Political and opinion elders in Borno and Yobe states claim that the Boko Haram sect are supplied with arms, ammunition, food and medicine by Helicopters. They opine that the authorities should not feign ignorance of this sad development. The elders wonder how 20-30 Toyota Hilux vehicles move around undetected despite the curfew which is currently in place.
The elders made this known during a press conference in Abuja on Monday. They called for government to offer explanations on the attack which the insurgents launched on the Maidugri Airforce base in which aircrafts and other military facilities were set ablaze despite an existing curfew. The elders who are under the umbrella of ‘Borno, Yobe People’s Forum’ also want an explanation on the withdraw of security personnel from the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi just few hours before the attack on that Unity School which cost the lives of 59 students and left others injured.
Speaking on behalf of the forum, the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Al-amin Dagash (rtd) had the following questions:
“Are the authorities unaware of helicopters dropping arms and ammunition, food and medical supplies to areas well known to be strong holds of the insurgents?
“How were the insurgents able to attack the Maiduguri Air-Force Base and demobilise as well as burn planes and other military installations despite existing state of emergency and curfew in the town? How could 20 to 30 Toyota Hilux vehicles move in a convoy freely with subsisting curfew and still go undetected?
“How did a little band of rag-tag misguided youths metamorphose into a well-kitted, well-armed killing machine moving freely in convoy of vehicles and supported by helicopters.
“How did the Shilka Tank, a multipurpose self propelled anti-aircraft artillery weapon, positioned to secure Giwa Barracks, fail to function resulting in heavy loss of lives of both civilian and military as widely reported in the media? Are we dealing with fifth columnists in this crisis?”
In attendance at the Press Conference were: former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; elder statesman, Shetima Mustapha; former Minister of Finance, Mallam Adamu Ciroma and some other political leaders from Borno and Yobe states.
Dagash also wondered how civil war hero, General Mohammed Shuwa was murdered despite the presence of military personnel in front of his home. The former Airforce Chief also wants the Federal Government to bring to book those who have been propagating online campaigns which quake ethno-religious intolerance among Nigerians. Dagash also revealed that the elders do not want the state of emergency currently existing in three North-Eastern states to be extended beyond its current expiry date (April 19, 2014) since the state of emergency has not been effective.
He also revealed that the attacks have become worse as about 18 communities were attacked by the terrorist groups in the last one month with several casualties
“The continuous bloodletting has led to the loss of over 17,000 lives. Official statistics released by the National Emergency Management Agency revealed that over three million people have been displaced by the insurgency and terrorist attacks in the affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in the first three months of 2014 alone.
“Most of the victims are women, children and the elderly. These developments underscore the urgent need for the government, the international community, as well as all Nigerians to arrest the brewing humanitarian crises in the area.”