Is Governor Zulum becoming a formidable threat to Boko Haram?

By Olubunmi Akamo
Professor  Babagana Zulum (Borno State Governor)
Professor Babagana Zulum (Borno State Governor)

The attack on Governor Babagana Zulum, Borno State first citizen, and his convoy on 27th September, 2020 makes it the fourth attempt on the life of the governor. The dynamics of these ambuscades by members of Boko Haram terrorist group suggests that the Boko Haram sect also known as the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) sect has become a bone in the throat of the Borno state government. The primal ambush which occurred on Thursday, 5th September, 2019 at Konduga, an area near Sambisa forest was unprecedented as the governor and his escorts were attacked while coming from an inspection at Bama Local Government. As reported, his visit to Bama Local government was necessitated by the need for the assessment of the devastated areas in the local government.

On the 29th July, 2020, the Governor with his convoy, on the way to some internally displaced person’s camp around Kukawa Local Government of Borno State, witnessed another ambush from the members of the Boko Haram group. In response to this, Governor Zulum vehemently accused the Nigerian Army of sabotage. He was reported to have said “You have been here for over one year now, there are 1,181 soldiers here; if you cannot take over Baga which is less than 5km from your base, then, we should forget about Baga.” Howbeit this outburst, on 25th September, 2020, the most severe attack was carried out which resulted in the death of about thirty persons. According to report, this bizarre incident took place between Monguno and Baga area where the governor was on a visit to the internally displaced camp that would accommodate displaced citizens of Borno state. Barely 48hours after this deadly attack, Governor Zulum with his escort, was attacked again while returning to the state capital on Sunday, 27th September 2020.

Given these incessant attacks, the questions that bother are; why is Governor Zulum insistent on rehabilitating Baga and its environs despite attacks from bandits and insurgents? And why is Boko Haram consistently launching attacks against Governor Zulum? In response to this, we would say that Baga is a host to the largest fish market in Borno state and as a matter of fact, the community once served as the main source of the state’s internally generated revenue. Hence, it is not far-fetched that the rehabilitation of Baga community will most likely bring economic dividends to the state. A more important reason, however, would be the governor’s 10-point agenda which aims at returning displaced people to their communities and giving them the lives they once had prior to the Boko haram insurgency. The insurgents, however, having seen that the governor's attempt at rehabilitating the displaced citizens of Borno State would in the long run indicate their defeat vis-a-vis comprehensive military presence and functional community policing are hell-bent on terminating the governor's life in order to bring his noble agenda to an end.

In recognition of this, we would say that Governor Zulum’s relentless effort at ensuring safety and good governance in Borno state deserves commendation. He has not only been taking his time to visit communities that are held to be the strongholds of the Boko Haram terrorist organisation, but also he has been visiting IDP camps to assess and improve the living conditions of internally displaced persons in the state. It is therefore our sincere advice to the people’s governor that he continues with his giant strides regardless of threats and attacks as the windy storm cooked by the enemies of tranquility will vanish sooner than expected.

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