By Suleiman Umaru
Babagana Zulum, a Professor and governor of the north eastern state of Borno, is a lucky man. This is bcause of the three consecutive attempts on his convoy between July, and Saturday, September 26, 202020, by assailants suspected to be BokoHaram Insurgents with the intention to kill him .
The two attempts on the governor’s convoy, that APears to have dominated people’s discussion over the last one week, was that of Friday , September 25, and Saturday, September 26, 2020, an internal of 48 hours. The attacks were said to have occurred within the same location, along the notorious Maiduguri – Baga road, in Kukawa local government Area of the state.
In the case of the Saturday incident, the governor’s convoy was said to have ran into the ambush by the BokoHaram suspects at a location called Korochara, which was said to be about two kilometers away from the base of the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, comprising of soldiers from Nigeria, Niger and Chad, on the way to the Baga fishing Community.
This may have fueled speculations making the rounds that there are military spies from the Islamic Fundamentalist group, BokoHaram, which had penetrated the ranks of the MNJTF, to embarrass the government, and prolong the terrorist war in Borno and other states in the north east.
The Saturday attack shocked people of the state and other parts of the country as the governor was in the convoy being escorted out of Baga town after successfully conducting his official engagement of receiving the indigenes who had been in exile between December 28, 2018 and much of this year, following the takeover of the Commercial town by the Insurgents after allegedly overpowering the soldiers in their Barracks, thus exposing the people to danger.
The Baga indigenes , who no longer believe that the MNJTF and Operation Dole soldiers could guarantee their security in the town were said to have gone on self- exile to Munguno, Maiduguri, the state Capital and its environs, for their safety . Note that Maiduguri, is the Operational base of the Operation Lafya Dole.
The assailants may have made a wrong calculation on the September 24, 2020, attack on a convoy being escorted by armed police men to Baga. The military personnel may have known the dangers on the Maiduguri –Baga road that they had arranged one of the Operation Lafya Dole gunship Helicopters which flew the governor and some of the dignitaries to the Baga fishing Community.
The attack may have turned out to be disappointment to the Boko Haram assailants who had laid ambush for the supposed governor’s convoy along the Maiduguri and Baga route. They may have concluded that Zulum, the Borno state, who had remained a thorn in their flesh over the last 18 months, of assuming office in the state would not escape unhurt.
. They may have been forced to go back to the drawing board , to plot on the next line of action on how to get the governor with the collaboration of their informants when the Thursday failed to achieve the desied result .But the Tukur Buratai, a Lt General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS, trained soldiers deployed to the north east Commercial town to tighten up security because of the governor’s visit were not ready to give room to the Insurgents to cause any embarrassment in the state.
The soldiers, who were said to have supported the governor’s police escort Team out of Baga town back to Maiduguri when They the suspected BokoHaram fighters opened fire on the convoy were said to have engaged them in a gun duel , forcing them to flee, but some policemen on the convoy were said to have been hit by the Insurgent’s bullet and died on the spot, an indication both for the military escort, the Professor, who was been accompanied out of Baga,town, with his entourage would have been killed. Bad news.
The visit of Zulum, the Borno state governor to the State Police Command may have provided opportunity for Bello Makwashi, the state Commissioner of Police, to release the names of the officers killed by the Insurgents in the Saturday attack. Given an insider information, the CP, had said that eight Police officers fell to the assailant’s bullet.
An aggrieved Makwashi, who was not happy that his men deployed to be in the governor’s escort team in and out of Baga town back to Maiduri, could be killed. He may have released the names of the officers who paid the supreme price in defending the governor in t times of danger because of the alleged pressure from several quarters both within and outside the state to ease the restiveness in the Police Barracks and furtherrestore Confidence to the officers.
‘’The Borno state Police Command may have broken the sad news to the families of those in Maiduguri’’ to bring the situation under control. This is an indication that the number of slain officers by the Insurgents in the Saturday attack could be more, as the CP had said that some families were still on their way coming to the State Police Headquarter to make inquiries.
