Nigeria: Lassa-Michika Road - Appeal for Intervention

12 December 2019

One great legacy President Muhammadu Buhari is bequeathing the nation is a solid foundation for infrastructural development.

The people of the North East will forever remember President Muhammadu Buhari for saving them from annihilation by the Boko Haram insurgents. They also appreciate the establishment of the North East Development Commission mandated to rebuild the devastated region. The prayer of every North Easterner is that the Commission will live up to expectation by putting in everything to rebuild the terribly devastated infrastructure and kick start a better coordinated socio-economic revival.

In this context attention is being drawn to the need to complete the long abandoned but very vital road network between Lassa in Borno state and Michika in Adamawa state. It is important to note that, if there is anything that has retarded development of the two communities and compounds their plight in the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency, it is the non-completion of the road. The road, which was started in the early eighties when Colonel Mohammed Marwa was the Military Governor of Borno State, is a short stretch of road awarded to a local construction firm mobilized to commence work but abandoned. Material brought to site to lay foundation for the bridge on the Yadsram river also vanished.

clarion call and SOS to the Federal Ministry of Works and the North East Development Commission to accord due priority to completing the road which is very strategic road and life-line to the people of Lassa in Borno state and Michika in Adamawa state.

Before the havoc visited on the people by the Boko Haram insurgents, the two communities were the cradle of education and health care in the area with the General Hospital in Lassa established in 1927 providing valuable service to that part of the country. People from Mubi and Maiduguri as well as traders from Chad and Cameroun also patronized markets in the two communities, considered then to be among the largest in the two states. More importantly, the passion for education among people from the Lassa and Michika communities is without doubt responsible for the two communities producing renowned professionals in all fields not only in the country but abroad. Today, there is hardly any field where the indigenes of Lassa and Michika have not excelled. Obviously, the existence of a good road then contributed to the realization of the educational ambitions of the people.

It is yet to get the attention of outsiders that both Lassa and Michika communities are among the most devastated areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. Bridges linking Adamawa and Borno states have been blown up and most roads linking the two states are currently impassable. Several educational and health care institutions and private homes were destroyed which is why indigenes of these communities cannot go home for more than seven years. Even though the insurgency has been significantly decimated, towns in the two areas particularly, Lassa, Dille, Ngurthafa, Michika, Madagali, Gulak and Shuwa are still intermittently attacked by insurgents dispersed from the Sambisa Forest. The plight of people in these towns and villages is a result of being very close to the Sambisa Forest and contiguous to the Nigeria-Cameroun border where the insurgents hibernate.

These and other untold predicaments underscore the urgent need for both the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to prioritize completion of the road network between Lassa in Borno state and Michika in Adamawa state. Beside the effects of the insurgency, the non-completion of this very critical road is a major factor for the lack of significant development in the area in recent years. Even small scale trading which the people from the areas were known for before the insurgency is no longer thriving.

The people of the two communities are therefore looking up to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their assistance mainly because the road under reference could be described as an abandoned project and fits into the description of ongoing efforts to revamp infrastructure that could kick start development all over the country. The people of the two communities believe the Lassa-Michaka road if rebuilt would open up opportunities and boost commercial activities. The two communities also believe that positively responding to their appeal by President Muhammadu Buhari and the present Government would meet their most pressing needs. The people of Lassa and Mickika and environs are equally trusting that the North East Development Commission could make the road a priority project considering the enormous benefits to the affected communities especially as the main objective of the Commission is to mitigate the effects of the Boko Haram insurgency.

A. A. Gadzama is former DG, SSS.

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