…Expresses fear over Zulums plans to return IDPs to ancestral homes
By Evelyn Usman
The Federal Government has been urged to provide robust protection for Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, as part of measures to prevent deaths and to forestall future attacks on him by terrorists.
Reacting to the latest attack on Zulum’s convoy near Baga, President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, AISSON Dr Ona Ekhomu, noted yesterday in Lagos that the incessant attacks on Zulum by members of the Boko Haram sect, portrayed a negative assumption on the security architecture of the state in particular and the country in general.
Ekhomu in a statement signed by his Personal Assistant, Tope Adesuyi, called for the need to strengthen the governor’s convoy whenever he was travelling to high risk areas such as the northern Borno, as well as vetting people who had access to his schedule.
He said : “ There is a need for robust protectional intelligence including technical intelligence to learn about plots against the governor. All indications were that someone gave information about the governor’s itinerary to the enemy. The ferocity of the line ambush and the high number of military, law enforcement and vigilante personnel deaths shows that the terrorists believed that the governor was in the convoy.
“ It is obvious that the governor was the target and the main purpose of the assassination attempt is to deter or stop him from providing the productive leadership that is currently on display in Borno State.
“The mission was to take out the governor. There is therefore a need for positive vetting of the people who have access to the governor’s schedule, as President Buhari has already declared the second attack to be an “orchestrated sabotage”.
While urging security and intelligence officials to intensify efforts to check sabotage, sanitize the routes, venues and locations well in advance of the governor’s movements in order to avoid tragedy, the security expert also called for what he described as rigorous executive protection training for guardians of the governor.
He said: “just holding a rifle while accompanying a VIP isn’t all that executive protection entails. Drivers in the governor’s convoy must receive practical training in security driving including bootleg turns, J-turns, ramming maneuvers, off-road recovery and other techniques to save lives in an ambush”, he stated.
While commiserating with families of security agents who died in the ambush , Ekhomu, however, expressed fear on the governor’s decision to return the Internally Displaced Persons IDPs back to their ancestral homes, saying such a move could endanger their lives.
According to him : “ Efforts by the governor to return the IDPs to their ancestral homes is antithetical to Boko Haram goals of destroying the northeast. The enthusiasm of the governor must be balanced against the grave threat of Boko Haram in northern Borno.
“I am afraid that citizens will be slaughtered in large numbers in the Baga area by ISWAP fighters. The benign jihad which is waged by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi has given way to virulent and destructive jihad by the current leaders of ISWAP.
“ It will be counter-intuitive to push to return IDPs to their homes since northern Borno is obviously not safe enough for them to return. I would therefore advise making haste slowly, to give the military the opportunity to defeat the enemy completely”.
He referred to his recently published book on the insurgency in the northeast titled Boko Haram: Security Considerations and the Rise of an Insurgency where five reasons Boko Haram/ISWAP target VIPs for assassination were listed to include strategy to silence the executive, to spread fear among the populace, to show that it had absolute immunity, to force its extremist salafi-wahabi ideology on mainstream Muslims and to advertise its evil nature and unalloyed savagery.