A security expert, Group Capt. Sadiq Shehu (rtd), has called on the Federal Government to undertake comprehesive Mine Risk Awareness and Clearance in the North East to stem the risks caused by the explosives in the region.
Shehu made the appeal in a paper he presented at a two-day stakeholders engagement on current security challenges in the north east, on Thursday in Maiduguri.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders engagement was organised by the office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
According to him, no fewer than 1, 366 explosions targeting civilians by insurgents have been recorded in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe within the past five years.
In his paper titled “Dangers of Landmines and other Explosive Ordinance in North East”, Shehu added that 755 civilians were killed and 1,321 injured by the Explosive Ordinances (EO) within the period.
“EO results in tragic deaths and injury, impedes access to basic service and socioeconomic activities, and hampers safe resettlement and population movements.
“It has been estimated that approximately 1.2 million individuals in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states continue to be affected by the widespread and indiscriminate use of EO, including refugees, IDPs, returnees, children and host communities.
“These unexploded ordnances lie in wait, long after conflicts have ended, injuring, maiming and killing civilians, farmers, women fetching firewood, scrap metal scavengers and children, ” he added.
The retired Nigeria Air Force officer said data collected showed that 67 per cent of all the explosions occurred in Konduga, Gwoza, Bama, Maiduguri, Damboa, Jere, Dikwa, Monguno and Ngala local government areas of Borno.
While noting the efforts of government and international organisations in containing the threat of EO, Shehu called for the implementation of the North East Development Commission’s report on Mine Risk Awareness and Mine Clearance in the region.
In his remarks, the SGF, Sen. George Akume said President Bola Tinubu was concerned about the challenges and has been working assiduously to contain them.
Akume, represented by a Permanent Secretary in his office, Mr David Attah, said the Federal Government in collaboration with states in the region, had introduced far reaching kinetic and non-kenetic measures to address the challenges.
Akume commended Nigerian security forces for their gallant efforts to effectively safeguard the nation’s territorial integrity,
“The sacrifices and gallantry of members of our security agencies have resulted in the neutralisation of bandits, insurgents, fundamentalists and foreign intruders while several thousands of others and their family members have surrendered to troops.
“In line with Nigeria’s adherence to international human rights rules, thousands of captured and surrendered insurgents are undergoing rehabilitation preparatory to reinjection into the community.
“I use this opportunity to commend our gallant forces for effectively safeguarding our territorial integrity,” the SGF added.
Other papers presented at the event include “Strengthening Recovery and Peace Building Process in N/E Nigeria”, by Brig. Gen. Abdullahi Ishaq (rtd), and “Strengthening Recovery and Peace building process in N/E”, by Prof. Usman Tar, the Commissioner for Information and Internal Security in Borno.