February 13, 2020

Boko Haram hits Maiduguri as Buhari visits, runs into storm

Buhari jetting out

Buhari jetting out

…B-Haram can’t come without knowledge of locals – Buhari

…Declare state of emergency, Reps tell Buhari

…Ooni, Sultan speak against insecurity at summit in Osogbo

…CAN mourns, blames military for security lapses on Auno attack

…Govs task security operatives on greater responsibility

By Ndahi Marama, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Dirisu Yakubu Luminous Jannamike, Tordue Salem, Shina Abubakar & Ibrahim Hassan

MAIDUGURI— Barely hours after President Muhammadu Buhari left Maiduguri after paying a consolation visit to the city over killing of over 30 persons at Auno village on Sunday, the insurgents, yesterday, launched attack on Jiddari Polo general area of the metropolis, as residents fled their homes into the heart of the city.

President Buhari had ran into a storm during the visit, yesterday, as some residents booed his convoy on his way to the Palace of the Emir of Borno

Jiddari Polo General Area is a densely populated area on the outskirts of the metropolis, close to the 21 Giwa Armoured Barracks.

A resident, Mallam Yusuf Unman, said: “Our community is currently under Boko Haram attack, there are deafening sounds of gunshots and explosions, but I was lucky to have mobilised my family and fled into the heart of the city to reunite with one of my relatives.”

Although the sounds of the gunshots subsided at 7:12pm, many residents who fled into the city were still stranded at press time.

One of the fleeing residents, Adamu Garba told  Vanguard at about 7:30pm, he sighted a large number of armed policemen, members of the civilian JTF with military troops heading towards the area of the attack as he struggled to enter the town with his family in his private car.

This came as the President said more proactive and decisive measures would be taken by the Federal Government to put an end to the Boko Haram menace once and for all, saying there couldn’t be Boko Haram without knowledge of local leaders.

Also, the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on security in the country, while the senator representing Borno South senatorial district, Ali Ndume, asked government to engage mercenaries to finish off the insurgent group.

READ ALSO: Niger: Group urges Buhari to stop attacks by suspected bandits

President Buhari had arrived Maiduguri from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he attended African Union summit since last Friday, to condole with the people over last Sunday’s Boko Haram attack which claimed over 30 lives at Auno village.

The attack also left 18 vehicles, shops and houses razed, after food items being conveyed to Maiduguri by trucks were looted.

As the convoy of the President made its way to the Palace of the  Shehu of Borno, His Royal Highness Abubakar Ibn Umar Gabai, in company of Governor Babagana Umaru Zulum, some residents, mainly youths, shouted in Hausa: “Bama so!” “Bamayi!”, meaning “we don’t want; we’re not interested, because you have disappointed us.’’

Surprisingly, during the 2015 and 2019 general elections, Borno people massively voted for the President, the area being one of his strongholds.

During his previous visits to the state, crowds always lined up the streets, chanting “Sai baba!”

‘Security improvement ’ll be pursued’

Speaking during the visit, the President said the Federal Government, beyond ensuring that more proactive and decisive measures would to be taken to put an end to the Boko Haram menace in the country once and for all, noted that intelligence sharing and synergy between law enforcement agencies and the civil populace were critical towards achieving the objectives.

He said: “I assure you that improvement in security will be pursued vigorously. The military will work harder and strategise with tactics to deal with the insurgents. This is, however, not possible without good intelligence and cooperation with local community leaders.

“Boko Haram 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.

“I want to call on the leadership at various levels to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens.

“We will do our best and I hope history will be kind to us; to recall what was on the ground when we came and what will be on the ground when we leave.”

In his remarks, Governor Zulum thanked the President for identifying with the state in these trying times.

He praised the efforts of the military so far, wondering why some people would be comparing the security situation now with what obtained before the Buhari administration came on board.

He said: “Roads were closed, there were sporadic bombings everywhere even within the metropolis. Close to 20 local government areas were under Boko Haram. We are surprised that there seems to be resurgence in 2019.”

