Jutha Gupah, Maiduguri
Governor Babagana Umara of Borno state; has said that all federal roads in the state; are dilapidated for motorists and others to ply. According to him, the 39-year old roads had no “repairs and maintenance” by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA). Umara raised that alarm recently in Maiduguri, when the National Assembly members, led by House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila to assess the state of 200, 255 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri camps. His words: “The six dilapidated roads in Borno; Mr. Speaker include 187km Maiduguri-Biu, 192km Maiduguri-Bama-Banki-Gwoza, 142km Maiduguri-Dikwa-Ngala, 129km Maiduguri-Damaturu, 135km Maiduguri-Monguno and 163km Monguno-Damasak,” he said. He lamented that the roads cause a lot of “nightmares and delays” before motorists reach their destinations and communities. “I’m appealing to the federal government to rehabilitate and reconstruct the affected roads which were built in the 1980’s. “Since then, there were no repairs carried out to maintain the affected roads in the state. The state government; is also in a dilemma, as it cannot intervene with repairs, without the go ahead from Federal Government.” He said even though insecurity to lives and property is the main challenge, the construction and rehabilitation of 948 kilometre roads could facilitate safe commuting of people and counter-insurgency operations of troops in Northeast. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai had told journalists in Monguno last December that; “response to distress calls for Boko Haram attacks and bombings; could be reached in five-10 minutes; if the roads in Borno are motor able. “When Damasak was attacked by insurgents in November last year, it took our soldiers from Monguno military base over two hours to reach the attacked community. “You’ve seen and plied the road with you gentlemen. If the road, was motor able, the insurgents, will not have the opportunity to cause more havoc to lives and property in Damasak and Gudumbali, the council headquarters of Guzamala,” said Buratai. Responding, Gbajabiamila said that since the vice chairman of house committee on FERMA, Ahmed Satomi; is from Borno state, the roads will be rehabilitated this year.