Borno governor Babagana Zulum says he is baffled by what he described as the failure of the Nigerian Army to do its job.
Zulum made the comments during a visit to Jakana, one of the major towns along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, an area which has fallen prey to repeated Boko Haram attacks.
Zulum’s visit followed Friday’s kidnapping of at least 30 travellers in the area.
Zulum said it was disappointing that majority of the attacks within the last two years took place between Auno and Jakana, a distance of about 20 kilometers.
“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,” the governor said on Monday.
“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, 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 rapid response squad which combines well equipped policemen, vigilantes and local hunters, for lack of visibility along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road.
He said the failure makes it possible for Boko Haram terrorists to keep running their deadly show in the axis.
“With all you (journalists) we drove from Maiduguri to here, Jakana,” Zulum said.
“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,” thr governor lamented.
Zulum said that this year alone, Boko Haram terrorists 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.
Zulum, however, assured residents that he was going to immediately hold a security meeting and hopefully come up with more measures to secure the highway.
The governor urged citizens to continually support the military by sharing information that would generate credible intelligence on the activities of insurgents.