He tasked the military to borrow from their successes, especially between 2015 and 2017, take the battle to the insurgents and push them to the fringes of Lake Chad.

He also urged the security agencies to be patient with the civilian populace and give opportunities to the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, to access their communities in order to return to their occupations.

Declare security emergency, Reps tell Buhari

While the President was on his consolation visit in Borno, the House of Representatives was at its plenary in Abuja, asking the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on security in the country.

This formed part of the resolution reached, following a motion on the need to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of 30 travelers at Auno by Boko Haram insurgents.

After the lawmakers deliberated on the motion, the House also resolved to mandate its Committee on Army to investigate the super camps set up by the Nigerian Army.

The Chief Whip, Tahir Monguno, moved the motion while it was seconded by Rep Mohammed Jega who represents Gwandu/Aliero/Jega Federal Constituency in the House.

Leading the debate, Monguno decried the fact that women were kidnapped, commuters were attacked and goods were stolen by the terrorists.

He added that the attack was due to the imposed curfew by the military and urged the House to ask the military to stop the curfew.

Another lawmaker, Robert Tyough, on his part, proposed that technological devices be employed for surveillance in the North East.

In their contributions, Abubakar Fulata and Aliyu Magaji Dau believe the practice of imposing a curfew on commuters by the military has created soft targets for insurgents.

They condoled with the families of the victims and called for sanctions on the perpetrators of the evil act.

Also condemning the attack, the House Minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, decried the fact that there had been debates and resolutions on insecurity in the hallowed chamber but lamented that nothing had been done to nip it in the bud.

He, therefore, called on the executive arm of government to relieve the service chiefs and ensure soldiers’ entitlements were paid.

On his part, the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Doguwa, said the revitalization and review of the nation’s security apparatus were critical to tackling crime in the country.

Presiding over the plenary, speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, called for a vote on the motion after which it was adopted by the lawmakers.

Use mercenaries to fight insurgents — Ndume

Also yesterday, Senator Ali Ndume urged the Federal Government to engage foreign mercenaries in the fight against insurgency if that would bring an end to the Boko Haram crisis.

He spoke on the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, Hausa Service, monitored yesterday in Kaduna.

The senator, who represents Borno South, begged the Buhari-led government to do all it could to end the killings and wanton destruction in Borno State which, according to him, had deprived his people of peace and harmony in the last 10 years.

“Please, we are begging in the name of Allah,even if it will entail the use of foreign mercenaries, please our people are dying, please do something fast to end these killings,” Ndume cried.

Ooni, Sultan speak against insecurity at summit

Similarly, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, said yesterday that without good governance and justice, it would be difficult to have peace and security in the country.

This is even as the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, urged political leaders who cannot protect the lives and properties of the populace to allow competent hands take over.

They spoke   at a security summit with the theme, “National Security and Insecurity: Roles of Traditional Institutions, organised by the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding,” in Osogbo, yesterday.

The Sultan maintained that some security issues are the product of corruption on the part of political leaders across Nigeria.

He also emphasized that the nation’s elite were the problem of the country by manipulating the common man to achieve their selfish aims, saying the elite had the capacity to resolve the crisis confronting the country if it resolved to do so.

He berated the nation’s political system that relegated traditional institutions to the background, saying monarchs had been running their territory peacefully before the advent of colonialism, which took away their powers.

He said: “Some security issues were not brought by weapons but by corruption of our political leaders. You cannot have peace and security when you don’t have good governance and justice.

“Without justice, you can’t have good governance. That is what our forefathers said. We need to rise to the occasion, things are really bad.  If you keep quiet and don’t get up to see how we can help our political leaders on this issue, then we are part and parcel of the problem when you keep quite in the face of injustice.

“The Almighty Allah would ask you on that day when you have nobody, how you have used your position to help the common man. And if you have no answer, God has a way of rewarding you and I don’t pray for that for anyone.

“So we should speak out the truth all the time without being afraid of a governor or local government chairman or chairman of Traditional council threatening you. If you are convinced, speak out and stand by it.

