“I Was Part Of The People That Started Civilian Joint Task Force In Maiduguri But I’ve Been Forgotten” – Musa Garba Danjuma

A few days ago, I wrote an article titled “The Incredible Transformation From Yan Gora To Civilian JTF In The Fight Against Boko Haram Insurgensy,”and one of my readers came to the comment section of the article on Facebook and said to me, Mr. Writer, “your story about the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) is incomplete without putting my name in it.”

At first, I ignored his comment thinking he was just trying to get my attention. But his subsequent comment got my attention. He said; “I coined the word Civilian Joint Task Force.”

Civilian Joint Task Force

Commenting further, he wrote; “Believe whatever I tell you.”

I told him to educate me more on his claim and he began;

“When Boko Haram insurgency was at its peak in Maiduguri, many youths ran away, leaving just a few of us, the elderly ones, women, children and of course the military behind. I call that period “The Exodus,” because Maiduguri saw the Exodus of many youths.

“At that time, the Borno government formed the Joint Task Force comprising of the military and other security agencies in order to go after the Boko Haram insurgents.

Boko Haram terrorists.

“The newly formed Joint military operations team had “Joint Task Force” written all over their hilux operational vehicles during the early days.

“Despite the Joint Military Operations against Boko Haram insurgents in Maiduguri, there was no sign of the insurgents giving up their arms. Instead, they infiltrated the streets of Maiduguri and we, the remaining youths in town, had no options than to form a group that would support the military in identifying and getting rid of the terrorists among us.

“The person that first brought up the idea and started the Yan Gora (Youths with sticks) movement was one Ba’a Lawan.

Civilian Joint Task Force
Ba’a Lawan, the first person that started the Civilian Joint Task Force movement. (Photo Credit: Facebook).

“It all started when Ba’a Lawan caught a Boko Haram lone wolf with his bare hands. This gave him the courage to do more, so he mobilized youths in his area to support him.

“After establishing the Yan Gora movement in his area (i think somewhere around Hausari Area in Maiduguri), they came to my area in Gwange 3 primary school, gidin gaye (which means under the tree).

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Civilian Joint Task Force
Yan Gora (Youths with sticks).

“I was a student of the university of Maiduguri at the time. And I stayed around Gwange sabo line, opposite Gwange 3 primary school.

“This was how through Ba’a Lawan, we established the Yan Gora (Youths with sticks) movement in my area which is Gwange 3 Primary School area in Maiduguri also known as Sector 3.

“We formed Sector 3 along with one Lee Mohammed (late), Isiyaka Umar and Umar Tela (also known as Umara). Umara as he was popularly called was our secretary at the time.

“On the day that we started the movement in my area (Sector 3), we took an oath with the Holy Quran to expose any Boko Haram movement.

“Two days after forming the Yan Gora movement in Gwange 3, Umar tela left his position as the secretary as he was scared of the unknown. So i took over from him.

“One of the boys with us suggested that we give the movement a befitting name which we agreed to.

“He then suggested that we name it the Small JTF since we were youths coming together to jointly defeat a common enemy.

I disagreed though, and suggested that since we were civilians, the Civilian JTF would be a better name for the movement.

Civilian Joint Task Force
Musa Garba Danjuma, also known as the teacher.

“That was how I coined the name Civilian JTF. My name is Musa Garba Danjuma and my nickname is “the Teacher.” The first thing we did was to write the new name (CJTF) on Gwange 3 primary school wall, as that was where we held our first meeting as the Civilian JTF in the area.

“I could remember on a Friday evening after we’ve formed the movement, I, together with one Baba Mai Shai, Isiyaka Umar and Real Abba took charcoal and went straight to Gwange 3 primary school. On getting the’re we wrote “civilian joint task force” on the wall.

Civilian Joint Task Force
Civilian Joint Task Force, Sector 5 command preparing for battle.

“Then the inspiration came to abbreviate it to C_JTf.

“Afterwards, I created the first CJTF ID card with a special code that was known all over Maiduguri.

“From Gwange 3, the movement extended to 202 area where they installed one Alkali as their chairman.

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“Other parts of the town where the CJTF was established at that time are; Kasua area in Bulaburi Secondary School and also in Post Office area around Nitel.

“The task at that time was so difficult and no body would risk their lives taking pictures like they do today. We were always business minded, tracing Boko Haram fighters to their houses, catching them and handing them over to the military.

“I remember when we started the CJTF, we were able to capture some boko haram members with the help of one Captain Obi from the Nigerian Army.

“I also remember vividly during the first week of CJTF operation, we recovered a total of 3,570 guns. We handed over all the recovered weapons to soliders.

“Although we were never paid a dime at that time, we never took anything from the items we recovered from boko Haram insurgents. We handed over all the exhibits to soliders including their money.

“We were never given any weapons to fight with. We formed our own weapons by ourselves.

“Some of us really worked hard for the Civilian Joint Task Force movement but we’ve now been forgotten. Some people In high places came to hijack the movement and put their boys there.

“Most of the top guys you see in the CJTF today are put there by politicians. With exception of Ba Lawan, who is a top ranking officer in the movement.

“To me, I feel cheated because they pushed me aside. Despite everything i did for the movement.

“I was supposed to be the overall Secretary of the movement but some senior members pushed me out. They said because i was not born in Maiduguri so I can’t be their leader.

“It was really painful, but thank God for life. I’ve moved on and I’m not holding grudges with anyone.

“That being said, despite the sad experience, if given another opportunity to serve or support the civilian joint task force movement in any capacity, I will gladly do.

“If recalled, I will be glad to support the movement. I will do this because I lost a lot of friends to Boko Haram, and i still carry their memories in my heart.

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“Their dreams was to see that Borno state is free from the Boko Haram menace. They died chasing these dreams, so if i have to leave whatever I’m doing right now to rejoin the movement again, it would be worth it.

“There was this guy, we call him Ortega. We started the civilian joint task force movement together in Gwange 3. He was a great guy but was killed by maiduguri people.

“He was in a military guard room when boko haram laid siege on Giwa Barracks. He was put in prison serving a punishment for an offense. During the siege on the Army barracks Ortega was mistakenly killed.

“He escaped from the guard room and was dodging from Boko Haram terrorists when some boys in Polo area saw him hiding and killed him thinking he was a Boko Haram member. They later discovered he was a CJTF member who was locked in military guard room for an offence that is not related to Boko Haram activities.

“To me, the insurgency in Maiduguri is something I’ll never forget and that’s why everywhere I go, I try to let everyone know what people are going through In Maiduguri.

“I remember during my NYSC days in Rivers State, I organized a stage play (Drama) and showed people in camp what Borno women and children are going through in the hands of Boko Haram.”

Musa Garba Danjuma, 2nd from the right, during a stage play he performed in NYSC camp, Rivers State where he showed people what women and children are going through In Maiduguri. (Photo taken in 2017).

Today I’m longer staying in Borno but I still feel part of Borno.

End Note.

The Civilian Joint Tasks Force (CJTF) was founded in Maiduguri, Nigeria, to assist with the eviction of Boko Haram Islamist fighters from the city.

With the support of the state government of Borno, led by His Excellency, Professor Umara Babagana Zulum, the movement now has rudimentary weapons and includes female members.

In Borno State, the civilian joint task force now has a membership of over 26,000 people, with each person being paid a monthly stipend.

Please if you have any question for the writer or Musa Garba Danjuma do not hesitate to Contact Us.

Thanks for reading.

You can read more on how Ba’a Lawan started the Civilian Joint Task Force movement HERE.

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