Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has lamented the ceaseless killing of travellers along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road, adding that soldiers and police who should be on the check on these bad elements are also there harassing and extorting travellers on the same road.
Speaking on the last Friday’s attack on passengers where 10 people were killed and 35 others abducted, Governor Babagana Zulum said Auno and Jakana, where this atrocity is being committed is just 20 and 40 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital, and, therefore, see no concrete explanation that either the soldiers and the police will give as reasons for not being able to secure the areas.
The insurgents had had a field day on this road since 2014 with records of 370 passengers killed between 2014 and 2020, while over 100 vehicles and properties running into billions naira were lost to destruction on this highway.
Governor Zulum, who visited Jakana, and scene of the incident where 10 people were killed, with the torching of Dangote truck and three other vehicles, said: “It’s very disheartening and embarrassing to note that innocent commuters are being constantly killed and kidnapped along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road.”
The governor, who was annoyed with the situation and the laxity of soldiers and police on the highway said, “Maiduguri and Damaturu is only 132-kilometres. It’s annoying to note that those atrocities are being committed between Jakana and Auno villages, a distance of only 20 kilometres.
” I am also surprised that we have a Brigade Commander with his team in Jakana. There is also a commanding officer with his battalion in Auno covering a distance of 20 kilometres,” he wondered what they had been doing on the road.
“Honestly speaking, we’re not happy as the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police have failed in discharging their responsibilities of protecting innocent persons especially travellers on the road.”
He continued, “I left Maiduguri this morning along the same road, I could not see neither a single army nor police personnel along the Auno/Jakana road. Even the newly recruited policemen for Borno state Rapid Response (RRS) team were also not sighted along the road. So, what is happening?”
The Governor alleged that the soldiers, including the policemen were busy collecting money at the various checkpoints along the Maiduguri/Damaturu road.
“Besides collecting money, they have been harassing commuters and villagers. The Federal Government and indeed the Nigerian Army have to listen to Nigerian people in bringing peace and harmony to the nation.
“It’s very embarrassing! Look at the number of vehicles burnt down by the insurgents last Friday along the same road. “We cannot just go and continue to be in disarray. If the Army and Police cannot protect travellers within a distance of only 20 kilometres in the last two or three years, I cannot see the capacity of the Army in defeating the insurgents in Borno,” the governor declared.