Mustapha Gubio, Borno’s Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement, has said that at least five of 27 local government areas in the state are inaccessible due to severe insecurity contrary to the assertion by President Muhammadu Buhari on Democracy Day.
In his address to commemorate Democracy Day on Friday, June 12, 2020, Buhari said that not only had the Armed Forces “considerably downgraded” security threats in the country, no local government areas was under the control of terrorists.
“All the Local Governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long 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 president said.
Gubio, however, said at a press briefing in Maiduguri that five local government areas ㅡ Guzamala, Kukawa, Abadam, Marte, and Abadam ㅡ were inaccessible to the state government for infrastructure development owing to the strong presence of the insurgents.
“In Guzamala Local Ggovernment Area, 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 a security presence there,” the commissioner said.
“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,” he said.
He added that Abidam, another town destroyed by Boko Haram terrorists, had the most difficult terrain in the state.
With no access road, it is nearly impossible to start reconstruction works and it can only be accessed through Niger Republic, the commissioner said.
“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,” Gubio said.
“The governor is just planning to visit Baga, the major town in Kukawa Local Government Area, to assess the damage there. The level of destruction in Kukawa wouldn’t have been much but due to the long period of desertion of the communities, the buildings there have begun to deteriorate,” he added.
In its 2019 Poverty and Inequality Report released in May, the National Bureau of Statistics confirmed the vulnerable and insecure status of communities in Borno State.
“While the NLSS 2018-19 includes households from Borno, that sample was not representative of the whole state since only households from ‘accessible’ (safe to visit) areas only were interviewed,” it stated.
HumAngle’s study of data from the Nigeria Security Tracker shows that there has been an upward trend in killings across the country, especially in the Northeast and the Northwest.
Between May 25 and May 31, the number of deaths recorded was 149 and rose the following week by 23 per cent to 183. Also between June 8 and June 13, in a period of six days, 241 Nigerians lost their lives, mostly to the activities of terrorists, available data show.