By Danlami Nmodu
The Centre For Information Technology and Development,CITAD has expressed shock over what it called the brazen, shocking and worrisome attacks on Gubio and Magumeri local governments in Borno State by Boko Haram.
Executive Director of CITAD, Y.Z. Yau who made the position known Friday at a press conference also called for a change of counter insurgency strategy in the face of recent “setbacks.” He also demanded a probe of the emerging war economy in the north east.
He said “CITAD is shocked and worried that in the last couple of weeks attacks by Boko Haram have become more frequent, more brazen and very destructive. We express our condolence to the families of all those who lost their loved ones and wish speedy recovery for those who have sustained injuries in the attacks.
“These incidences raised a serious question on the efficacy of our counter insurgency strategy. Rather than driving and squeezing out the insurgents, it appears they are daily gaining grounds and coming more atrocious against our people.
Sharing his group’s insight into the attacks, Yau said “In the evening of Wednesday 21st August, Boko Haram Insurgents launched a simultaneous and coordinated attacks on both Gubio and Magumeri Local Governments of Borno State. The attacks coming a week following an earlier one on Gubio has witnessed massive destruction in the community. So far, fatality figures are not yet clear. the attacks lasted till morning hours of Thursday. The destruction and killings are serious setback to the efforts at resettling, reconstruction and rebuilding of these communities that have been ravaged by the insurgency for almost 10 years now. It has now pushed back many more hundred people to new displaced, some of them for the second or third time.
“Coming at the height of the farming season, it also means that these attacks would have serious impact on food security in the region. This can exacerbate the already humanitarian disaster that is rooted in the region.
CITAD’s boss noted “that the insurgents took advantage of the fact that both Gubio and Magumeri have no military presence or cover to protect the communities from attacks by the insurgents, in other words, the communities are an open target for these attacks.
“In fact, entire stretch between Maiduguri to Damasak, at the border with Niger republic, spanning over 160 kilometres, had been left without military presence and may be vulnerable to attacks.
“The remnant of military fled Gubio following the first attack on the military brigades that was stationed there.
Following the setback, the civil society group which also commended “the patriotism and gallantry of our soldiers” has called on the government to as a matter of urgency embark on several measures which include to:
“Review and fine tune the National Counter Insurgency Strategy as to make it an effective tool to end the insurgency and secure our citizens and the territories they live. As it is the insurgents seems to be gaining strength;
“Should investigate and find immediate solution to the growing influence of the allure of war economy in which top military brass are benefiting and becoming more interested in exploiting such an economy for their personal aggrandizement than in saving lives and ending the conflict. It known that in some communities, soldiers have taken over control of major economic activities such as fishing. There are even allegations of appropriation of cattle herds of villagers by some of the military leaders;
“Government must ensure that our troops are well equipped and supported with high quality of intelligence. Given the high handedness of the military, they are not likely to get the best from the communities ;
“Should investigate the allegations of the nonpayment of allowances of soldiers. There have been reports about these and such situation is capable of damping the morels of soldiers;
“Investigate cases of military high handedness on community members and abuse of rights and dignity of ordinary citizens. For instance, in March 2019, few weeks before the forceful displacements of over 5,000 people from Jakana to IDP camps in Maiduguri, villages in Kukawa had their market burnt to the ground by soldiers because people that were linked to the fighters were reportedly patronizing the markets;
“Compliment military strategy with efforts that will engage communities and enhancing their community resilience to not only repel but also make it difficult for the insurgents to launch an attack on them(and) ;
“Finally, we call for the immediate restoration of military cover in the two local governments” the group said.#TrackNigeria