Buni Yadi, Yobe State’s most destroyed community, once captured and occupied by Boko Haram insurgents, is set to get township roads, drainage systems and a rebuilt hospital.
The governor of the state, Mai Mala Buni, has embarked on a post insurgency reconstruction.
For the first time in many years, residents of Buni-Yadi, an agrarian community, made popular by the Nigeria Railways terminus rolled out drums to rent the air with jubilation as the new governor’s motorcade drove through the streets to supervise the already commenced township roads projects.
When Boko attacked Buni Yadi in late 2014, the insurgents did not only sack the residents but destroyed virtually everything in the community.
Even though the military had, in July 2015, reclaimed the town and its surrounding communities, livelihood had continued to remain unbearable for those who managed to return.
For over four years, the local government administration operated outside the community as the council office remained closed.
Even the police station, schools and markets have not been functional as they still remained in their charred state of destruction.
Mr Buni was on Wednesday in Buni Yadi to officially flag off the construction of township roads, drainage systems and some of the destroyed public buildings.
The governor said the Buni Yadi township road stretches over 4km while the dual drainage system spanned a distance of over 8km.
The road and drainage project is being built on direct labour basis by the Yobe State Ministry of Works and Transport at the total cost of N673, 455, 140.00.
Mr Buni, who hails from Gujba local government area, said the rebuilding of public facilities in the town was part of the post conflict rebuilding he promised the people during his electioneering campaigns.
“I have made policy statements that I would consolidate on the execution of road projects to open up more communities and build rural feeder roads to ease the movement of agricultural produce, livestock and other services to enhance socio-economic development,” he said.
Mr Buni implored the residents of Buni Yadi to exercise patience with the inconveniences that may be caused by the ongoing construction works. He said the people should ensure they take ownership of the drainage by maintaining them once completed.
The governor also disclosed that the next set of township roads will be built in Babbangida and Damagum towns, headquarters of Tarmuwa and Fune local governments, respectively.
“We also intend to execute some other road projects in phases within the limits of resources at the disposal of the government,” he said.
Mr Buni had also visited the Buni-Yadi General Hospital that was also destroyed, where the Victim Support Fund (VSF) started work on, but stopped before completion.
The governor directed the acting Secretary to the State Government, Baba Mallam Wali, to ensure that all processes needed for the complete renovation of the hospital are started.
“As peace steadily returns to this area and people return to their communities, it is very vital they have good healthcare services and other basic social services. I learnt that the VSF has started work but we don’t know why the work stopped. I, therefore, direct the SSG to ensure that all the processes and contacts are done and the hospital is renovated without any delays”, the governor said.
The chairman, Gujba local government, Kyari Batrama, thanked the governor for the project and called for more security for the Local Government Area.
One of the residents of Buni Yadi, Goni Bukar, said he lost his house during the days of Boko Haram occupation and was displaced for about two years.
“These roads and drainage means so much to us,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
“At a point I thought it was over for us in Buni Yadi, because everything, including what defined our culture and heritage, were all wiped out.
“Even after our return, many of us still remained sceptical, if life can be made to return to normal as it used to be in the past.
“But with this mass construction of road and drainage project brought to us by our governor, a son of the soil, life is gradually picking up. Our youth are busy engaging in one form of construction or the other.
“We are happy.
“As you can see, everyone is happy, and because of that, we are bringing out our drums to beat for the first time in a long time and dance to the delight of good things that are being by done in our community,” said Mr Bukar.
A female drummer, Ya Hajja, who leads a group of male singers said “now we know Buni Yadi will survive and life will be free and more prosperous for us, because tarred roads and better drainage will definitely transform Buni-Yadi to a city and we thank Governor Mai-Mala Buni for keeping his promises.”