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BOKO HARAM – Running out of options or will? 2

Recently the security situation in the country elicited intense debate in the National Assembly with representatives particularly from the North-east making impassioned speeches detailing the…

Recently the security situation in the country elicited intense debate in the National Assembly with representatives particularly from the North-east making impassioned speeches detailing the horrors occurring within their communities. Last week on this page I carried the speech of Rep Usman Zanna from Borno State, who called on our armed forces to take the fight to the insurgents. This week I am bringing to the readers two more of such speeches: one from a Senator from Adamawa State and the other from a Rep from Borno State.

Senator Ishaku Elisha Abbo (Adamawa North): “Recall, Your Excellency, my distinguished colleagues, few months ago, armed men invaded my house in my village, over 15 of them, all bearing AK 47 riffles, abducted my step mother, abducted my two brothers. Villagers came out, confronted them. They released my two brothers and went away with my father’s wife, who left behind an 11-day old baby.

Also, Your Excellency, few months ago, the same bandits came back to my village and killed the ward chairman of my party in my own ward. I am a victim.

Michika-Madagali that I represent here today, from 5th November to 11th January, Boko Haram visited that place nine times. They turned the place into Boko Haram barn. Whenever they run out of food they stroll into those local governments, cart away their food, cart away their drugs, empty the shops, supermarket and take it back to their forest, almost unchallenged.

Mr. President we never had it this bad, of recent years, we never had it this bad in this country security wise. Few days ago, you called me to represent you at the burial of the CAN chairman of my local government. He was abducted by Boko Haram, and killed like an animal. They slaughtered him.  I represented you in that burial. Mr. President a lot of us have spoken here today but let me add my own voice. Going by the Budget Office, from 2012 to 2019, the Nigerian military alone received over 4.5 trillion naira. This is a government budget, budgeted by the National Assembly. Service-wide votes and other types of funding are not inclusive of these funds. So, it’s not all about funding. How do our military utilize these? On the 3rd of January when Boko Haram invaded that community, when they were repelled, they camped after a river within Michika. Security forces could not go there because they told me that their vehicle had spoiled. Soldiers!

Mr. President sir, I want to plead. The service chiefs have done their best but I think they have run out of ideas. When they came in, they came with vigor. They came with force, they came with strength, and we were seeing results. Things have deteriorated. I am calling. The service chiefs you appointed on the 5th- on the 13th of July 2015, as of today the service chiefs have been in office for four years six months. We are talking about overhauling the security architecture. There is grumbling in the military. They are grumbling. Silence is no longer golden here. Let me borrow the words of my sister. Yesterday’s survivors are today’s victims. Today’s survivors are tomorrow’s victims. Mr. President needs to rejig the security apparatus. And if we need foreign help we should not be ashamed of asking for foreign help to come and help us. Today in Borno state, virtually all trunk A roads are shut down in Borno state, Trunk B roads are also all shut down in Borno state. Nobody dares move. I call on the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to look inwards.

I want to repeat. The security chiefs have done their best.  I think it’s time to bring in new ideas to come and help this country. Thank you for your time sir.”

Rep. Ahmadu Usman Jaha (Damboa, Gwoza, Chibok, Federal Constituency) “The other time I said without fear of any contradiction, that substantial part of my constituency is still under the occupation of Boko Haram. I equally went further to say, that substantial parts of northern Borno from my state is still are under occupation of Boko Haram.

Another thing, Your Excellency I am even surprised, and I will move as an amendment to this motion, calling on the immediate replacement of the service chiefs in Nigeria. Mr. speaker when I contested election, I visited all my constituency and I know the risk I took to follow all these areas. I have sacrificed my life. I am not stupid. I know the consequences of unveiling a masquerade. I may be declared dead tomorrow, but I will be happy to try if my people can live in peace, can go back to their farmlands, schools can be open, people can go to school, so that out of school children can be out of the street.

Mr. Speaker we have to tell each other the truth. Nigeria is the only country we have, and we have to do everything within our limits, as parliamentarian, as legislators to safeguard the territorial integrity of this country.

Just recently in my constituency, in my local government, in my electoral ward, where I reside, few meters away from Emir’s palace, less than 150 meters away from the military barracks, few meters away from central parks, suicide bombers attacked a mosque, early morning and killed three people.

Just recently between Damaturu and Maiduguri – is less than 135 kilometers, a young man of 10 years old, beheaded a Christian brother from Plateau, who was on his way to school in Maiduguri. He went even to the extent of inciting religious crises, by saying we are doing this to revenge what your parents did to us or did to our parents in the past in Plateau. All these are strategies by Boko Haram insurgents to incite religious crises in the country. Failure or inability or refusal to release Leah Sharibu is equally a strategy to incite religious crises. The pastor that was killed in Adamawa, is from my constituency, is from Balala, and Balala is a ward in my constituency of Chibok. This guy is a revered pastor, a man of God. They caught this guy in Michika and assassinated him. They allowed him to do a video at the very beginning, to tell Nigerians t come to his rescue, either federal govt, either UN agencies, or INGO, or any of the negotiators to come to his rescue, by paying some ransom. Nobody cared to do that. At the end of the period they assassinated that particular pastor, trying to incite religious crises.

So Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier and I will repeat it, I am not stupid. I know the consequences of unveiling a masquerade. I know what I am saying. I know tomorrow some people can come for me, but I am calling on the immediate replacement, sorry, removal of the all service chiefs, and their immediate replacement with the competent ones. Because the truth of the matter is known to all Nigerians. They have over stayed. And all forces under them are not stimulated to work, they are not stimulated to perform, they are not stimulated to end this war.

Mr. Speaker this is my position, thank you, sir.”

Harsh words. Really very harsh words, but that was the refrain that chorused throughout the hallowed chambers during the debates. There was unanimity among our representatives that we are gradually losing out the will to fight. No wonder the leadership of the National Assembly immediately walked into the President’s office to deliver this unanimous protest.

We are still awaiting the outcome.