Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday described members of the Boko Haram as lunatics who hid under religion to destroy the state.
He assured all that the government would reconstruct structures damaged by Boko Haram terrorists in the liberated border community of Damsak to enable residents return to their normal lives.
He spoke while addressing some residents in Damasak, headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area of the state.
The governor, who expressed sadness over the level of destruction by the terrorists, said: “It is sad that the lunatics chose to engage in wanton destruction of lives and property in the guise of religion.
“We will strive hard to ensure that all the structures destroyed are reconstructed within our limited resources.”
He said government would conduct a census of the damaged structures to determine the actual figure before embarking on the reconstruction programme.
He also promised to empower residents of the area financially to enable them to return to business.
He added that “Damasak has lots of historical and economical significance in the state because it is the lifewire of Borno North.
“We have to make sure that residents who are mainly farmers, fishermen and business merchants return to business.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the resident are eager to return home and pick up the pieces of their lives.
Malam Kyari Bukar, a resident, said the people were tired of staying as refugees in neighbouring Niger Republic.
He said “we are currently staying in Bosso in Niger Republic as refugees.
“We want to return home and continue with our economic activities; we are farmers and fishermen, we are tired of living as refugees.”
He, however, lamented that their homes had been destroyed by the terrorists, but stressed that “all the same, we want to go back since the military has liberated the area from the terrorists.
“If government can assist us to rebuild our homes and empower us to start something, we are ready to go back.”
Gov. Shettima also visited the Commander of the 145 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Damasak, where he commended the military for liberating the area from the terrorists.
He said: “We cannot thank you enough for the giant strides recorded in recapturing Damasak.”
“We are here fundamentally to thank you for all the sacrifices you made for us to have peace in this part of the country.”
He prayed for soldiers who died in the course of duty.
“May the souls of all those who paid the supreme price for us to have peace rest in peace; May God give the families the fortitude to bear the
losses,” he prayed.
The governor also pledged to tackle the problem of water shortage facing the troops.
He said: “We will send a team from the Ministry of Water Resources to address the problem.”