The volunteer vigilante group in Borno State, popularly called Civilian JTF, has called on the federal government to allow its members carry arms in order to protect civilians in the state.
The group also complained that its contributions to the fight against insurgents has not been appreciated or acknowledged by the federal government, pointing out for example that though it helped in the arrest of the masterminds of the Nyanya bombers, no mention was ever made of tue role it played.
Spokesman of the group, Bello Danbatta, said it had become necessary for members to be armed with guns and not just sticks and knives, given the new dimensions the Boko Haram insurgency assumes on a daily basis.
“We also need arms for our members to protect vulnerable civilians who are being attacked everyday. In the South-south, youths have been empowered to protect oil installations. We want similar gesture to protect our people here,” he said.
The group also opposed the idea of an extension of emergency rule in the state and instead called on the federal government to empower the soldiers on ground with more sophistication to combat terrorists.
Legal adviser of the Civilain JTF, Jibrin Gunda, said it would be needless extending the duration of the emergency rule without properly equipping the troops with the latest fighting equipment.
“The state of emergency just lapsed and as far as we are concerned, it should not be extended any longer. Troops on ground are doing their best but they don’t have the sophistication of the terrorists,” Gunda said.
The vigilante group accused federal government of not appreciating it for the sacrifices made to protect the state by engaging terrorists in several confrontations.
“We actively participated in the arrest of the latest Nyanya bombers. In fact, we are the ones that sent our members to Abuja and worked with the SSS in arresting the suspects. Unfortunately, our name was not mentioned in the whole thing,” the group lamented.
“The President had once called us heroes but has never granted any financial or logistic support to our members who are risking their lives to keep the country as one. We want federal government to assist us,” Gunda appealed.