Contrary to claims by the Nigerian military, there is no respite for communities sacked by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in the latest invasion of local government areas in those states by the sect.
According to members of the House of Representatives from the three states, the insurgents are still firmly in control of major towns and communities, such as Bama, Marte, Gwoza, Gamboru-Ngala (Borno State), Michika, Madagali (Adamawa State) and Gujba (Yobe State).
A chilling account was given in the case of Michika and Madagali, two local governments in Adamawa State, largely populated by Christians.
A lawmaker from Borno State, Mr. Mohammed Monguno, who raised the issue under matters of urgent public importance, informed his bewildered colleagues that Christians were being forcibly converted to Islam in Michika and Madagali by insurgents, who also freely molested and abducted residents without opposition.
Members only resumed from a 60-day annual recess on Tuesday and appeared to be in shock as Monguno spoke in an emotion-laden voice.
He told the House that the situation in the affected states had clearly overwhelmed the Joint Task Force, whom Monguno described as men ?lacking the requisite motivation? to fight the insurgents.
The lawmaker argued that the problem was not having enough arms and ammunition, as claimed in some quarters since some of the weapons used by the attackers were ?seized from the military.?
He called for a well-motivated ?Special Military Task Force? to rout the insurgents, who for now had no match.
Monguno added, ?Local governments in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have gradually come under Boko Haram control.
?Flags have been hoisted in these areas and most residents have been displaced.
?Boko Haram insurgents operate freely and they are doing things that are alien to Islam.
?Nigerian military men have been overpowered and they have either fled to the barracks or the state capitals.
?I represent Marte Logal Government and I can tell you that it has been lost to Boko Haram and my people have fled to Chad. They (Boko Haram) are in Bama. In Michika and Madagali, Christians are being forced to convert to Islam. The majority of the population are Christians.
?We commend our armed forces for their gallantry but their problem is lack of motivation and not the problem of not having arms or ammunition. I don?t believe that is the problem.
?Let us have a motivated task force that will be on the offensive.?
The member representing Michika/Madagali Federal Constituency, Mr. Ganama Titsi, confirmed the submissions of Monguno.
Titsi said his people were helpless and were only relying on the grace of God.
?The situation in my constituency is most pathetic. People have fled to the mountains.
?There is the urgency to secure these communities so that people can return to their means of livelihood,? he added.
Another member from Yobe State, Mrs. Khadijat Ibrahim, corroborated Monguno and Titsi.
?Our people who were chased away dare not return home. There is simply no security. The Federal Government has to find a way to take care of the welfare of these displaced people,? she stated.
As more members became emotional, the Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, quickly called for an executive session ?for the House to be properly briefed by members from the affected states.?
At the closed-door session, the House resolved that its Committee on Defence should meet with the Senate Committee on Defence to engage the Presidency on how best to address the Boko Haram insurgency, including ?giving all necessary legislative backing? to the executive.