From Melvin Uche, Maiduguri
Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, on Monday visited Jakana, one of the major towns along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, during which he expressed anger at what has become routine attacks on travelers and villagers by Boko Haram, part of which was last Friday’s abduction of over 30 travelers.
Zulum said it was disappointing that majority of the attacks within the last two years, took place between Auno and Jakana, a distance of about 20 kilometers.
“I have had occasions to defend the Nigerian military in order to boost the morale of commanders and their troops at the front lines because I know the true picture of things.
“However, I am seriously disappointed that despite all the support from both the federal government and from us in Borno state, our military are failing to secure an area of 20 kilometers, which is the distance between Auno and Jakana.
“And incidentally, majority of Boko Haram’s attacks along this Maiduguri-Damaturu-Kano road, keeps happening between Auno and Jakana.
“If the military cannot secure 20 kilometers, how can they keep us with the hope they will defeat the Boko Haram?” Zulum asked.
The governor also berated the Army and the state government’s Rapid Response Squad which combines well-equipped policemen, vigilantes and local hunters, for lack of visibility along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road, which makes it feasible for Boko Haram to keep running their show in the same axis and on multiple occasions.
“With you all (journalists), we drove from Maiduguri to this place, Jakana. We did not see soldiers on the road, we did not see even our own rapid response squad on this road and they were trained, employed, kitted and paid to protect all Nigerians within their areas of operation and these Nigerians include travelers plying this busy and important road” the governor noted.
He recalled that this year alone, the insurgents carried out many attacks along Maiduguri-Damaturu-Kano road, including the one in February, in which over 30 persons including nursing mother and an infant were burnt to death as travelers.
Zulum however assured residents along the road that he was going to immediately hold a security meeting and hopefully come up with more measures to secure the highway. The governor urged citizens to continually support the military by sharing information.