ABUJA- CHIEF of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen Yusuf Buratai, yesterday explained that the army decided to stop the supply of fertilizers in three troubled States of North East in order to stop the production of Improvised Explosive Device, IED, by the Islamist militants, Boko Haram.
The COAS disclosed this while addressing the House Committee on Army led by Rep Rilma Shawulu, in Abuja, during an investigative hearing on the prohibition of use of Jerry can for purchase of premium motor spirit (PMS) in Yobe and motorcycles in Adamawa state.
Buratai stated that the Lafia Dole security team constituted in various operational areas in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states “had established that one of the mode of transportation used by the insurgency was motorcycle.”
According to him, in a bid to effectively tackle the menace, security agencies resolved to “cut off all logistic supplies” of the terrorist groups, Including petrol and fertilizers used to produce IEDs.
He further stated that “the Boko Haram terrorists exploit all means to get food and other items, hence we need to know the end-users of those items because they are the items that sustain them.”
Buratai who was represented by Bassey Etuk by the Director of Operations Department explained that the decision became necessary to curb the activities of the insurgents in the troubled States.
While stressing that the decision was based on intelligence reports on the activities of the insurgents, Etuk urged the House to write a formal letter to the office of the Chief of Army Staff for necessary consideration for the ban to be lifted.
He said, “Since they have been degraded, we won’t allow our economic lives to be affected. We will look into the issue of allowing farmers to buy petroleum for their use. Even the issue of fertilizer, we control its supply. The issue can be handled.”
Speaking earlier, a member of the Committee, Bukar Goni (APC-Yobe) explained that 95 percent of Yobe indigenes who are farmers and affected by the insurgency had been deprived on buying PMS for the irrigation of their farms.
On his part, Sadiq Ibrahim (APC-Adamawa) said Adamawa Central which was never affected by the activities of Boko Haram sect was barred from commercial and private use of motorcycles.
He added that the ban prevented women and children in the affected areas from engaging in farming activities during the raining season, stresimg that this may result into famine when the dry season commences.
According to him, the ban also affected 15 filling stations operating within Fufore Local Government Area, LGA, from taking delivery of petroleum products while the seven check points mounted by the Nigerian Army between Fufore and Yobe had impacted negatively on the economic well-being of the people.