Monday, December 20, 2021 would for a long time remain a memorable day for the members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and hunters who volunteered to help fight against deadly Boko Haram insurgents as Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum announced a salary bonus for them as end of year gifts.
Never in the history of Borno state had any set of workers under the payroll of the state government, ever enjoyed a ’13th month’ salary. The best they’d ever had was an early payment of salary in the month of December to enable them prepare for celebrating the yuletide.
Governor Zulum’s amazing kind gesture was in sync with the maxim that if a leader doesn’t create a great and rewarding working space for his people, they won’t do great work.
Governor Zulum was certainly mindful of the fact that the CJTF, and the hunters had a choice of folding their hands and watch the mainstream security agencies, in their inadequate numbers, sweat it out with the Boko Haram. But they chose to volunteer, sacrifice their safety and put their dear lives in harm’s way in order for the rest of us to have a relatively safe society.
To that effect, the governor felt these yet to be fully honored and appreciated members of the CJTF, deserve every kind of support possible to motives and encourage them.
The Governor did not limit this recognition to men of security vigilante alone, he had also included personnel of the state sanitation board who are involved in cleaning up communities destroyed by insurgents before reconstruction as well as cleaners working in government establishments, agencies and parastatals. They too have risked their lives in doing those jobs.
The day Governor Zulum announced the good news to these volunteers of courage at the multipurpose hall of the Government House many of them never knew their meeting with the governor was about getting extra pay. And the surprise delighted them all.
“When Governor Zulum hosted and addressed the leaders of different sectors of the volunteers and sanitation workers, he reminded them that his gesture was in addition to previous supports that was given to them in different ways,” Isa Gusau the governor’s Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy told The Humanitarian Times.
“It was to show gratitude to the volunteers for their gallantry and sacrifices in complementing the efforts of the military and other armed forces in the fight against insurgents.
Governor Zulum who arrived the hall, he took time to cheer the thousands of the security operatives.
“You all, our gallant volunteers, have been working assiduously to secure Borno State,” he said.
“Even though you are in thousands, there is no amount of support that is too much considering the sacrifices you make.
“On behalf of the entire people of Borno, I convey our deepest appreciation. We are eternally grateful for all the sacrifices you have been making. Thank you so much”, Zulum said.
Specifically addressing the sanitation workers, Governor Zulum said: “many of you rise as early as 6am to clean the streets. Many of you are involved with the cleaning of our communities before reconstructions. We recognize that your contributions are very essential and we thank you so much”.
Apart from the cash reward, the Governor also announced the release of one bag of rice to each of the volunteers and sanitation workers as additional support.
To any one who knows or want to speak about the Civilian JTF or volunteer hunters, would testify that the name Barrister Kaka-Shehu Lawan is naturally connected to them. He is the man who coordinates, moderates and ensures that these army of men and women of raw courage work in accordance with the law of the land.
That was why it was his job to invite the volunteers to the governor’s directive and also to give a welcome speech at the occasion.
Barrister Kaka-Shehu, who doubles as the Commissioner for both ministries of Justice and Environment said the personnel of the CJTF and the sanitation workers have demonstrated uncommon courage and were grateful to the governor for trusting in them to continue doing their jobs.
The chairman of the Civilian JTF group, Baba Lawan, and the chairman of hunters, Mai Durma, also took turns to convey their appreciation to Governor Zulum.
“The two leaders of the group noted that His Excellency, Governor Zulum has regularly supported those at the front lines, those injured and families of those killed in battles,” said Isa Gusau
“They promised to remain dedicated to the fight against insurgents as part of their contributions to Borno State and its people”.
The CJTF spontaneously came into force in 2013 when the youth of Maiduguri, Borno stats capital conquered their fears for Boko Haram gunmen who used to freely harass, maim and murder citizens in broad daylight and at night in the township. Since then, they became an auxiliary arm of the security forces by sharing intelligence and helping them to fight. They have also provided security to vulnerable communities in places where the conventional forces could not reach them. During the cause of these volunteer services, hundreds of them were killed for confronting the armed Boko Haram fighters or in targeted killing for working with the government forces.