Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The troops fighting insurgency in the North-east have reopened the Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu highway, one of the major highways leading to Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, which was literally closed to motorists for over four years, as a result of the Boko Haram crisis.
The closure of the road had made traveling from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital to Biu, one of the major towns in the state, a distance of 187 kilometres, a whole day journey, as travelers had to traverse three states.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai while conducting the ceremonial opening of the road near Molai village, an outskirt of Maiduguri, yesterday said the closure was for strategic reasons and to allow free actions of troops against Boko Haram insurgency along the highway and Sambisa Forest.
He said: “The road to be re-opened today (yesterday); runs into the forest, serving three towns and a dozen communities. Despite the re-opening of this road on April 4, 2016 to members of the public, we had to close it again. The closure is an operational exigency to secure and protect people lives and property along the affected road.”
He noted that the Army has achieved the objectives of the road closure by securing it for motorists and commuters.
He said there is minimal insecurity to lives along road linking Damboa, Sabon/Gari, Biu and communities along the road
He however assured stakeholders of Damboa and Biu, that the Civilian JTF, vigilantes and hunters will support the military in securing the road.
He said: “Operations along this road will continue, until it is fully secured, before handing it to the police to protect peoples’ lives, while commuting in the state.”
The COAS appreciated the police for supporting the Army in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
The Borno State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur while thanking the Army for re-opening the road, called on motorists to cooperate with soldiers and other security agencies.
He said that with the re-opening of the road, bushes and shrubs along the road would be cleared for visibility.
He however warned motorists against giving out money to security personnel for logistics before travelling along the road.