President Muhammadu Buhari says he has given a marching order to the armed forces “to take the fight to the insurgents,” following the murder of at least 43 farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State.
Members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, had on Saturday afternoon beheaded the farmers. The number of casualties is feared to be much more than that initially reported as some persons are still missing. Estimates by the United Nations places the death toll at a minimum of 110.
In a statement released on Monday, Buhari said the war against Boko Haram fighters would henceforth not be one-off but would go on “until we root out the terrorists”.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians,” he said.
“Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.”
He added that the government will intensify cooperation with Nigeria’s neighbouring countries to reinforce counterinsurgency efforts.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria,” he said.
Buhari was represented by the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, during a condolence visit to Borno State on Monday.
The state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, advised the president to recruit more youths into the military and paramilitary agencies to complement the armed forces.
“Our second recommendation is to engage the services of our immediate neighbours, especially the government of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, in clearing the remnants of Boko Haram hiding in the shores of the Lake Chad,” he said.
“Our third recommendation is for him to engage the services of the mercenaries to clear the entire Sambisa forest.
“Our fourth recommendation is for him to provide the police and the military, with armed resistant armoured personnel carriers and other related equipment.”
He also asked for increased support to the residents of the state as well as support in repatriating displaced Nigerians currently seeking refuge in Cameroon and the Niger Republic.