Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum has called on the federal government to engage mercenaries to prosecute the ongoing war against insecurity.
He disclosed this on Thursday during the weekly briefing organised by the Presidential communication team at the Presidential Villa.
According to him, developed countries with superior military power are also engaging mercenaries.
He said “we want clearance of the shores of the Lake Chad. Again, in conclusion, while the challenge of insecurity is being solved gradually, it is not yet over. I have said it time without numbers that in addition to what we are doing, there is a need for government to rethink and look into the possibility of hiring mercenaries.
“I have said it time times without numbers, there’s nothing wrong. America, Britain many more countries that are stronger than Nigeria, who used to seek support outside, there’s nothing wrong because this problem has been compounded.
“And it’s not easy for us to solve the security challenges that we’re having now. While Nigeria is providing a lot of things, the federal government is buying equipment, there is the need for us to seek support from external agencies to defeat these insurgents once and for all before the matter will reach other parts of the nation.
“This is very important, whether we like it or not, we have an existing gap that we need to fill it and this gap by now cannot be filled without external support. While we continue to be our institutions, training, and retraining.
He warned that ISWAP elements need to be completely defeated in the Lake Chad region as they are capable of causing more havoc than Boko Haram insurgents.Zulum insisted that the government shouldn’t allow ISWAP to grow to say ISWAP are more sophisticated, more funded and they’re more educated.According to him” I said it before, a growing number of ISWAP in some parts of the state is a matter of great concern to everybody. Why? In the shores of Lake Chad, again in southern Borno State. Luckily enough, I was told there was Dallas military deployment yesterday to southern Borno set to fight the insurgents in the Tudun Katarangwa.“But I think this is the early warning system. We shouldn’t allow ISWAP to grow. ISWAP is more sophisticated, more funded and they’re more educated. And we shall do everything possible to defeat ISWAP. Otherwise, what Boko Haram dies will be a child’s play. “This is an early warning system Nigerian Army has to restrategise and defeat ISWAP. ISWAP will be a threat to the entire nation. Because of the proximity of Sub-Saharan Africa, they are coming from Libya and others resettling here.
He also dismissed reports that Boko Haram is in control of two local governments in Borno.
“And then whether we like it or not a few days ago, I’ve spoken something about two local governments are still not occupied by the human population.
“I think that there some certain misunderstand. Some say that two local governments are under the control of Boko Haram, no. Two to local governments are not occupied by the human population.
“But whether we like it or not, is right because if two local governments are not occupied, what does it mean? It means the capacity is not there to protect this human population to go to these local government areas.
“But we’re working with Nigerian army to ensure immediate resettlement of people to Malam Fatori, which is the headquarters of Abadam local. And again, Ogunbaden headquarters of Mainari local government.
“We are not saying that these two local governments are under their control, but these two local governments are not under human occupation. We need support from the federal government to support the relocation of these people to these local government areas.
“This committee that has been constituted by the federal government, will look into these matters among others,” he stated.
He also called on the government to sanitise the recruitment process into the security agencies.
“One very serious challenge that we have, our recruitment process has to look into. Yes, you can just say recruitment for the army, collecting notes from governors, ministers, and others and the people are queuing in.
“As long as we are not willing to sanitize our recruitment procedures to the armed forces, police, SSS, and others, we will not get the right people. These are something that needs to be done. The bitter truth is better.
“And then funding is critical. Yes, funding to our military. Let us investigate how much have been trickled down. The commanding officers are important, procurement processes are also very important.
“Then stronger solidarity among the security forces and sustained campaigns needed to finish up the remnants of the insurgents in the fringes of the northeast is very important.
“The resettlement needs to go hand in hand with livelihood support, more resources are needed to do more for the people. Greater understanding is required of the security forces to support protection, action in places of resettlement and all over Borno.
“Last but not least, we must not allow the 2023 general elections to shift our attention completely away from the focus and restoration of peace in the northeast and indeed other parts of the nation.
He further stated that insurgents have destroyed about 5000 classes in Borno State, 800 municipal buildings were destroyed, comprising of local government Secretariats, prisons, traditional rulers buildings, among others.
“They destroyed about 713 energy distribution lines. Furthermore, they destroyed about 1,600 water sources. In addition to this one, we have a total number of 49,311 widows and about 49,974 orphans. These are official figures, the unofficial figures are more than this,” he added.