Probe Zu­lum’s claim – Kon­tagora, oth­ers tell Army

● North­ern govs flay at­tack

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Muideen Olaniyi, Balarabe Alka­s­sim, Ron­ald Mu­tum, Taiwo Adeniyi, Dick­son S. Adama & Is­mail Ade­bayo

Aformer mil­i­tary ad­min­is­tra­tor of Benue State, Col. Aminu Isa Kon­tagora (rtd), has urged the Nige­rian mil­i­tary to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tion by Gov­er­nor Baba­gana Zu­lum of Borno State of sab­o­tage within the army struc­ture.

The gov­er­nor, af­ter his con­voy was at­tacked by sus­pected Boko Haram mem­bers in Baga on Wed­nes­day made the al­le­ga­tion.

But the army spokesman, Col. Sa­gir Musa, yes­ter­day told Daily Trust that it was al­ready in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent.

Re­act­ing to Zu­lum’s com­ment in an in­ter­view with Daily Trust, Kon­tagora said: “This is the sec­ond time the gov­er­nor is ac­cus­ing the mil­i­tary of sab­o­tage since he as­sumed of­fice, I re­mem­ber the first time was when they stopped peo­ple from en­ter­ing Maiduguri and in­sur­gents killed over 80 peo­ple.”

He said the mil­i­tary should get to the root of the mat­ter.

“They should in­ves­ti­gate his claim. I know it is not likely to come from the mil­i­tary be­cause the in­sur­gents will al­ways want to prove that they are still on ground but the mil­i­tary will have to in­ves­ti­gate what ac­tu­ally hap­pened.

“The in­sur­gents and soldiers have un­der­stood each other’s tac­tics so well. And be­cause the in­sur­gency has gone ru­ral with the in­sur­gents hav­ing friends among lo­cals such at­tack is pos­si­ble. More so, be­cause of the way the in­sur­gency has gone it is pos­si­ble for the in­sur­gents to get in­for­ma­tion from the gov­er­nor’s con­voy.

“In any case, the in­sur­gents will al­ways put up acts like that to show that they are still on ground. I don’t think the at­tack on the gov­er­nor was from the mil­i­tary,” he said.

He added that the war was not ex­pected to go on time but soldiers also need to fight like the in­sur­gents.

“De­stroy their bases and get their lead­ers to weaken their at­tack,” he said.

An in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism and de­vel­op­ment con­sul­tant, Dr. Amaechi Nwokolo, also said the al­le­ga­tion of the gov­er­nor should not be swept un­der the car­pet.

He said the gov­er­nor raised a po­si­tion that had al­ways been em­pha­sised by some peo­ple, adding that sab­o­tage within the mil­i­tary struc­ture should be taken se­ri­ously.

“He (Gov­er­nor Zu­lum) is right to a great ex­tent be­cause we have been cry­ing out about this sab­o­tage and fifth colum­nists but we are see­ing it play­ing out se­ri­ously. So, it is not far from the truth,” he said.

“The other is­sue about sab­o­tage is one thing that we have been talk­ing about in a very long time be­cause the man was very sure about what he was say­ing. He had an ar­gu­ment with an of­fi­cer and the man said it was not Boko Haram that was shoot­ing,” Dr. Nwokolo said.

He said the gov­er­nor would be the first per­son to mo­bilise the peo­ple against ter­ror­ists should he go ahead with his plans to mo­bilise hunters and mem­bers of vig­i­lante groups.

“To a great ex­tent, I think that this thing has hap­pened be­fore. The peo­ple were mo­bilised against al-Qaida in Al­ge­ria, so it is not a new thing if the peo­ple de­cide to rise against the ter­ror­ists. What is the num­ber of the ter­ror­ists com­pared to the peo­ple as he (Gov­er­nor Zu­lum) said,” he said.

He said the com­ment of the gov­er­nor as re­gards mo­bil­i­sa­tion of hunters and vig­i­lante was “very heavy and deep and I know that there is no­body that can de­feat the power of the peo­ple.”

On whether the state­ment won’t af­fect the morale of troops, he said, “The morale of the troops is al­ready down, he has tried, even af­ter the at­tack, he still made some do­na­tions. The morale of the troops has al­ready been damp­ened,” he said.

Zu­lum speaks on at­tack

Gov­er­nor Baba­gana Zu­lum had ex­pressed dis­plea­sure with the Army over the at­tack on his con­voy by those sus­pected to be Boko Haram gun­men in Baga, Kukawa Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of the state on Wed­nes­day.

He sur­vived an am­bush by gun­men while on a trip to Monguno and Baga towns to dis­trib­ute food to IDPs.

Speak­ing with the army’s com­mand­ing of­fi­cer in Mile 4, he won­dered why the army had not been able to se­cure Baga de­spite the num­ber of troops de­ployed for over a year.

“You have been here for over one year now, there are 1,181 soldiers here, if you can­not take over Baga which is less than 5km from your base, then we should for­get about Baga. I will in­form the Chief of Army Staff to re­de­ploy the men to other places that they can be use­ful,” Zu­lum was quoted as say­ing.

“You peo­ple said there’s no Boko Haram here, then who at­tacked us?”

Also re­act­ing, the North­ern Gover­nors Fo­rum through its chair­man, Gov­er­nor Si­mon La­long of Plateau State, de­scribed the at­tack as “cal­lous and rep­re­hen­si­ble.”

La­long’s state­ment which was signed by his spokesman, Makut Macham, said the at­tack was to frus­trate the gov­er­nor’s ef­forts to­wards re­duc­ing the suf­fer­ings of IDPs.

