Nigeria: Borno 'Ready to Provide 50,000 Able-Bodied Persons' to Help Boko Haram Fight - Zulum

(file photo).
20 February 2020

The governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, has said the Federal Government of Nigeria needs to deploy at least 100,000 security personnel to the Northeast region, to defeat Boko Haram.

The governor said if the military can review its policy on recruitment, Borno State alone is ready to provide 50,000 able-bodied persons to help them combat the insurgents.

Mr Zulum said this, days after a senator representing Borno State, Muhammed Ndume, said in an interview with Channels TV that only 30,000 troops are currently fighting the war in the Northeast. Mr Ndume, a former majority leader during the 8th Senate, is now the chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence.

Mr Zulum, on Wednesday, hosted members of the House of Reps committee on Defence who were in the state on a fact-finding mission on the deplorable state of insecurity in the region.

Chairman of the Committee, Babajimi Benson, told the governor they were in Borno to listen to the governor and take notes of his concerns about the situation on the ground.

Mr Zulum told the committee that he would reiterate his position on the matter in the manner he informed the President of Nigeria during his visit last week that there is a need to revisit the military strategies deployed, (which) 'almost made Boko Haram history in 2016 and 2017.'

"Nigerians almost celebrated the demise of Boko Haram in 2016 and 2017," he said.

"I have always admitted that the federal government has done well under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari. At a time, about 20 local government areas were displaced but after May 29, 2015, almost all the roads were opened and the local government retrieved.

"But notwithstanding the gains that we had, between March 2019 till date, we have experienced horrific and simultaneous attacks throughout the state. As I told the Theatre Commander, we are experiencing the attacks in a quick geometrical ratio.

"I, therefore, plead with Mr President and as well as the Nigerian military to revisit the strategy used during 2016/2017 that we were almost celebrating the demise of Boko Haram so that we can deal with the insurgents once and for all.

The governor said presently, given the number of men and equipment at the disposal of the military, Nigeria has no capacity to end the war as anticipated.

"Take my words, the military doesn't have the manpower; they don't have the equipment, they don't have the technology. Kindly advise the Speaker and the Senate president to tell Mr President to approve the massive recruitment of soldiers.

"We need about 100,000 more to be recruited into the Nigerian Army. They should come and employ the locals whether they have western education or not.

"During the world war, people were conscripted into the military without any form of education, and they did well as soldiers. And after the war, they were decommissioned.

"We need to recruit nothing less than 50,000 men from Borno; we have able-bodied men that can join the Nigerian Armed Forces on an ad-hoc basis."

"We have to tell each other the truth, you cannot fight this war without manpower, technology, and proper funding."

"One important thing that we have to do is to take the fight into their enclaves. The whereabouts of the Boko Haram are known to all of us. It is known to the people of Borno State. It is known to the military. It is known to all of us, " he said.

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