The governor who had expressed deep regret about the incident , described as the first since he assumed powers about 18 months ago , may have gladdened the heart of Makwashi, the Borno state CP and the families of the deceased when he promised ‘’ to support the deceased officers’ families livelihood efforts and the Education of their Children’’.
Zulum who could not hide his feelings was said to have further told the CP, ‘’I am not at the state Police Command to just see you and go to Government House without saying a word,’’God willing we shall not let you down, we shall support you to do your work’’. He could make such prmise because he had Witnessed the bloodbath which have deeply touched him. Security analysts would want the governor to extend such promises to the Policemen families who were killed in the Thursday attack, that exposed the security lapses in the state.
Recall that on Friday, September 25, 2020, assailants suspected to BokoHaram fighters had laid ambush on the convoy of the Borno state government officials heading to Baga to join the governor, allegedly killing eight police men and thre Civilian JTF, but the Reporters on the Team claimed that sixteen security Operatives were killed while unspecified number of other officers remain unknown.
Political analysts believe that the assailants could easily emerge from their hide out in the bush in the Baga axis to carry out attacks on the Maiduguri – Baga route and escape because MNJTF and Operation Lafya Dole , may not fully reclaimed the fishing Community to make it a no go area for the Insurgents to cause any havoc.
The All Progressive Congress , APC, governors, are not happy about the continued plot by perceived enemies and party thugs, hiding under the cover of BokoHaram to kill Zulum, who had proved a hard nut to crack. The APC governors, noted that ‘’the attacks on the convoys associated with the Borno state governor was’’ a ploy to distract him from fulfilling his electioneering Campaign promises to his people and ensuring that life returns to normacyl in the BokoHaram ravaged state.
In condemning the attacks on the Professor, turned Politician and now governor of Borno state, the APC, believe that the resort to guerrilla warfare by the Insurgents in the recent time was a clear indication that they are losing ground and an’’evidence to show that the government is winning the war against terror in the north east state’’.
Given the attacks on the police escorts of the Borno state governor in the recent time, ostensibly to kill him and halt the development of the state and the programmed resettlement plan of the displaced people of the state the APC governors, appear, to have thrown their weight behind the Borno state governor’s efforts ‘’to end all activities of BokoHaram Insurgents, which promote trade and tax Administration that fund their murderous activities’’. This should gladden the heart of Zulum, who has been fighting a lone battle against the Insurgents over the last one year in the state with its lean resources.
The BokoHaram suspects continued atatempts on the life of,Zulum, the Borno state governor may have forced President Muhammadu Buri and Commander –In-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces, to renew his commitment to degrade the Insurgents, Bandits and other Criminal elements along Nigerian borders.
Rauf Aregbesola, a former governor of Osun state and now mnister of Interior, broke the cheering news on Monday, September, 28, 2020, during the passing out parade of 320 Immigration Officers who were said to have been trained in the ancient town of Kano, north west Nigeria’’ to participate in a Special Operation in the north western part of the country
. Aregbesola , who could not hide his feelings said ‘’the increasing number of security personnel at the nation’s land borders will not only check the proliferation of light weapons and Contrabands into the country but also cripple the activities of the bandits, Insurgents and kidnappers’’
. The minister who could hide his feelings had said ‘’that much has been committed to the training of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, personnel, urging the Immigration pesonnel to justify the huge amount spent on them by the government by being Professional in all their doing to protect the country from influx and infiltration of by illegal immigrants. He urged them not to hesitate to call for the support of the military personnel when the need arises.
Political Observers believe that this would go a long way to reduce banditary in the northwest and Insurgents activities in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, as the Boko Haram fighters would find it difficult to migrate from Niger, Chad or any part of of the Sahel region to enter into inNigeria , Launch attack and escape to their hideouts in these neighboring West African countries.