A total of 1000 local hunters have on Thursday been commissioned to provide security to farmers in safe locations of Borno State.
Governor of Borno, Babagana Zulum, oversaw the induction of the hunters at an elaborate ceremony that was held in the Gongulong ward of Jere local government.
The hunters, according to the governor, are to join “existing ones in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram”.
Officials said the hunters are to committedly provide security to farmers while cultivating their farmlands in the outskirts of Maiduguri and Jere local governments.
Recalled that over 70 rice farmers were killed by armed insurgents in November 2020 in the Zabarmari farmlands of Jere.
The 1000 farmers are also to be deployed to other parts of Konduga and Mafa Local Government Areas as well.
Isa Gusau, the spokesman of Governor Zulum, informed the Humanitarian Times that the 1,000 inductees were approved “after each of them completed security vetting by the DSS and the military”.
Speaking during the induction ceremony, Governor Zulum said “local hunters have become part of our success story because of their active involvement in trying to address the security challenges we have been facing in the state,” he said.
“This largely prompted us to engage in the recruitment of more hunters to assist our gallant military in their undeniable and commendable efforts to end the insurgency”, Governor Zulum added.
The member representing Jere at the House of Representatives, Satomi Ahmed, praised Governor Zulum for his “foresight and determination to secure lives and property of Borno people.”
According to Mr Gusau, who also advises the Governor on Communication and Strategy, his boss (Zulum) “has since 2019, engaged the services of thousands of hunters drawn from different parts of northern Nigeria, to join volunteers in the civilian JTF and vigilantes.”
“The Governor also increased and automated monthly allowances of all volunteers, provided kits, surveillance tools and allocated hundreds of vehicles to units in all of Borno’s 27 local government areas,” he said.
Mr Gusau added that the Borno governor “has been combining mass recruitment and equipping of more counter-insurgency volunteers into the C-JTF, hunters, and vigilantes, with support for the Nigerian Armed forces, and provision of education, socio-economic support to vulnerable persons across the state.”
Top Borno government functionaries comprising the Secretary to Borno State Government, Usman Jidda Shuwa, the head of civil service, Barrister Simon Malgwi, and other commissioners attended the event among other government officials.
Borno state government had in August 2019 launched a Nigerian Security and Civil defence Corps(NSCDC)-led agro rangers squad whose sole responsibility was to provide safety at designated farmlands.
During the launching of the Agro Rangers, the state governor donated eight Hilux Vehicles to the Trained Personnel to enable them effectively protect Agro-Allied Investment in the state.