Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to recruit mercenaries to get rid of Boko Haram insurgents from Sambisa forest.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan had in 2014 procured the services of mercenaries to assist the Nigerian Army in the war against the insurgents.
But the Buhari administration terminated the contract with the mercenaries in 2015.
In 2018, Eeben Barlow, chairman of the Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International (STTEP), the South African mercenary company contracted by Jonathan, had said Buhari rejected intelligence warnings about operations of Boko Haram in Borno State.
He also said Nigerian soldiers have been reaching out for help since his company’s services were terminated.
But when a federal government delegation visited Borno on Monday, over the killing of 43 farmers by Boko Haram, Zulum listed hiring of mercenaries among his recommendations to the president over the frequent attacks in the state.
Other recommendations by the governor include provision of armed resistant armoured personnel carriers, rehabilitation of roads and support for displaced persons.
“One of our recommendations as possible solutions to end the insurgency is the immediate recruitment of our youths into military and paramilitary services to complement the efforts of the Nigerian 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.
“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.
“We are also soliciting the support of the federal government to support Borno State in the repatriation of out displaced persons currently residing in Cameroon and Niger Republic.”
Zulum added that the federal ministry of works had not constructed roads in the last 25 years “in Borno State and most parts of the North East.”
He said if the federal government can fix the bad roads in Borno and the North east, “the insurgency would be reduced by 60 per cent.”
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who lead the federal government delegation, sympathised with the state government over the killings, saying the Buhari administration is committed to ending insurgency.
He said: “No efforts will be spared, as the government will do anything and everything until we take the fight against insurgency to their enclaves.
“In this regard, the government will continue to provide resources to our armed forces and other security agencies and also intensify bilateral and multilateral operations with our neighbours, particularly to ensure that the insurgents have nowhere to fight when they are chased out of our country.”
Those in the federal government delegation were Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garbage Shehu and some ministers.