Following Tuesday evening’s ambush on the convoy of Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, a security source told PREMIUM TIMES that security aides have long questioned the governor’s decision not to use bulletproof vehicles.
At least five persons including a soldier were reportedly killed when suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked Mr Shettima’s convoy along the Maiduguri-Gamboru highway.
The security source, who declined to be named as he does not have permission to speak, said it has always been a major concern for security details attached to Mr Shettima.
He said the governor rebuffed several pleas to use bulletproof vehicles in his convoy despite the availability of two at the Government House.
According to him, the vehicles are only used to transport visiting VIPs while in Borno State.
The source said Mr Shettima insists that “it is morally wrong for him as leader of his convoy’s delegation to be driving in bulletproofs while his aides and associates who travel because of him, drive in ordinary vehicles.”
“He feels it is not an act of leadership and he also feels that driving in bulletproof can send panic in the minds of his aides and associates in his convoy,” he added.
He also said: “from a security point of view, the governor is wrong and the security details may have been pointing to him that as Governor of Borno State, he faces the highest risk since Boko Haram insurgents and other criminals would normally prefer him as their priceless target and if they can get him, they won’t mind using multiple suicide bombers.
“The man has courage, no doubt and his argument is understandable from a moral point of view but not from a security point of view. His security details are always agitated because they know he doesn’t use bullet proof and yet he is not afraid of going to dangerous places including when he travelled to Chibok in 2014 and Gwoza after the Emir was killed in the same year.
“At that time, Boko Haram controlled the roads and when he was travelling, his convoy was clearing landmines to pave. Recently, he went to Monguno and spent the night there days after Boko Haram made three attempts. Interestingly, he didn’t even sleep in the military base, he slept with the civilian populace. He should have joined the Army.
“I think the NSA or whoever is in the position should compel Governor Shettima to henceforth drive in bulletproof whether he likes it or not. It is a matter of his security and not what he likes. He is public property,” the source said.
Shettima Keeps Mum
When contacted, Wednesday evening, the spokesperson of Governor Shettima, Isa Gusau, said he could not speak on the matter.
“What you are asking about is security related and only the governor himself can respond. The alternative to speak with should have been the Chief Security Officer to the Governor who happens to be a DSS official that will hardly speak to the press. I think you should hold on while I get in touch with the governor,” Mr Gusau said.
He was yet to get back on Thursday morning. Also, his telephone line could not be reached.