Borno de­mands AA guns for po­lice

Let­ter to pres­i­dent also ques­tioned non-de­ploy­ment of 800 sol­diers re­cruited from Civil­ian JTF

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - By Our Re­porter

Aris­ing from a let­ter con­tain­ing 12 ob­ser­va­tions, and 10 de­mands pre­sented to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari by a high-pow­ered del­e­ga­tion of Borno State on Mon­day, one ob­ser­va­tion in­formed the pres­i­dent that “the Borno State Po­lice Com­mand, which has the duty to pre­serve con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­i­ties in lib­er­ated and re­built com­mu­ni­ties, is faced with chal­lenges of low man­power and de­pen­dence on AK-47 ri­fles to counter Boko Haram fight­ers who at­tack com­mu­ni­ties with AA (Anti-Air­craft) ri­fles”. Con­se­quently, the let­ter in its sec­ond de­mand, said “Mr. Pres­i­dent should con­sider and ap­prove, as a mat­ter of spe­cial case, the spe­cial­ized use of AA ri­fles for the Borno State Po­lice Com­mand for ca­pac­ity en­hance­ment as against the cur­rent de­pen­dence on AK 47 ri­fles”.

Also raised, is the ques­tion of why a ma­jor­ity of 800 Civil­ian JTF fight­ers re­cruited into the Nige­rian Army were not de­ployed to Borno State to join in fight­ing Boko Haram arose. This, the let­ter said, is de­spite the fact that the ex-CJTF mem­bers are “fear­less and un­der­stand Borno’s ter­rain bet­ter”.

The ob­ser­va­tion was sev­enth in Borno’s let­ter, while there is a cor­re­spond­ing fifth de­mand for Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari to or­der the im­me­di­ate de­ploy­ment to Borno State, the same 800 sol­diers drawn from ex-CJTF fight­ers.

When con­tacted, BrigGen SK Us­man, Di­rec­tor of Army Pub­lic Re­la­tions, said “the Nige­rian Army does not de­ploy based on the three ex­tra­ne­ous vari­ables of re­li­gion, eth­nity, or geog­ra­phy.” He also said that it is one of the rea­sons that the army is one of the most cred­i­ble in­sti­tu­tions in the na­tion.

On Mon­day this week, the del­e­ga­tion com­pris­ing two for­mer gover­nors, tra­di­tional rulers, el­ders, na­tional and state as­sem­bly mem­bers, lo­cal gov­ern­ment chair­men rep­re­sen­ta­tives of unions of women, labour, jour­nal­ists, re­li­gious lead­ers in­clud­ing the state chair­men of the Chris­tian As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria and the Jama’atul Nas­ril Is­lam, led by Gov­er­nor Kashim Shet­tima, met Pres­i­dent Buhari at the Villa.

Shet­tima pre­sented a let­ter to the pres­i­dent, which he said con­tained some key ob­ser­va­tions and 10 de­mands re­quir­ing pres­i­den­tial in­ter­ven­tion.

Although the del­e­ga­tion re­fused to make their de­mands pub­lic, an im­pec­ca­ble high-level source said the let­ter was di­vided into two parts. The first item­ized 12 ob­ser­va­tions and the other con­tained 10 de­mands aris­ing from the ob­ser­va­tions. Both ob­ser­va­tions and de­mands were gen­er­ated dur­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary se­cu­rity meet­ing con­vened by the gov­er­nor, which had in at­ten­dance se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cers, and other key se­cu­rity fig­ures. The meet­ing held in Maiduguri on Mon­day, De­cem­ber 31, 2019.

In a re­lated ob­ser­va­tion, the let­ter told the pres­i­dent that more than 26,000 Civil­ian JTF mem­bers who fight along­side the mil­i­tary, de­pend on crude weapons. Also, the let­ter made de­mands that the pres­i­dent should con­sider work­ing with the Na­tional As­sem­bly for equip­ping a select few Civil­ian JTF, with pro­hib­i­tive arms and only for a spe­cific pe­riod of time and un­der strict reg­u­la­tion by the mil­i­tary.

The source also said the let­ter in­formed the pres­i­dent that some mem­bers of the Civil­ian JTF who have been deeply in­volved in in­tel­li­gence-gath­er­ing, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and ar­rest of Boko Haram sus­pects in civil­ian pop­u­la­tions, are wor­ried the op­er­a­tion where re­pen­tant Boko Haram in­sur­gents are be­ing re­leased to the pop­u­la­tion, could be breed­ing spies for in­sur­gents.

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