The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, on Friday, gave out 70 new vehicles to the military and security outfits for surveillance operations.
At a crowded event in Maiduguri, Mr Zulum handed the vehicles to all heads of security organizations comprising the Nigerian Army, police, and volunteers in the civilian JTF and local hunters.
The governor made this gesture amidst the worsening security in the state.
Boko Haram and its ISWAP splinter faction have, in the past weeks, stepped up attacks on highways and communities.
The insurgents have recently concentrated on attacking the Kano-Maiduguri highway, which had been the only relatively safe route leading to the state. Several travellers, including security personnel, have been killed or abducted on the route.
A convoy of the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Olusegun Adeniyi, was Tuesday unsuccessfully ambushed by the insurgents along Kano-Maiduguri highway.
On Thursday, about seven travellers were ambushed and abducted by the Boko Haram gunmen, on the same highway.
The governor, earlier in the week, had a faceoff with the army when he accused soldiers of extorting money from travellers without national ID cards. He also accused the army of attempting to illegally evacuate villages without recourse to due process.
Following an emergency security meeting which held on Thursday, all parties reiterated their commitments for a better collaboration against the insurgents.
The governor, on Friday, thereafter, inaugurated a security rapid response squad for enhanced tackling of the decade long insurgency.
During the event that held at the Shehu of Borno’s palace, the governor released 70 newly acquired Hilux vans, which were handed over to all security outfits.
The governor had also released 160 surveillance vehicles to security agencies and volunteers fighting the insurgents, between June and September 2019.
Mr Zulum, at the event, assured citizens of his administration’s commitment to the security of lives and property.
“I have said a number of times that this administration will not hesitate to take any measure or make any sacrifice in order to ensure peace and security returns to our state,” he said.
“As the chief security officer of Borno State, it is my constitutional and moral responsibility to do whatever I possibly can in trying to secure the lives of citizens and doing that, is the whole essence of government in the first place,” Mr Zulum said.
He called on all traditional and community leaders “to re-dedicate themselves to mobilising participation in vigilance and generating local intelligence.”
Hide no insurgent
The governor, a professor of irrigation engineering, also used the occasion to warn residents not to “harbor insurgents and those perpetrating criminal activities.”
“We cannot succeed in winning a lasting peace if we do not give maximum support to our security operatives, by giving them information about the identities of culprits and their hideouts, ” he said.
“On no account should we protect or hide anybody with the evil intention of destroying our state,” adding that the consequence of conspiracy is grievous.
The governor also seized the occasion to applaud the military, other security establishments, and volunteers “for their sacrifices in battling Boko Haram in Borno.”
The state’s Commissioner of Justice, Kaka Lawan, had earlier explained that the launch of the rapid response squad was in line with the multilateral approaches adopted by the government in tackling Boko Haram.