Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, Monday revisited the New Marte town, a former stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgents in the shores of the Lake Chad Basin region to inspect facilities of CBDA and other infrastructure with the view to resuscitating and rebuilding residential houses and public buildings destroyed by insurgents.
The governor is also exploring the possibility of reviving irrigation farming in the Chad Basin Development Authority (CBDA) and commence operation in July, this year.
It will be recalled that in December 2019, Governor Zulum was in New Marte and it was the first civil visit to the ’no-go-area’ in more than five years since Boko Haram insurgents attacked the agrarian community forcing all residents to flee.
The insurgency also affected the federal government’s agricultural project in the area , leading to the shutdown of the Chad Basin Development Authority ( CBDA) and other federal government’s activities in an area.
CBDA has over 67,000 hectares of fertile land for large scale irrigation. New Marte is located in Marte local government area in northern Borno and the entire LGA had come under the control of insurgents, until the Nigeria military recaptured it and has now given go ahead for the return of civilians.
Governor Zulum, in company of CBDA’s Managing Director, Engineer Abba Bukar, Borno’s Commissioner of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Commissioner for Higher Education, who hails from Marte and Commissioner of Local Government and Emirate Affairs flew from Maiduguri onboard a military helicopter.
During the unscheduled visit, Zulum assessed varieties of vandalised irrigation equipment, a power house, workshop and dozens of buildings used by the CBDA in active days of engaging thousands of families.
“I am here with the MD of CBDA, Abba Bukar in New Marte, insha’Allah we will partner with them to resuscitate Marte’s irrigation centre. This will provide means of livelihood to the people,” the governor said before flying back to Maiduguri.
Goverbor Zulum has earlier ordered for construction of new 500 houses and some primary and secondary schools in New Marte for the returnee IDPs of the community.
Governor Zulum during his visit, directed the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement to commence reconstruction of 500 houses, which will serve as staff quarters for technicians and other staff of the Chad Basin Development Authority.
The ministry is to also rebuild schools and other public facilities destroyed by the insurgents.
“In a request to the CBDA, when the houses are rebuilt, the 500 houses will provide temporary shelters to displaced persons willing to return to New Marte, even though there are communities in different parts of the larger Marte local government area that will also be rebuilt for their permanent occupation”.
“Insha ’Allah, we will rehabilitate the CBDA staff quarters along with 500 housing units. The returning IDPs will be resettled there in New Marte pending the completion of works and their permanent resettlement,” Zulum said.
The governor added that on IDPs return, government will support them with economic packages, which will enable the households to directly build their destroyed homes, while operating temporarily from CBDA’s quarters.