FOR the second time within one year, the convoy of Professor Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, was attacked by yet-to-be ascertained gunmen on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 while on active duty.
Zulum was travelling from Kukawa to Baga on the shores of Lake Chad when gunfire exploded, a scene that was recorded on video. He was hustled away to safety by security agents.
Governor Zulum and his immediate predecessor, Senator Kashim Shettima, evolved a habit of personally supervising the distribution of food and other relief materials to the displaced persons in the hinterland where Boko Haram is active.
This is to minimise the theft of these relief materials by corrupt officials and to ensure their equitable distribution. It is also an opportunity to inspect projects and reassure the people that government has not abandoned them. Borno State being the epicentre of Boko Haram insurgency, highway attacks and abductions of people by the Islamists are rampant. When Shettima’s convoy was attacked at Konduga it led to loss of several lives.
The attack on Zulum this time is peculiar in that the governor boldly asserts that his attackers were not Boko Haram but “saboteurs” within the military. The governor strongly believes that some elements in the military routinely sabotage efforts to end the insurgency for personal gain.
This is not the first time such speculations are making their ways to the public arena. Some soldiers have frequently posted videos on the social media alleging that some of their colleagues leak battle plans to the enemies and enable them to stage deadly ambushes which have taken heavy tolls on our fighting forces and whittled down morale.
Coming from the Chief Executive of the main frontline state in the Boko Haram war, this allegation can no longer be swept under the carpet.
We call on President Muhammadu Buhari and his National Security Adviser, NSA, to look into it with all the seriousness and urgency it deserves. If every stakeholder was strictly committed with one accord to ending the war it would have ended long ago.
War profiteering often sets in when a military campaign is allowed to fester for too long. After 11 years, the Boko Haram war has turned into a military morass, and this plays to the advantage of insurgents and guerrilla fighters.
It is unfortunate that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, a Borno indigene, found the courage to say that Nigeria is safer than it was five years ago.
Meanwhile, about 10 million people whose livelihoods depend on the Lake Chad Basin remain displaced due to Boko Haram occupation.
If indeed there is a network of saboteurs, it must be comprehensively rooted out and destroyed to enable us to end the Boko Haram insurgency.