The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has revealed that living in the terrorism-ravaged city of Maiduguri is safer for him than the nation’s capital, Abuja.
Ndume, representing Borno South Senatorial District, said this during the Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Thursday.
The Senator said the insurgents have been persistently repealed from the city by the security agents but only attack soft targets in other areas of Borno State.
“I live in Abuja and also live in Maiduguri. Once I come to Maiduguri, I feel safer than in Abuja, because somebody can knock down your door with a gun. In Maiduguri, we don’t hear of that.
“It is outside Maiduguri where the insurgents are marauding around and attack intermittently. And that’s normal with insurgents, that’s why they are called insurgents, they do hit and run on soft targets,” Ndume said.
He stated that, “In every society, you can’t wipe out criminality completely. In America, there is school shooting. Our own is that we have known terrorists and the army is fighting them.”
The Borno senator, who has repeatedly called for more funding for the army, said the situation looks to be getting better with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the welfare of the fighting troops. He also described the President’s visit to Borno State as a move that would boose the confidence of the Nigerian soldiers.
“With the new budget, things will soon change,” he said. “The President went round for six hours – I was tired. He came in 10 o’clock and we were going to see various projects until four o’clock this evening before he left.”
The former Senate Majority Leader also applauded President Buhari’s welfare plans for the state, including the decision to build 10,000 houses for displaced persons and the provision of financing for a power plant.
But he urged the Nigerian government to hasten the implementation of its plans and policies in financing army operations, especially the acquisition of sophisticated fighting equipment.
“We should now walk the talk by accelerating the release of funds on time,” Senator Ndume said. “The army now has the numbers.”
While speaking on the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) fighters taking charge of terrorism in Nigeria, Ndume attested to their dreary operations but added that they don’t attack unarmed civilians unnecessarily
“ISWAP is more deadly, more sophisticated, have an international connection, access to military armament and the likes, but the other side of them is that they don’t kill civilians indiscriminately like the Boko Haram and in fact that was what ignited the fight between the ISWAP and the Shekau group.
“Now the Shekau group has been virtually eliminated, it means that our Nigerian troops are going to face what they know specifically.
“What was frustrating them most was the indiscriminate killing of civilians and other soft targets, destruction of public property by the Boko Haram.
“But now that the ISWAP is saying we are just going after the military or the armed forces or the security agencies. Our security agencies are up to the task; our security agencies are up to the task and ready for them. They have engaged themselves and (ISWAP) have suffered serious casualties,” Ndume said.