the northeast States,” he said even as he commended the Nigerian military for stemming the activities of the insurgents.
In a related development, Boko Haram is now engaging in cattle rustling to raise fund. The fighters have also infiltrated some cattle markets in Borno with their agents to front for them and sell off rustled cattles. Three suspects have been arrested.
The state Commander of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ibrahim Abdullahi, told Daily Sun yesterday in Maiduguri that the intelligent unit of the command with other security agents recently arrested three suspected Boko Haram attempting to sell cattle believed to have been rustled by their commanders (amirs) at a cattle market in the capital city.
He spoke shortly after a meeting with the leadership of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Nigeria (MACBAN) at the NSCDC office to address the crisis in the cattle business in the state.