By Edward Adamidenyo, Regional Editor
Borno State governor Babagana Zulum has donated over 20 patrol vehicles to the Nigerian Army as he renewed his call on the federal government to engage mercenaries to prosecute the ongoing war against insecurity.
The Governor also officially reopened the Maiduguri – Gamboru Ngala – Chad Republic trunk ‘A’ federal highway which is one of the busiest and most popular commercial federal highway linking Borno state and Chad Republic for road users.
While jointly cutting the tape, Governor Zulum urged the road users, union leaders of fish and road transport owners to be law-abiding and cooperate with the security agencies.
Zulum reiterated the demand for the involvement of foreign mercenaries also known as ‘Soldiers of Fortune’ on Thursday during the weekly briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The governor said developed countries with superior military power are also engaging mercenaries.
According to him, “We want clearance of the shores of Lake Chad. Again, in conclusion, while the challenge of insecurity is being solved gradually, it is not yet over. I have said times without numbers that in addition to what we are doing, there is a need for the government to rethink and look into the possibility of hiring mercenaries.
He also promised to continue to support trade unions and other businesses in the state in any way possible to boost their businesses and make them self-reliant and expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Army and other security agencies for their support and cooperation in maintaining peace and tranquility in the area.
The governor noted that it is important that the respective trade unions must work in synergy with the security agencies and impress on their members to comply with security rules and regulations.
On his part, the Theatre Commander, JTF Operation Hadin Kai, Theater Command Headquarters Maimalari Cantonment, Major General Chris. G. Musa charged the security team to be committed and prompt in the discharge of their duties and ensure the safety of lives and property of the road users.
He called on the road users to always abide by the rules of the security agents who are to provide security for them from Maiduguri down to Gamboru Ngala Town.
The Theater Commander further appreciated the state government for its support and encouragement to the Nigerian Army, particularly in its efforts and determination to restore permanent peace in the state and region.
It will be recalled that the Dikwa-Gamboru Ngala road was closed following incessant Boko Haram terrorist attacks along the axis and communities but re-opened about three years ago for motorists and riders with military JTF escorts.
Although, the road was later opened periodically for travelers on official engagements to and from Dikwa and Gamboru Ngala or for military JTF operations to counter Boko Haram terrorist attacks. Before last year, Governor Zulum and the Nigerian Army jointly opened Maiduguri–Mafa – Dikwa road for fishermen and skins and hides dealers.
But the road became inaccessible again as a result of the renewed Boko Haram attacks on commercial motorists, looting goods and killing passengers along Maiduguri to Gamboru Ngala Town.
Sequel to recent calls and appeals by Governor Zulum to the federal government and Nigerian military on the reopening of major roads linking Maiduguri, to boost socio-economic and political activities of the state, the road was finally reopened on Thursday.
Governor Zulum said he was providing the Nigerian military, Vigilante, hunters and CJTF with over 20 patrol vehicles along with logistics and allowances to aid their operations along the road and provide escort to the motorists.