President Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday booed by residents of Maiduguri over rising insecurity and killings by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.
This is the first time residents of Maiduguri publicly directed their anger at the president.
Thousands of the residents who heard of the president's visit mobilised to the streets that led to the Shehu's palace ahead of his arrival.
Some of the youths lined up on both sides of the dual-carriage road while others climbed the pedestrian bridges near the city gate and others positioned themselves close to Ramat Polytechnic from where they expressed their displeasure as the convoy of the president made its way into the metropolis.
Buhari, along with some governors and top government officials, landed in Maiduguri, the state capital, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to pay a sympathy visit to the government and people of the state following Sunday's attack by the Boko Haram in which the terrorists killed over 30 people.
Terrorists loyal to Abubakar Shekau had on Sunday attacked stranded passengers who had passed the night at Auno, a community 25km away from Maiduguri, after the road was closed by soldiers who did not pass the night there themselves.
Some of the victims, including a mother and an infant, were reportedly burnt beyond recognition by a fire from a petrol tanker set ablaze by the terrorists while other people were abducted.
How 'angry' Borno residents received Buhari in Maiduguri
On arrival in Maiduguri around 1pm, angry residents expressed their disapproval of the current security situation by booing Buhari's convoy.
They shouted in Hausa 'Ba ma so,' meaning 'we don't like what is happening,' or 'we are not pleased with your visit.'
The president and his entourage were received at the airport by Governor Babagana Zulum, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, among others.
From the airport, they went straight to the Shehu of Borno's palace where they were received by the monarch, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai Ibn Umar El-Kanemi.
Buhari told the Shehu that he was in Maiduguri from Addis-Ababa to share the pains of the people following the incident in Auno and other attacks in the state. He said the fight against terrorism will be easier to defeat when leaders of the local communities provided security agents with accurate and reliable information.
President Buhari said: "This Boko Haram or whatever they are, cannot come up to Maiduguri or environs without the local leadership knowing because traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.
"So with my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up till now. We are working for you in this country. As commander-in-chief, I am dealing with the security institutions and I believe there is an improvement in security.
"I urge the people of the state to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies and let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens and encourage displaced people to go back to the land," he said.
Zulum: We must revive our successes against B/Haram
Also speaking at the Shehu's palace, Governor Zulum thanked President Buhari for identifying with the state in its trying times.
He praised the efforts of the military and wondered why some people were comparing the security situation now with what obtained before the Buhari administration came on board.
He, however, stressed the need for a change of strategy in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram. "Your excellency sir, we started witnessing horrific and spontaneous attacks by the insurgents from March 2019 which has resulted in the loss of lives and properties of our people.
"We are calling on the Nigerian military to change strategies and we can borrow a leaf from the success our military was able to record between 2016 and 2017 with a view to ending the insurgency.
"We need to keep taking the war to the enclaves of the insurgents in the fringes of the Lake Chad, in Sambisa forest and some notable areas," Zulum said.
We're disappointed Buhari did not visit us - Auno residents
Our correspondents report that residents of Auno had also expressed dismay that Buhari did not visit them. They had gathered at the scene of the attack anticipating his arrival.
Daily Trust reports that Buhari only visited the Shehu's palace and the government house in Maiduguri before he departed for Abuja around 4pm.
An Auno resident, Abdulaziz Kachalla, said his fellow residents were happy when they heard that the president had landed in Maiduguri but two hours later, they were sad when they realised that Buhari had returned to Abuja.
"I was surprised... How many minutes will it take him to come to Auno to commiserate with us?" he asked. "We are the real victims, he should have summoned the courage to come and also visit many other communities around here," the resident said. Also speaking, Usman Modu Auno, said: "At least Buhari should have come to see us even if it was for five minutes. Everyone would have been happy.
"Now that he came and went back without seeing the mayhem caused by Boko Haram; we have lost hope... We will continue to pray to Allah to liberate us," he said. Daily Trust reports that shortly after the president left Maiduguri, the Boko Haram insurgents launched an attack around Polo area in the state capital and injured four people.
What 36 govs, PDP, CAN say
Thirty -six governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), yesterday, expressed support for Governor Zulum of Borno State for demanding more responsibility from security agencies.
NGF chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, in a letter of condolence to Zulum, aligned with the Borno governor's call for greater responsibility on the part of the security operatives.
"I wish to whole-heartedly join the government and people of Borno State in this grief along with all of our colleagues and hope that the people are protected adequately that no further onslaughts ever occur again, not just in Borno State but in the country as a whole," he said.
However, the PDP yesterday asked President Buhari to go beyond his sympathy visit to Borno State and take decisive steps to end the killings in the North East and other parts of the country.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said the alleged booing of President Buhari in Maiduguri was a clear message to him that Nigerians held him responsible for the escalated insecurity in the country.
Also yesterday, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) called on President Buhari to overhaul the security architecture of the country.
The CAN President, Dr Samson Ayokunle, in a statement by his spokesman, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said: "The military authorities should investigate the circumstances that led to the emergence of gates for stopping commuters instead of adequate provision of security on the road in order to stop the incessant invasion of Maiduguri and terror attacks in the area."
How bandits killed 21 in Kaduna village
There was pandemonium yesterday at Bakali village in Fatika District, Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State when bandits stormed the area and killed 16 members of the same family and five others including members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF).
Our correspondents gathered that the bandits stormed the village on motorcycles around 4pm, shooting sporadically. They were said to have locked up about 16 members of the same family and set the house on fire.
Sources from the community identified the victims as Amina Musa, Fatima Musa, Hassana Musa, Ahmed Musa, Aisha Musa and Abdullahi Musa who were members of Alhaji Musa Nuhu's family. Others were the Imam of the Juma'at Mosque, Malam Hassan Ibrahim, his deputy, Abdulhamid Yakubu, Bilkisu Ahmed, Ummulkhairi Ahmed, Hauwau Ahmed and Fadila Ahmad among others.
According to a community leader, Alhaji Sani Nuhu Bakali, five members of the civilian JTF lost their lives in the attack. He confirmed that a total of 21 people were killed in the attack and had been buried.
Giving his account of the incident, he said; "On Tuesday after we had concluded the 4pm prayer, we started hearing gunshots and then we saw people coming into our community.
"We later realized that they were members of the civilian JTF; they told us that bandits were following them from the forest and before they could finish telling us what was happening, the bandits invaded the village".
The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Muhammad Jalige confirmed the incident but said the command was yet to ascertain the number of casualties in the attack.
Reps insist service chiefs must go
The House of Representatives yesterday reiterated the call for the removal of service chiefs.
The House also called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the security sector in the country. This followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Chief Whip of the house, Mohammed Monguno, at plenary. Monguno, in the motion entitled "Recent Attack by the Boko Haram Insurgents at Auno Village, Borno State" and adopted by the lawmakers, also said the military should be directed to establish a super camp in Auno. Leading his debate on the floor, which Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila presided over, Monguno said Auno village was one of the spots where soldiers instruct commuters on the Damaturu-Maiduguri road to spend the night and continue their journey the following day. Also contributing, the House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta), insisted that the service chiefs should be removed.
In its resolve, the house directed the military authorities to henceforth stop ordering commuters to break their journey at a particular period of the day on the Damaturu-Maiduguri road.
They also directed the military to allow commuters to proceed on their journey even after 6pm and mandated the House committees on Army, National Security and Intelligence to investigate the causes of the attack.