Governor Zulum of Borno State, on Monday, told a Senate delegation led by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, and the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu that the numerical strength of troops fighting insurgents is lean.
The delegation met the Governor a few hours after troops engaged insurgents around Dalori Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp located on the outskirts of Maiduguri.
Governor Zulum stated that the soldiers fighting the war are inadequate, adding that “another huge setback is the issue of the numerical strength of the Nigerian military. The numerical force of the troops in the theatre is lean.
“Most importantly, we want a situation whereby our gallant civilian-Joint Task Force (JTF) can be massively recruited into the Nigerian military and other paramilitary to end the insurgency.
“Recruiting them is very critical because the essential thing is to gain commitment. We have a vast army of committed members of the vigilante and the civilian-JTF to end the insecurity and bring peace and stability to their fatherland,” Zulum said.
The Governor called on the Senate to also address the issues of funding for troops.
Zulum said, “another critical challenge facing the ongoing counterinsurgency war is the issue of funding of the military.
“Under no circumstance can a battalion operate successfully with a lean operational cost.
“We have many challenges, and one of them is that of the insurgents who are currently operating in the shores of Lake Chad and the Sambisa Game Reserve.
“The only solution to ending this insurgency is for troops to dislodge insurgents from their hideouts.
“Another most important thing is the collaboration between the government of Borno State and our neighbouring countries.
“I don’t think the government of Nigeria can succeed without the cooperation of our neighbouring countries,” he said.
The governor said that despite recent setbacks, efforts of the government have helped in “stabilising the security situation” in the Northeast zone.
Thanking the delegation for the visit, Governor Zulum, said Borno state would never forget the support and assistance it has received from the federal government towards restoring the peace in the state.
He added that there was no doubt that the federal government has helped Borno out of the pre-2015 days when Boko Haram insurgents were in control of most of the local government areas of the state.
He further said, “We need the support of the Chadian administration, with the support of the Cameroonian administration and that of Nigerien is needed to end this insurgency.”
Zulum also stressed that “lack of required synergy amongst the security agencies is a thing of concern to all of us.
“Most importantly, lack of technological war tools by the Nigerian army is a matter of grave concern to all of us.
“The military too must do all that it can to close the gaps of the existing trust deficit between it and the civil populace.”
“Let me extend my sincere appreciation to the federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for stabilising the security situation in the northeast subregion,” he said.
“We also appreciate the National Assembly for all the efforts that it has been rendering towards developing the entire northeast sub-region – particularly the establishment of the Northeast development commission.
“However, the recent spontaneous attacks in Borno state is a thing of grave concern to all of us. We cannot overemphasise the nexus between insecurity and development. If there is no peace, there won’t be security and development.
The governor noted that the people of Borno state are facing a grave challenge due to the renewed attacks by the insurgents.
“We need to address the root causes of the insurgency which are not limited to endemic poverty, poverty and illiteracy, unemployment, environmental degradation amongst others.
“Right now, the majority of our citizens have limited access to their farms,” he added,
Governor Zulum said without resolving these critical matters, he doubts “if we can make any progress” in the counterinsurgency efforts.
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