Governor Babangana Umura Zulum of Borno state and his predecessor Kashim Ibrahim Shetima, for the love of their people and desire to see the war against Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) come to end, have in the past criticised the military, particularly the Army for their handling the war against insurgency in the North-east.
Zulum had on several occasions publicly expressed his displeasure over the manner in which the army has been tackling insecurity in his state.
In December 2020, he blamed the spike of abductions along the major road leading to Borno state on the Nigerian military.
Blueprint reported that he said people were being killed because the Army failed to do their assigned jobs.
Governor Zulum spoke while reacting to the abduction of 35 travellers and many other such incidences that had become a daily occurrence on Maiduguri-Damaturu road at the time.
Also in November 2020, Zulum did not spare the military after Boko Haram slaughtered about 34 rice farmers in the state.
He said there was corruption and saboteurs in the military, and unless these were dealt with, the fight against the insurgents would be ineffective.
Earlier, in July 2020, Zulum’s convoy was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga, a town under Kukawa Local Government Area. Even though he escaped unhurt, he wasted no time in blasting the Nigerian Army for failing to protect the people.
However, apart from criticising the military, the Borno governor has also supported the military with resources and equipment.
Many Nigerians were surprised when Governor Zulum appointed somebody from the Army which he has occasionally criticised as his special adviser on security affairs.
For Governor Zulum to appoint Brig-Gen Abdullahi Sabi Ishaq (retd), a Kwara born general, who retired from the Army on 10th of January, 2021 after 35 years of meritorious service, and was serving in the Operation Lafiya Dole war theatre during some of the attacks and criticisms, though not the commander, means there something special about General Ishaq.
It is a proof that General Ishaq has distinguished himself while serving in different capacities in the theatre of operation in the North-east.
His appointment shows that Governor Zulum believes he will be coming with huge operational experience, relationship with serving military and other armed forces involved in the fight against Boko Haram and good understanding of Borno’s communities, people and cultures.
No wonder Zulum’s spokesman Malam Isa Gusau, in a statement said “the governor looks forward to working closely with the General in the shared and continued determination to bring an end to the insurgency.”
General Ishaq’s last position before retirement was coordinator of the Nigeria Police component of Operation Lafiya Dole from December 2018 to January, 2021, where he performed creditably well. Before then, he was commander of 8 provost group of the army in Monguno from February 2016 to February, 2018, which meant the retired General served in Borno for five years in the Operation Lafiya Dole war theatre.
Before arriving Borno in 2016, General Ishaq had at different times, served as Director of Standard and Evaluation at the Army headquarters in Abuja, Chief instructor of Nigeria Army’s School of Military police in Zaria; and in the special investigation Bureau in Apapa, Lagos; Army Corps of military police, Abuja; UN mission to Sierra Leone, UN mission to Liberia, company commander, Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna; 1 provost group of army in Kaduna, Army corps of military police in Apapa, Lagos; 2 provost company in Ibadan as platoon commander, command day secondary school Bauchi as instructor, and 23 armoured brigade transport company also in Bauchi.
General Ishaq is a recipient of military medals including a force service star, meritorious service star, and distinguished service star in recognition of his 35 years of unblemished service in the Nigerian Army as well as medals from operation lafiya dole and the United Nations.
Borno in Ilesha, Kwara state on January 13, 1965, General Ishaq attended a wide range of security courses. He holds a master’s degree in law and enforcement of criminal justice from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from University of Jos. He attended Kwara State College of Technology, Baptist Grammar School in Okuta, Kwara state, Borgu Seconday School, New Bussa (old Kwara State) Niger State and Zonal Education School Board in Ilesha, also in Kwara.
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