Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State on Sunday described the fall of Sambisa Forest which served as the headquarters of ‘Boko Haram’ insurgents as a “Christmas and New Year gift” to the people of the State from President Muhammadu Buhari. Shettima made the description at the official re-opening of Major roads leading to Northern part of the state in Maiduguri.
The roads include Maiduguri to Gubio to Kareto to Damasak road and Maiduguri to Monguno to Baga. “I would want to start by declaring that since I became the Governor of Borno State in over five years, this is the best Christmas season I have witnessed. “This is the best December I have witnessed and the year, 2016, is my best year so far, as Governor of Borno State.
“The year 2016 is for me, Nigeria’s year of victory and Borno’s year of Hope and Resurrection,” he said. Enumerating the historic events of the year in the fight against insurgents, Shettima said 2016 “is the year that we began to have access to major towns like Gwoza, Bama, Dikwa, Monguno and Damasak following their liberation by our gallant armed forces”.
“It is in the year 2016 that major highways began to be re-opened; it is in the year 2016 that we accelerated our major reconstruction of liberated communities; it is in the year 2016 that IDPS began to return to communities.
“It is in the year 2016 that we recovered some of our daughters abducted at Government Secondary School, Chibok in 2014; and fellow Nigerians, it is in the year 2016, that the Federal Republic of Nigeria established it’s supremacy over the Sambisa headquarters of the Boko Haram,” he added. The Governor also said that two of the roads re-opened were of significant economic benefits to the people of his State as it was through them that trailers conveyed agricultural produce from farming communities.
He paid glowing tributes to President Muhammadu Buhari, Service Chiefs as well as officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces for their different roles in the fight against insurgency. “Many persons made sacrifices, including giving up their lives for us to have peace and for these roads we are about re-opening, to be freed from the control of insurgents,” he said.
Speaking at the occasion, The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. – Gen.Tukur Buratai, warned against extortion of motorists who would ply the road. Burutai also warned against inducement of soldiers, maintaining that troops were well taken care of by the Army command. NAN recall that the the two roads were closed by the military in 2014 following the activities of insurgents.
The insurgents had taken over major towns of most local government areas along the two major roads, including Damasak, Malam-fatori, Baga, Mobbar, Marte and other communities, all of which have now been liberated by the military.
The last town to be liberated is Malam-fatori, where Lt-Col Muhammad Abu Ali lost his life in a surprise attack by the insurgents.(NAN)