Nigerian Army yesterday said it had uncovered Boko Haram’s logistics supply syndicate among loggers and charcoal dealers in Borno State.
The acting General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division, Brig.-Gen. Bulama Biu, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri. Biu was reacting to the ban imposed on the supply of firewood and charcoal in Borno State.
The GOC disclosed that intelligence report indicated that some dealers in Maiduguri were hiding under the guise of firewood trade to aid the insurgents.
He said: “Some of them are errand boys of the Boko Haram insurgents. They hide food items, drugs, petrol and other items beneath their trucks, and supply them to the terrorists. “We also found out that some of them are running businesses on behalf of the Boko Haram insurgents.
“They go deep into the forest where ordinary people could not venture; to cut down trees, burn and produce charcoal. “This could not be possible except they are in agreement with the insurgents. “We arrested some of them and they made quite revealing testimonies, we shall fish them out to put an end to their nefarious activities.” Biu explained that the ban was temporarily designed to checkmate activities of criminal elements among the dealers and not to make life difficult for firewood and charcoal users.
He added that the military had allowed suppliers from other states such as Oyo, Kano, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna to supply their goods under strict supervision of the command. Biu called on the people to support the military and other security agencies to end insurgency as well as protect lives and property.
On his part, the Chairman, Borno State chapter of the Firewood Sellers Association of Nigeria, Malam Maidugu Ali, expressed dismay over the development. He expressed the association’s shock at the allegation by the military authorities. Ali said the union had engaged members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) to support the military in the screening of its members before allowing them entry into Maiduguri.