The House of Representatives on Tuesday asked President Goodluck Jonathan to relocate the headquarters of the Nigerian Army to Maiduguri, Borno State.
The resolution was the House way of reacting to the spate of attacks and killings by Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East.
The House said moving the army headquarters to Maiduguri for the time being would give the Chief of Army Staff the opportunity to gather first hand information on the attacks and come up with measures on how to contain the situation.
The resolution followed a motion moved by a member from Borno State, Mr. Peter Guntha, who complained bitterly that Nigerians were being killed daily in the state.
He said defenceless villagers were most exposed and were at the mercy of insurgents.
The lawmaker called for a collaboration between the governments of Nigeria, Chad, Niger Republic and Cameroon to tackle the insurgents operating along their common borders.
Guntha, who noted that over 150 houses were razed by the insurgents in recent times in the Gavva-West/East Local Government Area, lamented that even soldiers were being killed.
Guntha said, “In Ngoshe town, 46 people were killed, while 30 houses were razed; seven people were killed in Hambaged and about 140 cattle were taken away.
“In Chinene village, seven people were killed and in Krawa town, 20 people were slaughtered and 20 shops razed .
“Emir of Gwoza’s house at Jaje village was razed with property and foodstuffs worth millions of naira destroyed.
“Several houses in Juba village and places of worship were razed with property worth millions of naira also destroyed
“In Ndufa village, six deaths were recorded and 120 cattle taken away, while in Pulka town, one person was killed and eight abducted. In Ngoshe Sama village, 18 people were killed, 80 houses razed and 150 cattle taken away.
“A total of about 120 places of worship were destroyed by the gunmen from December 2013 to February 2014, including churches and mosques.”
He told the House that since all efforts to contain the situation were facing challenges, the next option was to move the army headquarters to Maiduguri.
Another lawmaker from the state, Mr. Mohammed Monguno, observed that the insurgents looked more sophisticated than men of the joint task force patrolling the state.
Mr. Tisi Ganama from Adamawa State advised the Federal Government to be more proactive in tackling insurgency in the North-East or else the situation would get out of control.
At the end of their contributions, members passed the motion for the relocation of the Army headquarters to Maiduguri in a majority voice vote.
In Maiduguri, the Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, donated N100m to the victims of Saturday’s Boko Haram attack on Izghe in the Gwoza Local Government Area.
Shettima,who did not visit the community as earlier scheduled, announced the donation while addressing some of the displaced persons in Sabon Gari, Madagali in Adamawa State.
The News Agency of Nigeria also quoted him as having condoled with the victims and urging them to take the incident as an act of God.
The governor said, “Our visit here is to sympathise with you over the unfortunate incident. I want to assure you that we share your grief. We have approved the release of N100m to the victims to take care of their immediate needs.
“This is in addition to the previous N100m approved for the victims of the recent attack in other parts of the local government area.’’
Meanwhile, the Presidency has said it will not declare a total war against Boko Haram because of the presence of civilians in in areas being used as hideouts by the insurgents.
It also faulted Borno State governor’s claim that the insurgents were better armed and motivated than the Nigerian soldiers.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, stated this at a news conference in Abuja.
Okupe added that the recent attacks by the insurgents in Borno State and some comments about them in the media were misleading.
He said that with ample evidence on the ground, the Nigerian Armed Forces were on top of the situation.
The presidential aide claimed that the recent attacks in Borno and Adamawa states were as a result of the dislodgment of the insurgents by security agents from their hideouts.
Okupe said it was therefore wrong for anyone, Nigerian or foreigner, to assert that the armed forces could not defeat Boko or to insinuate that the insurgents were better armed.
He said that the statement by the Borno State governor that the insurgents were better armed than Nigerian soldiers was based purely on a civilian perception of the situation at hand.
The Presidential aide said it was clear that Shettima did not have the expertise to categorise or classify the effectiveness of any weapon.
Okupe said, “We state categorically that the Nigerian military is one of the best equipped in Africa and that in 2014, the Federal Government made budgetary provision in excess of N1tn for the military and other security agencies, an amount, which is about 22 per cent of our entire national budget for this year.”