From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri, Rose Ejembi Makurdi and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, has expressed his frustration over the incessant attacks on travellers and daily abduction of civilians by Boko Haram on the only major road in the state.
Zulum spoke in Jarkana on Maiduguri-Damaturu Road where Boko Haram had ambushed, shot and abducted some commuters last week.
On Friday, Boko Haram insurgents abducted 35 commuters near Garin Kuturu in Jakana on Damaturu-Maiduguri Road. Attacks on the road have remained almost on daily basis with scores of people killed or abducted.
Speaking when he visited the location of the attack, Zulum said majority of the attacks, within the last two years, happened between Auno and Jakana, a distance of about 20 kilometres.
He said he had, in the past, praised the military as moral booster to commanders and troops at the frontline but was disappointed the military failed to secure the people within a radius of 20 kilometres.
“I have had occasions to defend the Nigerian military in order to boost the morale of commanders and their troops at the frontlines because I know the true picture of things. However, I am really disappointed that despite all support from both the Federal Government and from us in Borno State, our military is failing to secure an area of 20 kilometres, which is the distance between Auno and Jarkana…So, if the military cannot secure 20 kilometres, how can they keep us with the hope they will defeat the Boko Haram?” he asked.
The governor also berated the special police team, Rapid Response Squad, established and funded by the state government to respond to such attacks in and around the capital as well as the major highway, a distance of about 80 kilometres. He said they have all failed to protect the people.
“We drove from Maiduguri to Jarkana here with all of you. We did not see soldiers on the road. We did not see even our own rapid response squad on this road and they were trained, employed, kitted and paid to protect Nigerians within the areas of their operations and these Nigerians, including travellers plying this busy and important road,” he said.
He assured the communities along the road that he would soon call a security meeting to review the situation on the highway and halt incessant attacks, killings and abductions of people by Boko Haram.
Buhari not leading from the front- PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari has not kept to his promise to lead from the front in the war against insurgency.
The PDP in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, accused the president of receding to the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock.
The party also berated the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the security challenges plaguing the country, saying the ruling party has allegedly failed to provide a governance strategy for the present administration.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to release N3 billion for the immediate commencement of local production of ﬁrearms and ammunition to combat insecurity in the country.
The House said the amount should be released to Defence Industries Corporation (DICON), Kaduna, and the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), Jos to produce arms locally.
The resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion by Ibrahim Halims at the plenary, yesterday, in Abuja.
Moving the motion earlier, Halims identified insecurity as the greatest challenge facing the country, saying parliament needed to come up with innovative legislative input to check it because of its negative effects on the socio-economic well-being of the country.
Halims said such input had become imperative to enable the executive arm of government to surmount the daunting challenge, especially given the fact that efforts by the government to import arms and ammunition from some western countries were often unsuccessful.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committee on Defence to coordinate the agencies of government involved and ensure compliance.
In a related development, Governors of the North Central states have appealed to the Federal Government to support the zone in its ongoing digital technology projects and other security preventive measures to fight criminality in the zone.The appeal, which formed part of the communique released at the end of a meeting of the North Central states’ governors in Makurdi, Benue State capital, yesterday, was chaired by Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello.It harped on the need for member states to collaborate in the provision of security equipment and joint security operations. The governors also advocated the establishment of military camps or training grounds in forests to block hoodlums’ movement, suggesting that the military units should be infantry heavy with adequate support weapons. They called for the resuscitation of peace and security committees at the local government levels to enhance quick decision on insecurity, crime prevention and detection.