- Remove ban on fish business, Zulum begs military
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said in Maiduguri yesterday that the military is massively re-strategizing to counter the resurgence of Boko Haram.
The COAS was commenting on the rising concern over the resurgence at a news conference jointly addressed by him and Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State.
Between January and now, records showed that more than 40 different attacks were launched by the two factions of the Boko Haram in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, leading to the death of hundreds of people, including troops and civilians.
Zulum had expressed grave concern over reports he said he received that the military was withdrawing troops from Gajiram and Kareto in Nganzai and Mobbar local government areas of the state.
Sources said thousands of civilians who recently went back to their communities, after living in IDP camps in Maiduguri for years, had started relocating to the state capital out of fear because of the recent activities of the insurgents.
Buratai told the Borno governor that the military was only re-strategizing to launch a massive counter-resurgence, assuring him that the military would not abandon any community in the captivity of Boko Haram.
Governor Zulum had implored the military to provide adequate security to farmers against the insurgents roaming in the bush, to enable them cultivate their farms.
Military urged to remove ban against fish business
The governor also asked the military to provide security along access roads leading to all local government headquarters in the state to facilitate the economic recovery as well as strengthen the capacity of the civilian JTF and hunters to assist the military in the Boko Haram war.
He appealed to the military to remove its ban against fish and cattle business by civilians; as well as facilitate the return of people to Kukawa, Cross Kauwa and Baga displaced by Boko Haram, December 2018.
Daily Trust reports that though there were five routes that lead to Maiduguri from some local government areas and neighbouring states, it is only the Damaturu- Maiduguri road that commuters could drive through during some hours of the day without military escort.
The other roads: Maiduguri- Damboa- Gombe; Maiduguri- Konduga- Biu- Mubi (in Adamawa State); Maiduguri- Dikwa- Gamboru-Ngala- Cameroon border; and Maiduguri- Monguno- Baga (shores of the Lake Chad) are not freely accessible by travellers without military escorts.
Similarly, the military had restricted civilians from fish and cow businesses in some parts of Borno, especially in the fringes of Lake Chad over allegations that some of the businessmen were being used by Boko Haram elements.
Fish and cow merchants had severally alleged that instead, some security operatives had ventured into the businesses and in some cases were civilians were allowed to buy the commodities, they were being charged a lot of money in form of levies.
Buratai debunks statement on troops’ non commitment to fight Boko Haram
General Buratai also yesterday during the joint press conference with Borno governor debunked statement attributed to him that troops were not committed to fighting Boko Haram.
The COAS said most of the reports were exaggerated by the media, describing it as “mere propaganda.”
According to him, “There is no way when you’re in conflict, you don’t have casualty, we have casualties. When necessary we give out these figures, the problem is that most of our journalists are not contented with what the military gives.
“They believe that the figure is far more than that. Up till today, people are still quoting the Metele attack of last year to be 300; some 400 and some 500 of our men killed.
“We have given out the correct figures but some are still quoting the wrong figure because they don’t want to believe us,” he said.
He said that the journalists believed more on the figure being given through hearsay, warning that the press must be careful when reporting issues of National security.
“We have to be very careful, national security, defence and security are not issues you just talk about and if you go along that way, you will be the victim and first victim for that matter because National Security is not a matter of joke and it’s not a matter of blame game.
“You should not blame the military for whatever set back or problem; it’s a collective responsibility. Some newsmen went to the extent of distorting facts by quoting me out of context.
“War against insurgency is a collective one, it is for all but some journalists are fond of promoting Boko Haram insurgents.
“War against terrorism is a global war, if you support terrorism, it will one day consume you,” he warned.
“Military operations are different from mere activities of may be, vigilante or even the paramilitary or other forces.
“You don’t just give out information because you want to give out information because somebody is interested.
“Military operation activities or even personnel are all classified, they are not for public consumption unless if they are absolutely necessary to gain confidence as well as to promote our own collective efforts in securing our country,” the COAS said.
Buratai had at a leadership transformational workshop for middle cadre officers and soldiers in Abuja on June 18 said that some setbacks in operations in recent times stemmed from “insufficient commitment” by those at the frontlines.