“I have always said it that the problem of this country are us, the elite. If we want to deal with these problems we can do it. We have always used the common man who doesn’t have anything to get what we want and lord it over them.

“I urge elite to visit graveyards to see their rich predecessor and understand that no one would depart this world with anything,” he said.

He stressed the need for traditional institutions to hold political leaders accountable for their failure to provide social infrastructure which could stem the tide of social problems.

“We should speak with one voice on issues that are social that could lead to security problems. I spent five hours from Lagos to Ile-Ife because since 1999, the road has been under construction and it seems to be taking eternity to complete.

“If any mad man throws a bomb at a car, so many lives would perish on that road. We should collectively put pressure on government to complete the road this year,” the Sultan said.

In his remarks, Oba Ogunwusi said government must provide adequate security to enhance socio-economic development of the country, stressing that its high the regular and stop the regular rhetorics about insecurity.

He added that anarchy always loomed in any society there was breakdown of law and order and which leaders had lost grip, saying any leader that lost grip of societal control didn’t deserve to be accorded any respect.

“If there is breakdown of security, obviously anarchy will set in and that is how communities and nations usually lose grip. The most important thing is our security and that is why we have a common means of governance in Nigeria.

“We have our governors as the chief security officers of various states and our President as the chief security officer of the entire country. It is very important that if any government should lose that grip, that leader shouldn’t even be worthy to be a leader.

“A leader that cannot secure lives and property of his people should just surrender and allow capable hands to take over.  It about time we knew the real role of the natural rulers across the entire county.

“We traditional rulers should now come together to support what the governors of the South-West are doing. They are trying to set an example with Amotekun.  All traditional rulers are being carried along.

“We know our people. Nobody is breaking Nigeria, we don’t even pray for such and it will never happen. All we are doing is to set good leadership and example on how to secure our people and try to see how we can re-engineer the ways things are done,” he said.

All hands must be on deck — Gov Oyetola

In his remarks, Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, called for holistic approach in the quest to end security challenges in the country.

He said for the country to overcome the menace, security agencies   must collaborate with the traditional rulers, sensitize and encourage their subjects to provide intelligence and expose criminals in their domains.

In the same vein, former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said it was not too late to pull Nigeria back from the brink and save the country from Boko Haram, banditry and the myriads of other security problems threatening its corporate existence.

Oyinlola, who is the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CBCIU, lamented the present precarious security situation in the country, saying the country had almost become the modern version of the Hobbesian state “where life is nasty, brutish and short.”

CAN restates call for security rejig

Reacting to Auno’s attack yesterday, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in a statement by Pastor Bayo Oladeji, CAN President’s media aide, blamed the military for the security breaches that made room for the terror attack to succeed.

CAN reiterated its calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to overhaul the security architecture of the country.

The statement read: “While commiserating with families of the bereaved, the people of Borno State, our Muslim brothers and   sisters including the Borno State Government, we found it rather shocking and unfathomable the reported policy of the military that necessitated closing the only entry gate against civilian citizens commuting from security risk roads and areas into Maiduguri only to become cheap preys for blood-thirsty terrorists to slaughter.

“If the road must be closed, why is the security protection not made available for the travelers who would arrive there after the closure? Was there any evidence that a thorough check was carried out on the travelers and their vehicles to confirm if they were armed?

“The military authorities should investigate the circumstances that led to the emergence of the gate instead of adequate provision of security on the road in order to stop the incessant invasion of Maiduguri and terror attacks in the area. That is why we salute the popular position of the state governor, Prof Babagana Zulum who has been consistently critical of the failure of the Army in stopping the menace of terrorism in the state.

“The Army and Federal   Government had severally told us that terrorists had been decimated, technically defeated and chased away from the country; yet, the terrorists have become even more daring in their deadly operations, consistently attacking communities, killing, maiming, abducting and burning property with minimal or without any resistance from the frontline troops. This is totally unacceptable and it is condemnable.

