Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, has attributed the recent landmine attacks on highways in the state and the vandalization of power lines and other critical government infrastructure to saboteurs and beneficiaries of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Governor made this statement on Tuesday, shortly after distributing about N100 million and wrappers to 20,000 women, comprising victims of the Boko Haram insurgency who fled some local government areas of Northern Borno to the Niger Republic but returned to the state in the aftermath of the Niger coup d’état, as well as thousands of resettled internally displaced persons (IDPs) from communities in Mobbar local government area.
Damasak, the headquarters of Mobbar LGA at the border of the Niger Republic, which is an agrarian town known for large-scale farming of onions, rice, fish, and cattle rearing, is one of the local government areas worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency. However, with relative peace returning there in the past two years, residents are returning and continuing their farming activities.
Further elaborating, Governor Zulum stated he was in Damasak to assess the refugees that returned from the Niger Republic after the coup d’état, following reports that many of the returnees lack shelter.
“We are here to provide palliatives to them and, in addition, we decided to extend the gesture to the entire vulnerable women in Damasak. The military coup has particularly affected the border communities, especially Abadam, Kukawa, and Guzamala local government areas. These areas are seriously affected by the Niger crisis.
“By now, we would have resettled the IDPs from those local government areas to their ancestral homes, but due to the ongoing crisis, we have not been able to do so. However, I am optimistic that the crisis will be resolved. I am sure that the federal government will create alternative means, so that the Nigerian military can take over border areas linking Niger, allowing our people to be resettled,” the Governor said.
On the landmines and IED attacks on some highways in the state, Governor Zulum attributed the attacks to saboteurs and beneficiaries of the insurgency who are profiting from the crisis, adding that the IED and landmine attacks will soon be resolved.
“We have a lot of saboteurs in the Boko Haram insurgency, especially regarding landmine and IED attacks along the highways. We are working with the Nigerian military, the Department of Security Services (DSS) to determine the root cause of the recent happenings. But I want to assure the people that very soon we will address the issue of IEDs on the highways.
“It is a major threat to all of us. It has not been happening in the last two years. It is a recent development, and I believe there is sabotage in the system. Many within and outside the state don’t want the end of the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. Many are profiting from the insurgency and gaining wealth from the crisis.
“Look at the recent IED attacks, the vandalization of electricity power lines. All these acts are aimed at deteriorating the security situation in the state. But we are equal to the task, and we will not allow such issues to continue,” Governor Zulum vowed.
With the relative peace in Damasak, Zulum said the impaired agriculture in the state will be revitalised, adding that he will identify two petrol stations and subsidise the prices of fuel in Damasak to enable farmers to power their generators for irrigation farming.
One of the female IDPs, Yana Modu, expressed gratitude to the Governor for providing basic amenities and palliatives to resettled residents of Damasak and prayed for the absolute return of peace to the area and the entire state.