Faced with the inability of the Nigerian Army and other security forces to protect residents of Borno State against Boko Haram terrorists, the State Governor, Babagana Zulum, on Monday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to engage the armies of neigbouring countries and also the services of mercenaries to combat the insurgents.
Zulum made a six-point recommendation when a Federal Government delegation sent by Buhari visited the State on condolence visit following the massacre of 110 rice farmers in the state on Saturday by Boko Haram.
He also told the delegation led by Senate President Ahmad Lawan that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has not constructed nor repaired any federal roads in the State over the past 25 years.
He said: “One of our recommendations as possible solutions to end the insurgency is the immediate recruitment of our youths into military and paramilitary services to complement the efforts of the Nigerian forces,” he said.
“Our second recommendation is to engage the services of our immediate neighbours, especially the government of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, in clearing the remnants of Boko Haram hiding in the shores of the Lake Chad.
“Our third recommendation is for him to engage the services of the mercenaries to clear the entire Sambisa forest.
“Our fourth recommendation is for him to provide the police and the military, with armed resistant armoured personnel carriers and other related equipment.
“We are also soliciting the support of the federal government to support the Borno State repatriation of out displaced persons currently residing in Cameroon and Niger Republic,” he said.
Zulum who described Saturday’s killings and many others as avoidable occurrences if adequate support and infrastructure had been provided for the Northeast and military, called on President Buhari to increase federal support for residents of the state.
Lamenting that though the insurgency had dragged on for 11 years, the governor noted that it was persistent because efforts have not been well coordinated.
The governor said one of the major reasons the insurgency persisted was due to a lack of critical infrastructure like good roads in the region.
“If the federal government can fix the bad roads in Borno and the North-east, the insurgency would be reduced by 60 per cent,” he added.
Earlier, the Senator Lawan said the delegation was in the state to commiserate with the people over the gruesome and barbaric killing of the farmers.
He said the President was told that some other farmers in Zabarmari were yet to be accounted for at the time of the visit.
“No efforts will be spared, as the government will do anything and everything until we take the fight against insurgency to their enclaves.
“In this regard, the government will continue to provide resources to our armed forces and other security agencies and also intensify bilateral and multilateral operations with our neighbours, particularly to ensure that the insurgents have nowhere to fight when they are chased out of our country.”
The Federal Government delegation later paid a visit to the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Elkanemi, who also called for more support from the federal government.
Governor Zulum later led the delegation to the attacked community in Zabarmari where Mr Lawan and his co-visitors met and sympathised with the bereaved villagers.
ExpressDay recalls that the last time foreign mercenaries were deployed in the fight against Boko Haram was under former President Goodluck Jonathan just before the 2015 general elections.
The mercenaries are believed to have contributed to the successes the military recorded in the few weeks leading to the 2015 general election.