By Yusuf Alli, Abuja
To consolidate the gains of the war against Boko Haram, elders from Borno and Yobe states on Tuesday recommended special recruitment of their indigenes into the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to protect liberated areas.
They also requested the construction of Damasak-Gaidam and Ngamdu-Damboa-Gwoza roads to ease troops access to the strongholds of the insurgents.
They described the roads as central to the revival of the economy of the two states.
They made these demands during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House on Tuesday.
The elders expressed gratitude for the establishment of the the North-East Development Commission.
President Buhari promised to end the insurgency in the North-East, thanked the elders for their understanding.
According to a source, the session with Borno and Yobe elders was “amiable and solutions-driven.”
The elders came up with suggestions on how to “protect liberated towns and villages in order to avoid a situation whereby Internally Displaced Persons won’t be vulnerable after returning home.”
“The elders demanded the special recruitment of the indigenes of the North-East sub-region into the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to hold onto areas liberated by the Nigerian Armed Forces from the grips of the Boko Haram Insurgents.
“They said protecting liberated areas will make the war more manageable and winnable instead of troops retreating from the war front to consolidate.
“They commended the President for his commitment towards restoring Peace and Stability in the subregion and for the establishment of the North East Development Commission.
The source added that the President “ appreciated the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima for giant strides recorded during his stewardship in the State especially on Education, infrastructure and health care, investments that have been sustained by the current Governor of the State, Prof.Babagana Umara Zulum.
“He praised Zulum and and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni for doing their best despite the insurgency.
“The President assured the elders of his determination to end Boko Haram insurgency.”
Zulum, who spoke with newsmen after the meeting, said: “The Borno Elders’ Forum and Yobe Elders’ Forum met with Mr. President purposely to convey their appreciation to the federal government, under the distinguished leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and all the efforts he has made to address insecurity in the region.”
“Again, they have raised their concerns to Mr President with a view to solving them, infrastructural deficits in Borno and Yobe States and the entire northern region. They have also requested from the federal government sustained military operations which has been yielding fruitful results in recent times.
“So far so good, the president has responded positively. The government and people of Borno and Yobe states that he will do everything possible within the available resources to ensure sustainability of the ongoing military operations in the region.
In terms of improving social economic situation of the region.
“We have also requested increased government support in terms of humanitarian support, in terms of education and others.
“The bottom line is that we came here to thank Mr. President and to ensure increased military and para-military presence in Borno and Yobe states and indeed the entire North-East sub-region with a view to ensuring security of the nation.”
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