By Ese Awhotu
Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum on Sunday shelved the Sallah celebration as dozens of Boko Haram insurgents engaged troops in gun duel in Gubio local government area of the state.
The governor had to travel to the affected local government yesterday, where he spent the most of the day, raising public confidence after soldiers of the 5 brigade repelled dozens of Boko Haram fighters who stormed the council at 6pm, leading into seven hours of gun battle that ended at 1am. The Governor’s trip came after he set aside activities lined up for the Sallah celebration including a lunch with stakeholders of the governing APC and a traditional visit of the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin Elkanemi to the Government House, which usually takes place at 4pm of every Sallah day.
Zulum postponed the Shehu’s visit to Monday, putting security first.
The Governor, alongside a member of the House of Representatives representing Gubio, Kaga and Magumeri federal constituency, Usman Zannah and some government officials, first visited headquarters of the 5 brigade in Gubio town where a meeting, hosted by the Brigade’s commander, Colonel I.A Ajose and attended by the theatre commander, operation lafiya dole, Major General Benson Akinroloyo and the caretaker chairman of Gubio, Zannah Modu Gubio and other government officials, was held.
Caretaker chairman, Modu informed Governor Zulum that were it not for a gallant resistance by soldiers of the Brigade, the insurgents could have gained control of Gubio on the Sallah Eve.
Addressing a developing apprehension raised by the caretaker chairman on whether the Brigade was executing Gubio town, theatre Commander Benson, who oversees the fight against insurgency, assured Governor Zulum that the Army was going to maintain its presence. He, however, admitted that the Army was changing strategy, part of which include operational movement of troops from one location to another.
Governor Zulum praised the 5 brigade for the gallantry and patriotism of soldiers under the command.
He said Borno government will sustain its support for the military by interventions on logistics, funding of volunteers in the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes who complement the military in fighting insurgents as well as continued mobilization of citizens to cooperate and support the military.
From the Brigade headquarters,Governor Zulum moved to Gubio township centre and addressed hundreds of citizens around district head’s palace. He assured them of the military’s continued presence. The Governor presented additional patrol vehicles to more than 300 volunteers of the Civilian JTF and vigilantes helping with community surveillance, intelligence gathering and sometimes, fighting alongside the military in front lines.