The ongoing Boko Haram insurgency is preventing developmental projects in five of the 27 local governments of Borno State, the state commissioner of reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement, Mustapha Gubio, has said.
The commissioner’s explanation contradicts a recent claim by President Muhammadu Buhari that all local governments have been secured and are now inhabited by the original occupants.
He said five local government areas, comprising Guzamala, Kukawa, Abadam, Marte and Abadam are totally inaccessible and largely uninhabitable due to the presence of the Boko Haram and ISWAP members.
The commissioner who made the disclosure at a press briefing in Maiduguri noted that several efforts made to move into the affected communities for reconstruction works after they were liberated by the military, had failed as the areas are still ‘haunted’ by Boko Haram.
This is coming at a time the Nigerian military is claiming that no single area in the state is under the control of Boko Haram insurgents.
Apparently acting on the briefs of his military commanders, President Muhammadu Buhari last week said in a nationwide broadcast that “all the local government that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa have been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.”
The commissioner said developmental projects in the affected areas located in the northern part of the state have been halted by the Boko Haram.
“Some of the local government areas are still not accessible,” the commissioner said.
“In Guzamala local government, the army base has been destroyed and the security forces were dislodged. We cannot go to Guzamala to execute any project until when there will be security presence there.
“Still, under the same local government, we moved to Mailari for the construction of 500 housing units, there was the presence of police and military base there. But when we started work, the army base was attacked so we had to withdraw because we could not continue with the work.
“Even last month we moved 50, 000 blocks to Guzamala to start work but we still could not work due to insecurity.
“Abadam is another town destroyed by Boko Haram; it has the most difficult terrain in Borno State. It is about 250km from Maiduguri, and it has no access road. There is no way you can start reconstruction works there unless there is a good road. You can only access the local government through the Niger Republic.
“As for Kukawa local government, there hasn’t been the presence of the Nigerian Army in the area until last month. For now, there is no single person in Kukawa as I am talking to you now.
“The governor is just planning to visit Baga, the major town in Kukawa local government to access the damages there. The level of destruction in Kukawa wouldn’t have been much but due to the long period of desertion of the communities, the building there have begun to deteriorate,” he added.
In the other 22 local government areas, the commissioner said the ministry in the last one year embarked on 77 capital projects “ranging from reconstruction and building of public infrastructures in the housing sector of which 67 were completed”.
He said projects consist of 2,020 housing units amongst other public buildings including palaces and religious houses.
The commissioner did not give financial details of the projects.
The ministry was created in 2015 with a special mandate to handle all the post-insurgency reconstruction across the state.