From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri
Members of the youth volunteers assisting security forces in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in Borno state, popularly known as Civilian JTF, yesterday rose from an emergency meeting in Maiduguri, calling on the Federal Government to allow their members hold arms in order to protect civilians.
Legal Adviser of the group, Barrister Jibrin Gunda and its spokesman, Bello Dambatta made call, while briefing newsmen on the critical issues discussed.
“Boko Haram insurgency is assuming a new dimension everyday. We used sticks and knives and worked closely with soldiers and fought the Boko Haram members out of Maiduguri. They are now killing civilians in the villages.
The Borno state government had done its best in supporting us through training and payment of our allowances which runs into millions of naira. We have structures in all the 27 local government areas and our members are highly disciplined. We want arms, so that we can take the fight to the insurgents in the bushes”, the group’s officials said.
According to them, the group also require arms to safeguard innocent civilians who cannot defend themselves against attacks.
“We also need arms for our members to protect vulnerable civilians, who are being attacked every day. In the South-South, youths have been empowered to protect oil installations. We want similar gesture to protect our people here,” they declared.
They added: “We are doing a lot in containing the Boko Haram insurgency but the Federal Government did not show any appreciation.
“We actively participated in the arrest of the latest Nyanya bombers. In fact, we are the ones that sent our members to Abuja and worked with the SSS in arresting the suspects. Unfortunately, our name was not mention in the whole thing.
“The President had once called us heroes, but has never granted any financial or logistic support to our members who are rescuing their lives to keep the country one. We want the Federal Government to assist us”, they stated.