The Borno State Government has provided scholarships for children, most of them orphans, whose fathers were volunteers amongst the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), hunters, and vigilantes that were killed while fighting Boko Haram in the north-east.
Governor Babagana Zulum announced this on Wednesday in Maiduguri, while addressing a gathering of about 9,000 volunteers who have been fighting alongside the Nigerian armed forces to contain the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno.
Each of the 9,000 volunteers is to receive 20,000-naira cash, a 50-kg bag of rice, a carton of spaghetti and a gallon of cooking oil, all of which were outside their regular monthly allowances.
The governor said the emergence of the Civilian JTF in 2013 is the greatest miracle that has emanated from the state within the last ten years.
“Of all the components of persons who make up the Borno society today, for me, there is no group that is as important and as critical to us as the brave men and women gathered before us today, who have given up their basic and entitled needs for safety and comfort so that millions of fellow citizens can be safe and comfortable,” he said.
“Our indomitable men and women of the civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes, the people of Borno State are mightily and gratefully proud of each of you.
“Nothing can compensate for the sacrifices you are making, only Allah can adequately compensate each of you. This is particularly so for many of our fellow compatriots who have died on the battlefields.
“In the last seven years, we have recorded instances in which volunteers in the civilian JTF have intercepted suicide attackers and in the process lost their lives. We have recorded more instances of many killed in major battles after they also succeeded in our shared victories over Boko Haram at different encounters.
“I will not mention names, but there are records of warriors in the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes from Southern, to Northern and Central Borno, who fought so hard and gave their lives fighting for Borno.
“These volunteers fought and died with no death benefits, no pension, and no gratuities. As we should expect, orphaned children and widows left behind by these fallen Civilian JTF and hunters have been struggling whether to feed, to access medical services, or to access basic and secondary education.”