Army prob­ing at­tack—Spokesman

The Nige­rian Army yes­ter­day said it had com­menced in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the at­tack on the con­voy of Gov­er­nor Baba­gana Zu­lum.

Army spokesman, Colonel Sa­gir Musa, told Daily Trust that the army wanted to re­as­sure the gen­eral pub­lic that this would be in­ter­ro­gated with a view to fore­stalling fu­ture oc­cur­rence.

“Al­though, de­tails of the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent are sketchy and un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ef­forts are on­go­ing to comb the area where the in­ci­dent oc­curred with a view to track­ing down and deal­ing de­ci­sively with the at­tack­ers. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion is also in progress to iden­tify the circumstan­ces that led to the at­tack.”

He said, “Re­gret­tably, this is an iso­lated and most un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent that oc­curred in a ter­ri­tory where nor­malcy has since been re­stored with so­cio-eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties pick­ing up.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, the Nige­rian Army wishes to in­form the gen­eral pub­lic that it will con­tinue to dis­charge its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties pro­fes­sion­ally with re­spect for the fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights of all Nige­ri­ans and in com­pli­ance with the ex­tant rules of en­gage­ment.

“The good peo­ple of Baga town and in­deed the en­tire Borno State are en­joined to con­tinue to pro­vide cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion that will as­sist the se­cu­rity agen­cies to suc­cess­fully com­bat ter­ror­ism as well as ap­pre­hend and flush out the per­pe­tra­tors of the at­tack,” Musa stated.

Buhari again charges ser­vice chiefs

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari yes­ter­day told ser­vice chiefs that they could do much bet­ter de­spite the fact that the mil­i­tary, the po­lice and other se­cu­rity agen­cies are cur­rently work­ing hard.

Buhari, who spoke to Nige­ri­ans shortly af­ter per­form­ing the eid prayers with his fam­ily and aides at the State House, Abuja, as­sured that there would be more re­sources for the coun­try’s mil­i­tary, po­lice and other se­cu­rity agen­cies to deal with the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try.

“We are mak­ing avail­able re­sources to them to even do bet­ter....from the re­ports I am get­ting, they could do much bet­ter...they could do much bet­ter. But we are keep­ing them on the alert all the time to do their du­ties,” the pres­i­dent said this while re­act­ing to a ques­tion on the performanc­e of the ser­vice chiefs which he re­cently said needed to get bet­ter.

Buhari de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the North West and the North Cen­tral parts of the coun­try as “very dis­turb­ing.”

He said while much had been achieved se­cu­rity-wise from the sit­u­a­tion he in­her­ited in 2015, more still needed to be done.

“Nige­ri­ans know that we have done our best. How­ever, what is com­ing out of the North West and the North Cen­tral is very dis­turb­ing,” he added.

He said all past and present cases would be fully in­ves­ti­gated.

“This is why we put the com­mis­sion (of in­ves­ti­ga­tion) in place. There has been abuse of trust by peo­ple trusted by the previous ad­min­is­tra­tion and this ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he said. He stressed that all such cases would be un­cov­ered and firmly dealt with by his gov­ern­ment.

On the Niger Delta, he de­cried the wastage of the re­sources ear­marked for the peo­ple of the re­gion.

He said that cor­rup­tion had been un­help­ful in that re­gard, es­pe­cially “if you re­call there is the 13 per cent deriva­tion.”

Sack ser­vice chiefs now—Reps Mi­nor­ity cau­cus

The Mi­nor­ity Cau­cus in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has called on Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari to sack the ser­vice chiefs over the at­tack on Borno State gov­er­nor, Pro­fes­sor Baba­gana Zul­lum. The cau­cus in a state­ment signed by the House Mi­nor­ity Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, urged the pres­i­dent to im­ple­ment the re­cent res­o­lu­tion passed by both cham­bers of the Na­tional Assem­bly ask­ing him to sack the ser­vice chiefs.

Elumelu said the cau­cus was alarmed by the Thurs­day at­tack, adding that the in­ci­dent had again re­in­forced the ur­gent need to re­view the na­tion’s se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­ture.

“The wors­en­ing se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try un­der the cur­rent ser­vice chiefs has reached an un­bear­able state to the ex­tent that in­sur­gents have the temer­ity to at­tack an armed con­voy of a state gov­er­nor.

“This is more so with the in­sis­tence by Gov­er­nor Zu­lum of a com­pro­mis­ing se­cu­rity sys­tem in the area, al­legedly cre­at­ing open­ing to the at­tack, a po­si­tion that val­i­dates the call for im­me­di­ate re­or­ga­niz­ing of the na­tion’s se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­ture.

“The en­tire na­tion is dis­tressed by the in­ces­sant mind­less killing of our cit­i­zens and pil­lag­ing of de­fense­less com­mu­ni­ties by in­sur­gents, ban­dits and kid­nap­pers, which have brought in­de­scrib­able agony, an­guish and tor­ment to in­no­cent Nige­ri­ans.

“We the op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers hereby in the strong­est terms re­states the call to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari to honor the res­o­lu­tion of the Na­tional Assem­bly and im­me­di­ately re­move the ser­vice chiefs and bring in new hands to ef­fec­tively con­front the se­cu­rity chal­lenges con­fronting our na­tion,” he said.

PHOTO: NAN

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari (M); first Lady Aisha Buhari and fam­ily mem­bers dur­ing the Eid-El-Kabir cel­e­bra­tion in keep­ing with the ad­vi­sories from the Pres­i­den­tial Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nige­rian Supreme Coun­cil for Is­lamic Af­fairs, at the State House Abuja yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.