Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, on Wednesday, visited Bama Local Government Area of the state, which was liberated by the military with the inauguration of 500 new members of youth vigilante group.
The vigilance group would complement effort of troops, police and other security operatives in safeguarding the ongoing reconstruction, rehabilitation works and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Bama with a population of over 460,000 was sacked by insurgents on 1st September, 2014, with devastating consequences ranging from total destruction of residential houses, public buildings and the palace of the Shehu, Alhaji Kyari Ibn- Umar Ibrahim Elkanemi.
Already with liberation of Bama early this year by troops, about 23000 IDPs have relocated, but have been facing accommodation problems.
Addressing the newly recruited vigilantes who are to be paid N10,000 monthly allowances by the state government, Shettima enjoined them to discharge their civic responsibility with fear of Allah (God), to ensure that none of the building materials supplied were tempered with or diverted.
Said he, “We are here in Bama town to see that all the structures hitherto destroyed by insurgents are fully put to shape. We are not here for politics as you can see that even the family houses of former governor Ali Modu Sheriff is among the first beneficiaries.
“When insurgents were unleashing terror on our land, they did not segregate in their destructions, and government is totally committed to ensure that all our liberated communities are put to shape by our reconstruction and rehabilitation drives, as our IDPs will soon relocate back home.
“As citizens of Borno, I want you to assist in safeguarding the whole reconstruction work with all sincerity. As all of you have sworn with the Holy Quran that you will be sincere, I enjoined you not to connive with any miscreant (s) by revealing the modus operandi of our security forces and government officials who are here in Bama.
“I will stay here in Bama for the next one or two weeks, after which we will move to Gwoza and specifically Lassa which is a Christian community in Askira Uba Local Government Area to continue reconstructing all structures destroyed by boko haram”. Shettima said.
He therefore, commended the military, particularly the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Brigadier-General Victor Ezugwu and the Commanding Officer of 21 Armoured Brigade, Bama, Colonel Adamu Laka, for their unflinching support in degrading the insurgents which led to the fast track in rebuilding our destroyed communities.
In his welcome address, the GOC, Gen. Ezegwu thanked governor Shettima for his commitment to see that Bama which is the most hit by insurgency is been rebuild and put to shape, and asurred him on behalf of the Chief of army staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai adequate security in and around Bama, and all linking routes being the second largest town in the state.
Also contributing, the Commanding Officer, Colonel Laka appealed to the governor to allow over 23,000 IDPs who have since returned to the town to settle at the newly reconstructed Central Market due to rainy season and to also fast track the reconstruction and re-equipping of the general hospital to carter for the health needs of the returning IDPs in the town.
Briefing the governor on the project work, Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Dr. Babagana Umara Zullum said, the ministry has engaged the services of over 1000 civil engineers and labourers in rebuilding Bama, while Gwoza and other parts of Askira Uba, particularly Lassa town in southern Borno will soon benefit from the same exercise.