The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has approved N50 million for the digging of trenches and building of sand hills around the University of Maiduguri as a means of averting further attacks by Boko Haram, an official said.
According to a statement issued by Mr. Shettima’s spokesperson, Isa Gusau, the trench will go round the 27km radius of the university’s landmass.
The university has since January this year become a major target of Boko Haram suicide bombers who usually sneak into the premises, mostly at night to detonate bombs.
A number of persons, including a renowned professor of veterinary medicine, were killed in the attacks
“Governor Shettima announced that he was releasing the fifty million naira not only to fund the digging exercise but also to support payment of allowances to special guards drawn from local vigilantes who are to work with the military in policing porous areas”, said the spokesperson.
“The trenches are being designed to make it impossible for insurgents to drive into the university and also create difficulty for insurgents to cross on foot while the military will take advantage of being at the top to neutralise insurgents.
“Even though the University is a Federal institution, it was also part of Borno Government’s responsibility to intervene in securing lives and preventing the desire of insurgents to force the close down of the school,” Mr. Shettima was quoted as saying in the statement.
The university’s staff unions, including lecturers and students, had on Wednesday accused the federal government of not doing enough to protect the institution.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the university, Aliyu Shugaba, who on Wednesday conducted Mr. Shettima round the scenes where suicide attacks were carried out on Sunday night, expressed delight at the governor’s intervention.
The university has put up a request of N2.8 billion to the federal government to enable it fund the erection of perimeter fence round the exposed portions of the school. That proposal has not been granted, further fuelling the unions’ angst.
Mr. Gusau said the governor also held a meeting with all the security heads in the state as well as those in charge of internal security at the university, where measures of improving the university’s security were discussed.
“The meeting agreed to contribute armed personnel from the Army, local vigilante, guards with the University in addition to erecting additional points for distance surveillance and night vision surveillance gadgets.”
The Borno Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu, who was part of the meeting, reportedly gave assurance that more police officers would be deployed to the varsity to beef up surveillance around the campus.