By Mustapha Adamu
Following the Boko Haram attack in Gubio and Magumeri Local Government Areas of Borno State on Wednesday, a civil society organisation, Centre for Information Technology and Development, (CITAD) has raised the alarm that the insurgents launched the onslaught due to the absence of military from Maiduguri to Damasak, a border town with the Niger Republic.
At a news conference in Kano on Friday, Executive Director of CITAD, Yunusa Zakari said the entire stretch between Maiduguri to Damasak, spanning 160 kilometres, had been left without a military presence.
He said Gubio and Magumeri, the two local governments that fall between the Maiduguri and Damasak, were attacked because the insurgents took advantage of the military absence in the areas.
Mr Zakari noted that the remnant of the military that were left in Gubio had fled the area following the first attack on the military brigade that was deployed there.
“We note that the insurgents took advantage of the fact they both Gubio and Magumeri have no military presence or cover to protect the communities from attacks. In other words, the communities are open an open target for these attacks.
” In fact, the entire stretch between Maiduguri to Damasak, at the border with the Niger Republic, spanning over 160 kilometres, had been left without the military presence and may be vulnerable to attacks. The remnant of military fled Gubio following the first attack on military brigade that was stationed there,” he said
The Executive Director, however, called on the federal government to review the National Counter-Insurgency Strategy, adding that the recent attack raised a serious question on the efficacy of the counter-insurgency.
He also urged the government to “investigate and fashion out an immediate solution to the growing influence of war economy in which top military brass were allegedly benefitting and becoming more interested in exploiting such an economy for their social aggrandizement than in saving lives and ending the conflict.
It is known that in some communities, a soldier has taken over control of major economic activities such as fishing,” he alleged.
“Government must ensure that our troops are well equipped and supported with high quality of intelligence,”
Mr Zakari also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the allegations of non-payment of allowances of soldiers, saying; “there have been reports about these and such situation is capable of damping the morals of the soldiers.”
While noting that the attacks would have serious impact on food security as they happened in the height of farming season, Mr Zakari also called for restoration of military cover in the two local governments that suffered the attacks last Wednesday.
He commended the patriotism and gallantry of Nigerian soldiers, calling on the government to heed to the advises in a bid to bring lasting solutions to the insurgency in the area.