Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to explore other options rather than the use of force against Boko Haram insurgents.
Zulum was reacting to Boko Haram fighters backed by the Islamic State West African Province earlier attack on least four Nigerian Army bases, raising concerns among the troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East.
The army had lost a yet-to-be-ascertained number of soldiers when Boko Haram fighters attacked its bases in the Mobbar, Damasak, Monguno and Gajiram areas of Borno State.
Zulum, who met President Buhari on Wednesday, when asked if he was concerned that Boko Haram was no longer dealing with soft targets but attacking military bases, said: “You are aware that some incidents occurred two, three days ago where about 40 people were killed in Konduga. By and large, we are aware of steps the president is willing to take that will virtually bring that issue to a standstill.
“But most importantly, there is need for the Federal government to also open other opportunities of bringing down the crisis rather than the kinetic force. It is also important for those people who have been forced to join the insurgency; if they are integrated into the society, I think this will be good.
“There is an existing policy within the military called Operation Safe Corridor just to strengthen the system. By and large, we are optimistic that Borno State will bounce back again.”
Speaking on the purpose of the visit, the Borno Governor said: “I’m basically here to discuss with Mr. President on how possible the Federal government can strengthen the current security situation on ground as well as strengthen the means of livelihood of the entire people of Borno State.
“Basically, we want to address the root causes of the insurgency, especially the issue of access roads, access to farm lands and the issue of strengthening the Civilian JTF and the military to do their jobs better than before.
On the recent attacks in the state and what the government is doing to fight insecurity the governor said: “The issue of security is not one you discuss anyhow. But the government of the state is collaborating with the military and other security agencies to ensure that the citizens are well protected.
“On my part, I am also trying to strengthen the locals to be resilient enough especially by providing them with logistics like vehicles and others so that they can undertake some surveillance to support the military.
“By and large, our discussions with the military have gone well and we are doing everything possible to ensure that stability returns to Borno State.”