Civilian JTF replaces troops to secure Bama
• ‘Over four million on verge of famine in North East’
• Army asks ‘criminal herdsmen’ to leave Benue
Member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and vigilance groups are to secure the recaptured Bama in Borno State while troops are deployed in the border communities of Banki and Gulumba.
The civilian guards are to protect the displaced persons at the camp in Bama, and ensure the security of 150 truckloads of building materials meant for the reconstruction of the houses destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Governor Kashim Shettima who gave the directive yesterday at Bama, while addressing employed members of the Civilian JTF and vigilance groups said they should “brace up and take over.”
“All of you are to swear by the Quran not to reveal any information to Boko Haram insurgents. You should ensure the protection of all
building materials, and the over 26, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bama camp,” the governor said.
According to him, the troops of 21 Armoured Brigade led by Col. Adamu Laka will soon be deployed in the outline communities of Banki and Gulumba.
He said members of the Civilian JTF would work closely with the brigade commander, as he is in charge of the whole border region.
“There will be no rancour or bitterness between your members and the military in achieving the ultimate goal of enduring peace for people to return to their houses,” the governor said.
Shettima urged the Nigeria Police Force, Immigration and State Security Services (SSS) to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Army in ensuring that peace persists not only in Bama but the entire council area.
“There are people who came probably with double motives; who may try to pilfer the building materials and take them back to Maiduguri, after the crisis must have ended,” Shettima said yesterday at the kickoff of the reconstruction of Bama.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, has ordered those he described as criminal elements parading themselves as herdsmen to leave Benue State before the army launches another attack against them.
Buratai who gave the order at a cocktail party and command performance held in his honour in the state yesterday said the next action against the criminal elements would be devastating.
He said the army would not relent until total peace is restored in Benue, announcing that a commander has been posted to head the new brigade in the state.
“We will do our best to ensure that the prevailing peaceful atmosphere here is maintained”, Buratai assured.
He explained that the commandant of the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering (NASME), commander of the 72 Special Forces Battalion, the provost of the Naval School of Logistics and the Brigade commander would all coordinate security in Benue.
Buratai, who said many serving and retired military officers from Benue have been his mentors, singled out the Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Security Matters, Col. Edwin Jando (rtd), as the one who influenced his military career most.
Buratai spoke as a latest assessment of the crisis in the North East by 15 international non-governmental organisations said that 6.3million people in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroun and Chad are facing threat of severe hunger. Of this figure, 4.4million people are in Nigeria.
The report further said that 65,000 people in the region are already living in famine and over one million are one step away from famine, adding that 58,506 people are in Borno State while the rest are in Yobe State.
The warning came as governments and donors meet to talk about the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region at the ongoing United Nation General Assembly in New York.