The governor of Borno State, Mr.Kashim Shettima, on Monday approved the immediate release of N50millon for the ongoing digging of trenches behind the University of Maiduguri. The governor made the announcement during his assessment visit to the University, which was attacked by suicide bombers on Sunday. The trenches, which run behind the university, are 27 kilometers in length and it was through them that the bombers gained access.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Shettima mobilized equipment to start the digging in response to previous attacks. The governor announced that he ordered the release N50million to fund the digging exercise and also to support payment of allowances to special guards drawn from local vigilantes working with the military in policing porous areas.
The trenches are being designed to make it impossible for insurgents to drive into the university as well as create an impediment to them crossing on foot. The trenches are also conceived to provide the military an advantage to neutralize the insurgents.
Shettima said the university is part of the state government's responsibility despite its ownership by the Federal Government. He said the desire of the insurgents is to force the closure of the school.
Acting Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Professor Aliyu Shugaba, who conducted Mr.Shettima round the scenes of havoc, expressed delight at the governor's gesture. He revealed that the university has since put up a request of N2.8 billion to enable it fund the erection of perimeter fence around the exposed portions of the school.
The governor later visited the Vice Chancellor's office, where he presided over a security meeting that was attended by the Garrison Commander of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, the Commissioner of Police and those in charge of internal security at the University.
During the meeting, it was agreed that the number of armed security persons be deployed for policing of the porous areas be increased. The meeting also agreed to contribute armed
personnel from the Army, local vigilante, and university guards as well as to erect additional points for distance surveillance and night vision surveillance gadgets.
Borno Police Commissioner, Mr. Damian Chukwu, assured that the Police will increase surveillance.
Prior to Sunday's attacks, the University of Maiduguri had been occasionally attacked by suicide bombers. Sunday's attacks, executed by seven suicide attackers, was the fifth in recent times. The attackers, who were mostly women, blew themselves up.
The university is currently on vacation, with students expected to be home for four months, during which, it is hoped, security would have improved.