The Centre For African Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER), on Wednesday, penned an emotional letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the war against terrorism, calling on Governor Babagana Zulum and Borno elders to support the military.
In the letter signed by convener Princess Ajibola, CALSER revealed that the governor as well as the political elites in the state aren’t giving enough moral support to the troops on the frontline.
At every slightest opportunity, the group disclosed that the Borno leaders criticize the military, ignoring their tremendous sacrifices for the safety and peace of his people.
While peace have been restored to neighbouring states, insurgency is on the rise in Borno and CALSER believes this is as a result of the state’s elites deliberately declining in playing complementary roles to the Nigerian military.
The group, therefore, besieged on the president to intervene and ask the Borno governor and leaders to provide complementary credible intelligence information to the troops.
In situation where this fails to happen, however, CALSER called on the president to declare a state of emergency in the state.
Read full letter below:
President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
Executive President &
Commander- in -Chief,
Nigerian Armed Forces,
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Aso Rock Villa,
Your Excellency Sir,
Thee Centre for African Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER) wishes to mourn with you, Nigerians, the Borno State Government and the families of victims of recent terrorists’ attacks in Auno, Borno state.
We deeply appreciate the overt zeal, determination and commitment on the anti-terrorism campaigns of your administration these past years.
Before your intervention in the Boko Haram terrorism scourge, insurgents raged, tormented, devastated and ruined many parts of Northern Nigeria, particularly, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Even the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja was not spared its fury and agonies of terrorists.
In the last near five years, your tested and vast knowledge in military welfare coupled with the carefully assembled team of Service and Security Chiefs (SSCs), Nigeria has been able to decimate and technically defeat Boko Haram terrorism.
Sir, it attracted national and international accolades to Nigeria, yourself and the Nigerian military for this wonderful feat. In fact, even the ardent critics of your Government have repeatedly applauded you on this! Respite descended everywhere including the Northeast where Boko Haram had firm roots.
The launch of the Nigerian Army’s series of clearance operations in the Northeast, the decongestion of IDPs camps and the setting up of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) by your Government are practical signs that normalcy returned to the once troubled region.
Painfully though, the unpatriotic activities of politicians in the build-up to the 2019 general elections saw the proliferation of arms and ammunitions and the resurgence of pockets of violence and killings in parts of Nigeria, terrorism inclusive.
But the FGN under your leadership has not relented in countering these fresh threats of insecurities and the Nigerian Army is also working tirelessly to rid Nigeria of all forms of terrorism. But why the Nigerian military is doing its best to ensure the country buries the ghost of terrorism, some elites in Borno are working day and night to frustrate your administration from finally eradicating terrorism.
And we have noticed that this suspected sabotage is more pronounced in Borno state, the former epicentre of terrorism and where it was birthed and nourished. The political leadership of Borno state and the elites have deliberately declined in playing complementary roles to the Nigerian Military to end terrorism.
While sister states like Yobe and Adamawa states are relatively peaceful and secured in spite of resurged Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism; Borno state has remained a burning furnace on the altar of terrorists. The momentum Boko Haram has gained in Borno which is seriously competing with soldiers to diminish the successes recorded by your Government in combating terrorism is bothersome.
CALSER recalls the words of the Shehu of Borno, HRH Abubakar Gabai when you visited to pay condolence and commiserate with people of the state over Boko Haram’s recent massacres of travelers at Auno village. The monarch bluntly acknowledged that the security situation in the state had once improved until recently when “it has resurfaced.”
Permit us to quote the Governor’s words again; “But from May 2015, we have recovered most of the displaced local government areas. By the year 2016 and 2017, we have almost celebrated the demise of the Boko Haram insurgency. But from March 2019, we have started recording simultaneous attacks and increased activities of the insurgents which have resulted in the loss of lives of our people.”
These are confessional statements from top leaders of Borno state on the efforts of your administration in extinguishing the fires of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism. But the same leaders, elders and community leaders in the state have declined in reciprocating your efforts.
And like you rightly observed in your last condolence visit to Borno, their refusal to provide complementary credible intelligence information to the Nigerian Military to act on terrorism as every situation deserves.
Therefore, like you have stated, CALSER also concords with you that the leaders and elders of Borno communities are not doing enough in terms of cooperation with the military to end the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism, in the state. Boko Haram quite frankly cannot transit wherever they are domiciled into Borno, camp for days, finalize preparations’ and bloodily strike targets without the knowledge of community leaders.
Your Excellency sir, equally disheartening is the tendency of Gov. Zulum to blame the Military at the slightest opportunity almost each time there is a Boko Haram invasion. Like in the latest Auno incident, the Governor blamed the military for its inability to protect the people on the highways. It is an indication that the Governor and his elders have lost traction in playing complementary roles to the military on ending insurgency.
But Gov. Zulum does not remember to even thank the Nigerian Army anytime it averts or repels Boko Haram or the sacrifices they are making for the security and peace of Nigeria. Since your visit, Nigerian troops have repelled terrorist’s invasion and bloodshed at two separate instances in the state. Gov. Zulum has never mentioned it.
From the Governor’s disposition, its clear to us that he neither understands what it takes to be the Chief Security Officer of a state nor is deliberately frustrating your efforts at ending insurgency. The Governor and the elders are acting more like an enemy or antagonistic force or conspirators against the Nigerian Military operating in his state in the counter-insurgency operations.
It was very discouraging and unimpressive when Gov. Zulum again blamed the military in your presence. He unashamedly said; “We are calling on the Nigerian military to retrace their steps and replicate the successes they have recorded in 2016 and 2017 so that we can end this insurgency once and for all.”
He knows our military have the capacity to repress and completely impair terrorists. But how could they again replicate these exploits when Gov. Zulum, other elders and community leaders in Borno are discreetly frustrating their efforts? How could the Army do it without good intelligence or cooperation of the local populace?
These leaders have refused to place themselves in charge of security in their respective domains. The terrorists who struck at Auno did not assembly there in a jiffy or overnight when travelers were stranded on the road to launch the attack. The terrorists must have camped in the vicinity for long and scouting for an opportunity to strike, but no one averred intelligence report to the Military. But the only concern is to blame the FGN or soldiers when an attack is unleashed.
This conduct by Borno leaders is condemnable, self-indicting and objectionable. Outside hoarding intelligence information and courting of terrorists, Borno elders and elites, including Gov. Zulum have refused to address the massive youth economic empowerment and employment deficit to break their passion and cord with terrorism. The youths are the foot soldiers hired by terrorists.
Borno elders have never considered the option of a broad-based dialogue forum with their people to also discuss the menace of Boko Haram. No elder or leader is thinking of this initiative and collectively, as Zamfara state Gov. Bello Maradun Matawallen did in the case of banditry in the state.
CALSER has no hesitation to say, we have observed these trends in Borno and the state deserves a full declaration of a state of emergency. It is only a complete state of emergency in Borno State that can re-restore order and security to the people.
Borno Governor, elders and leaders have refused to do the needful. We have reason to agree with the postulations in your speech in Maiduguri that the political class/leaders in Borno have failed the state and the people.
Your Excellency, if Borno Governor, elders and community leaders have failed the state, but Nigerians will not fail Borno. And the first step now is to declare a full-blown state of emergency in the state.
Thank you, Sir, as we anxiously await your immediate response