By Ndahi Marama
MAIDUGURI—Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, yesterday, temporarily relocated his office to Bama town, an urban centre, severely damaged by Boko Haram insurgents in their nearly two years occupation before it was liberated by the military in 2015.
Bama town, located 74 kilometres away from Maiduguri, is one of the most-populated local government areas. The others are Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Biu, in southern part of the state.
Insurgents had attacked the town, killed dozens, destroyed more than 80 percent of the houses in the town, sacked the Emir and took over his palace after declaring it a sovereign territory with laws and ‘constitutional’ leader.
To fast-track major reconstruction works, which were flagged off yesterday, Governor Shettima now lives in Bama town with his close aides. He departed Maiduguri at about12:10p.m. and arrived Bama eight minutes later.
The governor went straight to supervise reconstruction works on private residential houses, police stations, stores, schools, hospitals, the Emir’s palace among others. He deployed construction equipment and hundreds of trucks of variety of building materials, which were already in Bama for the reconstruction works.
‘My office’s here’
According to Shettima, “I decided to relocate here and supervise reconstruction works. I will administer Borno State from here. I am fully prepared to be here for days to come: one week, two weeks or even more.
“I will not leave until we are able to rebuild a good number of private houses, municipal buildings, markets, schools and clinics.
“I want the reconstruction work to take proper shape before I leave. We cannot wait forever before we reclaim our destiny. Bama is one of the worst-affected areas and we will move from here to other parts of the state.
“While I am here, we have a full structure of government in place operating in Maiduguri, so that managing IDPs, civil service, implementation of government policies and programmes will continue while I am here. I came prepared. I will be in constant touch with Maiduguri.”
500 new Civilian JTF
The governor also commissioned 500 newly-recruited civilian JTF and vigilantes employed from locals in Bama to use community intelligence in working with the military to strengthen security in the area so as to forestall unanticipated attacks.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Dr. Babagana Umara Zulum, announced that the reconstruction activities had created nearly 1,000 direct jobs, besides stimulating the state’s economy through procurements of different building materials and payment for services.
The commissioner said with the support his ministry received from Governor Shettima, his men were fully ready to make the governor proud. He gave the indication that Shettima was bound to see new developments every day as he goes out for inspection.