Boko Haram insurgents and Islamic State of the West African Province terrorists have killed no fewer than 1,773 members of the Civilian Joint Task Force in the North-East region.
The Chairman of the CJTF, Babashehu Abdulganiu, who made this known on Saturday in Maiduguri, Borno State, said CJTF operatives paid the supreme price while fighting terrorists along with the military in their enclaves in Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad area.
He said the deaths were recorded between 2012 and 2022.
He explained that some died repelling attacks in Maiduguri while others sacrificed their lives by hugging suicide bombers during attempts to attack innocent people.
Abdulganiu added that despite the high casualty figure, CJTF remained resolute in its determination to support the military in riding the state of terrorists.
According to him, the CJTF, which had legal backing, began out of necessity to stamp out bad elements that caused havoc within the Maiduguri metropolis.
“It (CTJTF) started in 2012 when our youths picked up sticks and said no more Boko Haram and we successfully pushed the terrorist group out of Maiduguri to their enclaves in Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad.
“In 2015, the Borno State Government established the Borno Youths Empowerment Scheme, where 23,000 Civilian Joint Task Force members were enlisted as security vanguards, trained by the military, and screened by the Department of State Security.
“During the screening exercises, those involved in drug abuses or criminality or those that were convicted before were screened out. This was to make sure that we did not recruit bad eggs into our midst.
“We adopted military-like structures that were existing as sectors. So we deployed our men to occupy the checkpoints from sector one to sector 10,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday.
He said the establishment of BOYES, whose members were paid monthly allowances, helped in stamping out youth restiveness and unemployment and reduced minor crimes in Maiduguri.
The commander said the government also recruited additional 2,700 neighbourhood watch vanguards that were trained by the Nigerian Police and paid N20,000 as an allowance to complement the efforts of the security agencies in combating crimes.
According to NAN, each of the bereaved families received N1m to send their children to schools of their choice.
“The Borno State Government is spending N150m monthly to provide allowances for the CJTF. They also provided us with vehicles, working tools, and even light weapons. Unlike the CJTF, which is attached to the Nigerian military, the neighborhood watch is embedded in the society to report local crimes.
“They are also attached to various village and district heads for information and intelligence gathering and sharing. On the welfare of the slain CJTF families, the Borno Government has committed N300m to support the education of 300 orphans of 300 CJTF deceased members,” Abdulganiu added.