Borno deploys 1,000 men to clean Bama for IDP return

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

The Borno State Government has deployed 1,000 persons for the cleaning and fumigation of major roads and streets in Bama town.

Governor Kashim Shettima, who has so far spent four days in Bama, following his temporary relocation, ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to clear and fumigate the town, as part of ground preparations for the return of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs after reconstruction works.

The exercise
The clearing is also meant to increase access for workers involved in the reconstruction of the area.

The Sole Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mallam Nassir Surundi, while conducting journalists round different streets in Bama town, said ‘‘17 streets had so far been cleared of giant weeds that grew up since residents fled Bama town in the wake of attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in September, 2014.’’

He also said fumigation and other sanitation exercises were being carried out against snakes and other reptiles, which turned residential houses into their homes due to absence of human occupation.

“By tomorrow, Sunday, I promise all of you that within the next two weeks Bama will wear a new look different from the bush and the debris you see around. Without us clearing the roads, workers wouldn’t have access to reconstruction sites while the town will continue to look like a war zone, we are committed to Governor Kashim Shettima’s mission of changing Bama from insurgency has turned into,” Surundi said.

He explained that Governor Shettima had equipped the agency with specialized trucks, large stock of chemicals, while funds were regularly released for the employment of adhoc staff, where necessary, for more fast track the clearing process.

‘‘We are bringing more hands to Bama,” he stressed.

Mallam Surundi reiterated that the agency was working with security agencies, who specialize in clearing mines, following the successful fumigation and clearing of Dikwa, Magumeri, Konduga and some parts of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council.

He also said the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency was ready to deploy men to other parts of the State to fumigate and clear towns abandoned by victims who fled insurgency attacks in 2014.

Foreign support
In a related development, a six-member delegation from the Danish Refugee Council, has offered to support the Borno State Government with expertise in clearing of mines in Bama town and on farmlands in support of Governor Shettima’s reconstruction works.

The delegation met Governor Shettima in Bama, after the Governor’s temporary relocation.

It will be recalled that Governor Shettima moved his office to Bama on Wednesday, to personally supervise reconstruction works with a view to fast track progress.

He said he chose to confront the biggest challenge by relocating to Bama with the hope of making rebuilding task easier for the State.

Bama is the second largest town in Borno State which is next to Maiduguri and it is the worst hit by the Boko Haram attacks with more than 80 percent of public and private buildings, including hospitals, schools, water and electricity installations were all destroyed.

The town has records the highest number of IDPs.