- State commissioner dies, gov cuts tour after Chibok
Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has ordered the rehabilitation of the biggest church in Lassa, in Askira-Uba Local Government Area of the state, destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The governor who also ordered the reconstruction of the general hospital and public schools burnt in the town by the insurgents, said the unity existing between the two major religions, Christianity and Islam, in the state cannot be brought to the sword by Boko Haram.
He said since he had rebuilt mosques destroyed by the insurgents in parts of the state, “it is equally a responsibility placed on him to rebuild burnt churches.
He said he was not out to play politics with the instruction for the rebuilding of the church, but rather to do the right and sensible thing.
He said: “This is a church burnt by insurgents that can be traced to the Islamic faith and since I have rebuilt mosques destoryed by them, it is only right for me to rebuild this burnt church.”
He promised that worship service would be held in the church, Ekklisiya Yan’a uwa Nigeria (EYN) on Christmas Day as it would have been rebuilt by then.
The governor took time out to visit, Gwoza on Tuesday, a town captured by the insurgents and made the headquarters of the infamous caliphate.
In Gwoza, Shettima directed the Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Dr. Babagana Zulum, to ensure that his ministry aligned with professional engineers/builders from Gwoza to immediately put the liberated town in good shape for comfort of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as most of them have started returning back home.
He said: “I want to sympathise with you over the unfortunate calamities perpetrated by the Boko Haram in recent past, we are here to tell you that as government, we will do everything possible to rebuild all your destroyed houses brick by brick.
“We have also come with assorted food items including 1500 bags of 25kg rice, 1500 bags of beans, 1000 cartoons of sphaghetti, Sugar, salt among other relief items.
“I urge some of the IDPs from Gwoza who are still residing in resettlement camps in Maiduguri and other places to please come back and join you because there is no any place like than home.
“I want to thank the federal government and the Chief of Army staff as well as the entire officers and men under the ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ in the north east for their gallantry effort in degrading remnants of Boko Haram.
“My appeal to you all is to please give maximum support and cooperation to the military and the civilian JTF who are here with you to give you adequate security,” Shettima stated.
The governor as parts of his weeklong visit to newly liberated towns, passed the night in Uba town, once held by Boko Haram in Askira-Uba Local Government Area of southern part of the state.
He had spent six nights in Bama, which was under reconstruction.
Meanwhile, the governor has lost his Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Waziri Imam, a development which as made him to end his temporary relocation to Bama and tour of destroyed communities after the Governor visited Chibok, Gwoza, Askira-Uba and Damboa local government areas, all in southern parts of Borno State.
Secretary to the State Government, Usman Jidda Shuwa, announced the commissioner’s death in a statement.
The commissioner, who is a younger brother to an APC national chieftain, Alhaji Kashim Imam, died after a brief illness in Maiduguri yesterday morning.
He died at the age of 54 and he is survived by a wife and six children.
Governor Shettima who was visibly shocked by the news, had from his temporary residence in Bama proceeded on tour of communities affected by Boko Haram destructions in southern parts of the state and to also supervise ongoing reconstruction work in some of the areas.
The governor left Bama on Tuesday after nearly one week of Relocation to mobilise major reconstruction works. Shettima visited Pulka, a populated village in Gwoza local government area and also assessed destructions and ongoing reconstruction works in Gwoza town during which he interacted with thousands of residents that have since returned to their communities.
The governor proceeded to Lassa for another assessment of destructions before passing the night in Uba, another community in Askira-Uba Local Government Area which was liberated from the Boko Haram.
The governor was also in Askira town, headquarters of Askira-Uba local government area for assessment and meeting with the Emir preparation to reconstructions.
The governor left for Chibok to assess reconstruction works and interacted with some stakeholders before cutting his trip back to Maiduguri following the demise of his commissioner.
The late commissioner was buried yesterday evening in Maiduguri amidst tears.