“CAN has consistently maintained that the security arrangement in the country, especially in the North-east, has been compromised and except the security system is completely overhauled, Nigerians will remain helpless and Federal Government may never be able to contain the current nightmarish security situation.

“There is no doubt that sabotage and compromise are largely responsible for the prolonged terrorism, banditry, kidnappings and herdsmen killings in the country, an allegation that has been confirmed by authoritative voices in the country’s security circle at the highest level. It is however sad that Federal Government nay the Commander-in-Chief is still turning a deaf ear to the desperate calls for the rejigging of the security architecture by Nigerians.

“Our position is very clear: Federal Government is not ready to overhaul the security agencies despite their poor performances just to maintain the status quo ante and sustain the widely acclaimed suspicious regional agenda.

“We once again call on all well-meaning Nigerians to put the needed pressure on Federal Government to let go of heads of all security agencies and the service chiefs. For he alone takes full responsibility for the failure and success of governance and national security situation in the country.

“This unending killings, bloodshed and upsurge of criminal activities in the country must be arrested by government decisively immediately so as not to plunge the country into another pogrom.”

Sympathy visit not enough, PDP tells Buhari

On its part, leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to go beyond his sympathy visit to Borno state and take decisive steps to end the killings across the country.

This is even as the party described the alleged booing of President Buhari in Borno state on Wednesday as a clear message to him that Nigerians hold him responsible for the escalated insecurity in the country.

A statement signed by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan read: “The PDP demands that Mr. President should not limit his visit to Borno state but also visit other parts of the country, including Kaduna, Kano, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Niger, Taraba and other states to face the feelings of Nigerians as well as view the national devastation his poor handling of security and infrastructure has caused  our nation.

“The party hopes that the visit to Borno state, which came only after the PDP and Nigerians criticized Mr. President for his aloofness, particularly over the Auno killing on Sunday, is not part of the usual presidential media stunts that will not be followed with a corresponding action to track down killers and end terrorism.

“It (booing) shows a loss of confidence in the Buhari Presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

“The PDP further charges Mr. President to endeavour to go on subsequent visits by road in order to see and feel the agony Nigerians are being subjected to with the parlous state of our road infrastructure and security network under the incompetent and unresponsive Buhari Presidency and APC.

READ ALSO: Buhari urges communities to support security agencies to end insurgency

“Our party holds that Nigerians do not deserve a distant President, who sits in the comfort of the Presidential villa and luxury jets, remaining indifferent to the pains, anguish and torments that compatriots suffer on daily basis.

“The PDP hereby calls on Mr. President to quickly embark on these visits and monitor, on first hand basis, the damage which his administration has caused and for which Nigerians are demanding that he resigns and allow more competent hands to manage the affairs of our nation. It is only after these visits that the Buhari Presidency will appreciate that those calling on him to rejig the nation’s security architecture mean well for our dear country.”

Jiddari Polo residents in Maiduguri flee homes in fresh Boko Haram attacks after Buhari’s visit

Hundreds of residents of Jiddari Polo general area of Maiduguri metropolis have fled their homes into the city, following sporadic shootings suspected to have been masterminded by Boko Haram sect.

Jiddari Polo General Area is south at the outskirts of the metropolis with dense population, not far away from the 21 Armoured Barracks.

The incident which started at about 6:30pm on yesterday, is coming barely few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari visited the state for sympathy visit.

According to one resident,   Mallam Yusuf Unman said” Our community is currently under Boko Haram attack, there are deafening sounds if gunshots and explosions, but I was lucky to have mobiilzed my family and fled into the heart of the city to reunite with one if my relatives”.

Although the sounds of the gunshots subsided as at 7:12pm, many residents who fled into the city are still stranded at press time.

One of the fleeing residents, Adamu Garba told our correspondent at about 7:30pm that they sighted a  large number of armed policemen, members of the civilian JTF with troops heading towards the area of the attack as they struggle to enter the town with his family in his private car.

Meanwhile, Borno governor, Professor Babagana Zulum has said there was need for change of strategies in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram.