Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, expressed anger over what he described as the routine attacks of travellers and villagers by Boko Haram along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway.
The governor, who visited Jakana, one of the major towns along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, on Monday, faulted the army for Friday’s abduction of over 30 travellers.
Zulum said it was disappointing that the majority of the attacks within the last two years, took place between Auno and Jakana, a distance of about 20 kilometers.
He said this in a statement on Monday titled, ‘Friday abductions: Zulum visits Jakana, furious over routine attacks on Maiduguri-Damaturu highway …Baffled with army’s failure to secure 20 kilometers’.
The statement quoted the governor as saying, “I have had occasions to defend the Nigerian military in order to boost the morale of commanders and their troops at the front lines because I know the true picture of things, however, I am really disappointed that despite all support from both the federal government and from us in Borno state, our military is failing to secure an area of 20 kilometers, which is the distance between Auno and Jakana.
“And incidentally, the majority of Boko Haram’s attacks along this Maiduguri-Damaturu-Kano road, keeps happening between Auno and Jakana. So, if the military cannot secure 20 kilometers, how can they keep us with the hope they will defeat the Boko Haram?”
The governor also berated the army and his own state government established rapid response squad which combines well-equipped policemen, vigilantes, and local hunters, for lack of visibility along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road.
“With all you (journalists) we drove from Maiduguri to here, Jakana. We did not see soldiers on the road, we did not see even our own rapid response squad on this road and they were trained, employed, kitted, and paid to protect all Nigerians within their areas of operation and these Nigerians include travelers plying this busy and important road,” the governor noted.
He recalled that this year alone, the insurgents carried out many attacks along Maiduguri-Damaturu-Kano road, including the one in February, in which over 30 persons, including a nursing mother and an infant, were burnt to death as travelers.