More than 10,000 local hunters from the North-east of Nigeria converged during the weekend in Adamawa State for their annual oath-taking festival, known as Salala in the local parlance.
During the oath-taking festivity, the hunters – clad in their warfare attires, with their local gun dangling over their shoulders – pleaded with the federal government to make use of them in the ongoing war against Boko Haram terrorism and other social vices.
Muhammad Tola, the leader of the hunters in Adamawa, who claimed the hunters had so far played significant roles in the fight against Boko Haram, said hunters were familiar with the terrain in dreaded forests, like the Sambisa forest.
He said: “We are ready to pursue the terrorists because we know the terrain very well.”
“We are appealing to the military authorities to allow us join the fight against Boko Haram at the Sambisa forest.”
“We remain one big family devoid of religious or tribal sentiments, that is why you can see over 10,000 hunters from Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Borno, Yoba and Adamawa converged for this epoch-making event.”
He stressed that the hunters needed the government to assist them with ammunition, transportation and logistics.
The Salala festival also had female hunters in attendance.
The leader of the female hunters, Aisha Bakari Gombi, said securing the society was a fight for everyone, irrespective of gender, so “this is a clarion call. We all must make sacrifices.”
This is just as the Chief Hunter of Borno State, Mallam Maigana Maidurma, yesterday, renewed his appeal to the military to allow hunters in the state join the fight against Boko Haram in Sambisa Forest.
He said: “We are renewing our call on the military authorities to allow us join the search for Boko Haram elements in their Sambisa forest hideout. We are ready to pursue the terrorists because we know the terrain.”
“We know that it is true that the Boko Haram terrorists are in the habit of burying landmines to prevent encroachment into their hideout. But we believe that we can work in collaboration with local vigilantes, called Civilian JTF, to overrun them.
“Hunters from all 27 Borno local governments are all in Maiduguri with our leaders, doing nothing at present because of Boko Haram. Rather than idling away, we will want to assist the military in crushing Boko Haram terrorists.”
He said that the hunters were not afraid of any danger because most of them have supernatural powers, which will come in handy in the fight.