By James BWALA
The drama over this year’s Ramadan rice started, when two suspected Boko Haram members send to spy on the strength of security operatives supervising the distribution of the wanted commodity was busted by the vigilance eye of the Civilian JTF, who are keenly watching every move in the crowd of over 30,000 people said to have come around the deputy governor’s office at the Maiduguri Government House for the yearly event. Earlier, the Ramadan rice went missing and fingers pointed at government officials for diverting the rice, but suddenly the rice reappeared for distribution. National Trail reports that, two suspected, Boko Haram spy were on Wednesday intercepted by the Civilian JTF at the Borno state deputy governor’s office, and handed over to security operative at the government house for onward delivery to the Nigerian military. It was said that, the two Boko Haram spy were at the ground to monitor as people were busy scrambling for rice with the intention of attacking them through suicide bombing. Although nothing incriminating was said to have been found on them, Civilian JTF controlling the crowd said, the suspects confessed to have come to spy for possible security lapses in other to send suicide bombers on the crowd for maximum casualty. A member of the Civilian JTF, Goni Abdullahi told National Trail that, “We saw them looking tensed and they are not trying to collect the rice but were being conscious of the security situation and we asked them to identify themselves. They could not give proper identification and they were trying to fight us, so we arrested them and took them to the security. “When they were beating they confess to have come on mission to spy the security situation for a possible attack on innocent residents who came out to seek food at the rice distribution centre at the deputy governor’s office.” On Thursday, a Policeman was reported killed by soldier over Ramadan rice, a situation which described how bad hunger has struck the northeastern state of Borno. It was reported that, as a result of the shooting, Governor Kashim Shettima was trapped in his office, as other civilians flee for their lives. Eye witness reports have it that, trouble started when soldiers who had gone to the Government House to take delivery of their share of rice, were denied entry by the police, following which they attempted to force themselves resulting into physical combat even as efforts by both the GOC7 Div and the Police Commissioner to gain entrance into the Government House for possible rescue of the Governor and other Government officials were repelled by the rampaging police and soldiers. However, while clarifying on the issue over a contain fracas between a Policeman and a Soldier at the deputy governor’s office, a joint statement by the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police described the clash as unfortunate a disagreement which led to the unfortunate shooting of a policeman on his foot. According to the statement, the Policeman is responding to treatment and has been visited by the theatre commander, operation Lafiya Dole, Major General LEO Irabor and the Commissioner of Police, Borno State Command, Aminchi Baraya, both of whom went together to sympathize with the policeman. Giving background to the clash, the Permanent Secretary, Government House and Security, Mr Ahmed Sanda, had on Sunday, June 19, 2019 began the distribution of rice to internally displaced persons living in the host communities of Maiduguri and Jere metropolis. The distribution was meant to take place at 28 wards of the two local government areas unfortunately, when the exercise was launched in old Maiduguri ward for Jere local government area and at Shehuri north ward for Maiduguri on Sunday, hoodlums overpowered the
committee in both instances and made away with many bags of the rice meant for the displaced persons. “As a result, officials tasked with the distribution shifted the exercise to two premises around the office of the Deputy Governor outside the Government House in order to ensure security of the food items while beneficiaries were identified and issued with allocation notes to give them access to the distribution centers. The exercise had gone smoothly since Sunday with some wards covered, until the unfortunate development on Thursday.” The statement said. It further that, while the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force in Maiduguri jointly condemn this unfortunate incident which was quickly brought under full control; The Army and the Police are jointly investigating the cause of the fracas with a view to ensuring that anyone found culpable amongst the security men are made to face disciplinary measures in line with laid down rules of the Nigerian Armed Forces. “Findings and measures taken will be brought to public knowledge as soon as possible.” The statement read. It continued that, the Army and the police operating in Borno state is assuring the general public that they will continue to collaborate and work together towards their ongoing counter insurgency and civil security efforts that have led to the emerging peace in the State. “The Army and the Police commands in Borno State call on all personnel to exercise restraint in the cause of their duties and should strive to respect one another and work together to secure innocent citizens and maintain peace.” The statement said.