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Nigeria: Fresh anxiety in govt over Boko Haram violence

Troops will not be withdrawn from troubled Maiduguri.

This is sequel to Intelligence report which revealed that Boko Haram men plan to take over government in Borno State as a preclude to announcing their secession from Nigeria, it was gathered last night.

Besides, security chiefs believe the Islamic fundamentalist sect may have infiltrated the Borno State Police Command, given its understanding of its mode of operation.

The Federal Government is not persuaded by the request of Borno elders who last week called for the withdrawal of troops and their replacement with “well-trained policemen”.

Governor Kashim Shettima is opposed to the position of the elders.

He declared at the weekend that it was not yet time to withdraw the troops.

A security source said: “The main intention of Boko Haram members is to take over the government of the state and they are unrelenting in this plan.

“Once they take over the Government House in Maiduguri, they will announce a separate government. So, there is complicity of backing from some rebels in certain war-ravaged countries.”

On the request for the withdrawal of troops, the source said the government’s stand is that it will not allow insurgents to overrun a part of Nigeria.

The source said: “Most members of this deadly group are between ages 19 and 24. We are suspecting that they have infiltrated the police because they know much of the modus operandi of the police.

“This discovery justifies why the JTF will have to be in force for a while, until the activities of the sect are curtailed.”

A government official said: “The government has no plan to withdraw the troops in Borno State. If the Presidency withdraws the troops, what will be the replacement?

“If the governor of the state is appealing that the troops should stay, you can imagine the magnitude of the situation at hand.

“The government has a responsibility to protect lives and property in all parts of the country and it will not abdicate its duty anywhere in Nigeria, including Borno State.

“The JTF, which is in charge in Borno, comprises many security agencies and the police. And it is because of the presence of the Task Force that we have a semblance of peace that has made evacuation of some people possible.

“It is the business of Borno elders and stakeholders to also come together and call their sons and daughters to work for the peace and security of the state.”

“So far, the Joint Task Force has gained some mileage in checkmating the Boko Haram members and any withdrawal of troops will return the state to status quo.

“Even most of the elders and stakeholders that are demanding withdrawal of troops have relocated to neighbouring states or Abuja. They have left the poor and the vulnerable to bear the brunt of the insurgency.

The Army has said the Boko Haram threat is capable of robbing civil society the support of the army in the maintenance of law and order.

Maj.-Gen. Seriki Yaki Bello, the General Officer Commanding, 82 Div., Nigerian Army Enugu, spoke at the weekend at the closing ceremony of the 2011 Inter-Brigade Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Competition in Calabar.

Gen. Bello, represented by Brig.-Gen. Sylvester Audu, Commander, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, praised the performance of the military during the general elections, despite the post-election violence and other security challenges.

The GOC, however, said some of the troops’ conduct during internal security operations might be subjected to enquiries.

“Some of our attitude, conduct and behaviour during most internal security operations may be subjected to enquiries. It is, therefore, very vital that we exhibit very high standard of professionalism, always.

“Let me warn that while the threat is more pronounced in the North, the effects may spiral to other parts of the country. Some mischievous persons may want to embarrass the military.

“Let me re-emphasise that terrorism has entered Nigeria and we must move with the tide to develop strategies to counter it.

“We must sensitise our troops and family members on terrorist methods and safeguards. We should be extra vigilant and alert, if we are to secure our AORs.

“Commanders are, therefore, enjoined to train and prepare adequately to counter any threat in their AOR,” he said.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has established four resettlement centres in Borno and Yobe states to reduce the suffering of Maiduguri residents displaced by the Boko Haram crisis.

The centres are located behind the Maiduguri Police Hospital, Njimtilo, Gwoza; and Kukareta Boarding Primary School in Yobe State, 105 kilometres west of Maiduguri.

The Northeast coordinator of NEMA, Aliyu Sambo, said: “In each of the resettlement centres, there are no fewer than 200 fleeing residents, with the Kukareta centre accommodating 450 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) to bring the total of Maiduguri fleeing residents to about 1,050 as at 3pm yesterday (Saturday).”

He noted that before the establishment of resettlement camps in Maiduguri and Damaturu, some of the fleeing residents on the 587-kilometre Maiduguri-Kano Road took refuge in their relation’s home in Damaturu. Others sought shelter and food from the ward heads of Njimtilo, Ngamdu, Gwoza and Muna, 135 and 15 kilometres east of Maiduguri, the state capital”.

Sambo said that the agency yesterday gave food and household items, including baby foods and sanitary products for children and women, for distribution at the Muna resettlement centre.

He identified most of the displaced persons as children between the ages of two and 12; and housewives, with each having a minimum of three children to nurse. Among the items distributed by the agency are baby milk and pampers.

Insecticidal mosquito nets and detergents are being distributed to prevent malaria and other water-borne disease, such as cholera and diarrhea in the resettlement centres.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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