Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zulum accompanied by state officials had on Thursday night went round Banki town located on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon where lively nightlife returned after seven years of insurgency.
Zulum, who visited retail shops at 10:30pm saw the town bustling with social and economic activities which made him described what he saw as one of his best moments since becoming governor two years ago.
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Special Advisor to Zulum, Malam Isa Gusau said in a statement that the governor interacted with retail traders and approved the ‘distribution of additional N50 million grants’ to a number of them, to enhance their businesses ‘with potential impact on the local economy.’
Banki, one of state’s major economic hubs outside Maiduguri, is located in Bama local government area and was famous for huge day and night economic activities, until the town was sacked by insurgents 2014, forcing residents to flee to neighboring Cameroon and Niger Republic.
Zulum visited Banki 10 times and approved reconstruction of homes, schools, hospitals and other public services and hundreds of new resettlement estates.
The governor’s latest visit was on Thursday morning for the launch of another phase in UNDP’s regional stabilization facility, encompassing commissioning of police and paramilitary offices to entrench civil authorities.
Addressing some retail traders on Thursday night, the governor was quoted as saying, “Alhamdulillah! It is gratifying to note that business activities have resumed in Banki town. You can see Banki’s situation at 10:30pm today. This is the kind of progress we have been looking for in a long time. I think today is one of my happiest moments because of the fact that we can walk inside Banki town at this odd time. I am very much satisfied, because this is not 10am; this is 10:30pm. Anybody I believe will be happy to note this development.” Zulum Said.
“Just six months ago, Banki was a ghost town when we came in; residents confined themselves to IDPs camp for about 7 years. But now we have seen the progress. We express our utmost gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian military, police, DSS, the multinational forces, paramilitary and our volunteers and all other stakeholders for making the changes in Banki possible. We pray to the Almighty to bring lasting peace to this community and the entire state. Insha’Allah, we will continue to provide the needed security architecture in this very important town and other communities of the state. Insha’Allah, we shall continue to build the resilience of the people, we shall promote peace and cohesion among the residents in the entire state, insha’Allah.”