BY ABDULLAHI ISAH, MAIDUGURI
One of the major roads linking Maiduguri, Cameroon and other parts of the North East has been re-opened by the Operation Laifya Dole Theater Command, after its closure in 2014 when insurgents took over Bama following the successes made by the military in clearing the strongholds of the insurgents, especially Sambiza forest and its environs.
While declaring open the road, Governor Kashim Shettima said “today we are witnessing another giant stride of our security Forces in their fight against insurgency. This road is today being re-opened as a result of the resolute resolve of the military to free our society from insurgency, since it was closed when the Boko Haram took over Bama forcing residents to flee the comfort of their abodes.”
The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Usman Mamman Durkwa thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for equipping the the Armed forces to squarely face the challenges of Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast and other security challenges across the country.
“I therefore, appeal to the insurgents over there in the bush to come forward and lay down their arms to give peace a chance to reign, as the Federal Government has provided them with safe Corridor opportunity for them to repent,” Governor Shettima stated.
He assured that the Borno state government will continue to provide necessary support to the military and assistance in rescuing the remaining abducted Dapchi and Chibok girls, as well as for the IDPs to return to their communities.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Roger Nicolas said the re-opening of the road will boost economic activities of the area and facilitate the easy return of the people of Bama, Banki and environs.
“You may likely face the challenges of land mines but with your constant use of the road you will deny the insurgents opportunity to operate along the road. I assure that the military will be on constant patrol of the road to ensure that we all deny the insurgents the freedom of action.”, General Nicolas said
He said the military are determined to get rid of the insurgents in Sambiza forest and the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin and called on the commuters to leverage on the re-opening of the road to commence socio-economic activities in earnest.
He also appealed to motorists to stick to the code of conduct provided by the military to ensure their safety and appealed to the returning residents and traditional institutions to always provide the security operatives with necessary information, so that together they will end insurgency.
Speaking on behalf of the motorists, the Chairman of the National Union Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Alhaji Bello Maduganari thanked President Buhari, the Chief of Army Staff and other security chiefs for making sure the insurgents are degraded.
Represented by his secretary, Alhaji Ahmadu Musa, he said the Maiduguri-Banki road is one of the major roads linking Maiduguri and other parts of the country and three other countries, stressing that with the re-opening of the road, the economy of the region will not only be boosted but also that the revenue base of the Federal government will increase.
In a chat, a resident of Banki, Alhaji Babagana Banki thanked the federal government and the military for re-opening the road, saying that “as you see me now, I m going to Banki. I want to go and see the level of destruction of my house before I come back to pick my family. In deed I am a happy man today, because this is the first time I am going back home since I left in 2014 when insurgents sacked us”.