Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, yesterday said Boko Haram fighters lure recruits with as low as N5,000. The governor also reveals how his government sustained the fight against insurgents in the state in the last two years.
He made the revelations in his statewide broadcast to commemorate this year’s Democracy Day (June 12, 2021) and his second anniversary in office, stating that “of all Nigeria’s 36 states, none is faced with the level of Borno’s security and by extension, social and economic challenges.
According to him: “From day one, we were faced with an acute humanitarian crisis, particularly in northern and some parts of the central senatorial zones. As such, we made it a policy that as governor, I assume the role of chief humanitarian officer for different reasons. “On one hand, it was our duty to deliver help to our fellow citizens that were either internally displaced or taking refuge in neighbouring countries.
“On the other hand, there was the risk that insurgents could, after making IDPs socially and economically vulnerable, also explore that vulnerability by offering food and cash incentives to recruit fighters who could even serve as their spies in communities. From records, we have experienced instances when insurgents offered as low as between 5,000 and 10,000 Naira to recruit some spies and smugglers of weapons. We therefore needed to take steps ahead by making sure we regularly visit IDPs in all parts of Borno, including remote locations, to efficiently and sufficiently deliver food, cash support, and clothing. We needed to ensure that our good citizens had the support they needed, and they were not exposed to potential attractions for the incentives of insurgents.”
“Borno has thousands of volunteers who are being paid monthly allowances, provided with kits and vehicles to complement the military in the fight against Boko Haram,” he said, adding that his government “continually supports IDPs and vulnerable citizens with cash to strengthen their resilience to Boko Haram manipulations.”
He said: “It has been two years since we took the oath of office, following the overwhelming mandate you, the good people of Borno State, entrusted to us during the 2019 democratic transition.
In these two years, we have together, witnessed continued turbulence even though in the midst of shared hope, shared optimism, shared faith, shared resilience and communal determination to ceaselessly devote ourselves to freeing our Borno from 12 years of vicious insurgency.
“As part of that commitment, we, from our first day in office, made security our number one priority. My first activity as Governor of Borno State was to interface with the head of the military involved in the fight against insurgents.
In our first week in office, we interfaced with thousands of our volunteers from the civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes, and we increased their monthly allowances, in addition to allocating to them more patrol vehicles and other logistics needed to enhance their operational roles of complementing armed forces in fighting Boko Haram.
In our combined approach, we took aggressive steps of recruiting thousands of hunters from different parts of northern Nigeria, mobilised and deployed them to accelerate our support for the military.
We made it a policy that in all our 27 local government areas, volunteers were strengthened with additional recruitment, surveillance vehicles and other gadgets.
The governor told his people that the steps he has taken so far, including encouraging and monitoring of doctors, traditional rulers and civil servants to ensure they remain in the rural communities, have yielded positive results. “Our approach has steadily yielded dividends as we can see from gradual pick up of increased commitment in hospitals, schools, other government institutions and in our local government areas,” he said.