BORNO State Governor Babagana Zulum on Thursday accused the military of sabotage in Tuesday’s attack on his convoy.
By Duku Joel, Maiduguri
The governor was on routine inspection when his convoy was attacked by suspected Boko Haram fighters between Baga and Munguno.
He was whisked away from his official car and smuggled into the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSAS) armoured personnel carrier to keep him safer after the attack was repelled, according to an eyewitness in the convoy.
Zulum told reporters yesterday in Munguno: “As far as I am concerned, what happened in Baga is a complete sabotage by the military. There is no Boko Haram in Baga.
“I wonder, we have over 1181 soldiers in Baga, 72 officers; 400 soldiers in Mile 4 and 1900 soldiers in Monguno. I see no reason why only five Boko Haram men will stop them from occupying Baga town”.
He added: “The troops have been in Mile 4 for over one year, there is complete sabotage, the problem is not with President Muhammadu Buhari but the command and control structure. There is a need to look into the command structure.”
Zulum, in a viral video, told an Army commander that there was an attempt to sabotage his visit with an attack on his convoy.
The governor insisted that the exchange of fire was between the Army and the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad(FSARS), who were leading his convoy into Baga town, adding that Baga is not inhabited by Boko Haram.
“The shooting that happened this afternoon (Tuesday) is between the military and maybe our police and the civilians. There is no Boko Haram in Baga town. We remain grateful to all of you but the commitment is not there at all, Gov. Zulum said.
Zulum added:”We have over 80,000 IDPs in Monguno, they cannot continue to depend on INGO and others for food, we have created opportunities for them to go back to their communities and continue with their business and farming activities.
”After Sallah we are going to allow people to go back to Kukawa and we will give time to the military, if they will not clear Baga, we will mobilize our hunters, CJTF, and vigilantes to recapture Baga , we cannot continue like this. People have taken their destiny in their hsnds”.
The attack did not stop the governor as he visited Kukawa. The headquarters of Kukawa local government before proceeding to Baga where he inspected the receding Lake Chad water which has the great fishing potentials for more than 10 million people.
Baga, the headquarters of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and thousands of civilians, was sacked by Boko Haram insurgents in 2015. The area has remained desolate.
The governor declared the Monguno/Baga Highway open to traffic.
He said the move would allow free movement of people and goods from Maiduguri and vice -versa.
He noted that the reopening of the road would also accelerate economic activities and speed up the restoration of civil authorities in the areas.
The governor presented 10 operational vehicles to the military and two Hiilux vans to the members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) to ensure routine patrol along the road.
”I want you to carry out routine patrol and operations to keep the road safe for our people as we reopen this road for passengers and motorists. You should have the courage to make the road remain open because we have to move forward,” he said.
Sector 3 Commander of Operation Laifya Dole Brigadier General Ismail Yahaya promised to work hard and keep the road safe.
”We assure you that we are going to judiciously put the vehicles into use by making sure the road is safe.We will work hard to once and for all wipe out the insurgents so that we will go back to our barracks,” Gen. Yahaya assured.