Maiduguri — Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum has urged the Army to reopen the Baga naval base to secure farmers in the Lake Chad region.
The appeal was made yesterday, while receiving the new Theatre Commander, Joint Task Force, Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), Maj-Gen. Christopher Musa at the Government House, Maiduguri.
This followed Zulum's appeal and the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari's last week official visit to the state, where he assured that his administration will provide access and securiry to farmlands enable returnee Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs engaged in farming and have a better livelihood.
The Baga naval base was attacked by Boko Haram insurgents in December, 2018 and carted away a cache of arms and ammunition from the armoury.
According to Zulum, with the relative peace now enjoyed on the shores of lake chad region, the revival of the base would protect farmers and fishermen while performing agricultural activities around the lake.
"The resumption of fishing activities in Baga is very dear to us," he said, stating that the State Government will support the immediate relocation of the base from Maiduguri to Baga.
He therefore urged the Theatre Commander to work towards creating an enabling environment for farmers to resume agricultural and fishing activities.
He reiterated that the resumption of activities in the Lake Chad region could restore the lost means of livelihoods.
"The greatest insecurity in the state is denying the people to grow their food and vegetables," he warned, noting that most of the people in camps and host communities wanted to return to their farmlands to pick up their lives.
On recovery of communities, he said: "There is the need to activate and recover critical border towns of Malam Fatori, Abadam, Gudumbali and Kareto, as well as the Damboa/Maiduguri, Bama/Banki and Dikwa/Gambouru roads are also to be reopened for commuters and motorists."
He also reiterated the commitment of the state government to resettle more displaced persons in line with the Kampala Convention. He lamented the continuous dependence on food stamps from international humanitarian organisations; warning that it could not be sustained, as some people become lazy.
"If communities would be allowed to engage in normal activities, they'll help in fighting Boko Haram terrorists," as the insurgents will not have the capacity to attack communities. He therefore assured Musa of support and commitments in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad region. In his response, Musa assured the State Government and people of his commitment to deliver, secure people's lives and property.
"These operations involve both the military and paramilitary, hunters and Civilian JTF for maximum results," he said; adding that they will use both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches in fighting the terrorists. Continuing, he said: "Farming season is at hand, we have to provide a conducive atmosphere for farmers to go back to their farmlands and lake. "We are committed to bringing peace in Borno and the entire Northeast,"