The Bama-Banki road which connects Nigeria to countries such as Cameroon, Zaire and Sudan, was on Wednesday November 3 reopened by the Borno state government.
Governor Babagana Zulum who reopened the 65km road which was closed down nine years ago due to insurgency, warned immigration personnel and other security operatives against extorting road users.
Security operatives were also directed by the Borno state Governor to arrest anyone found diverting from the main road towards the bush with smuggled goods. Zulum stated that such person will be treated as an insurgent.
“I am very much impressed to witness the official reopening of this very important international road. This road has remained inaccessible to people since 2012 due to activities of Boko Haram, but with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and our security agencies, we have reopened it.
“As we are coming here today, I have sighted some immigration personnel busy extorting our motorists along the Maiduguri-Bama-Banki junction, which is unacceptable.
“I want to strongly sound a warning, especially to immigration personnel and other sister agencies to desist from extorting motorists and passengers while plying the road.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Borno state, we appreciate the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari through the chief of defence staff, general Lucky Irabor, for the restoration of peace and stabilisation in the state and the north-east region.
“Likewise, as the chief security officer of the state, I have given an order to the military to arrest anybody engaged in smuggling of goods, especially diverting the main road to the bush with food items. Therefore, any perpetrator, if arrested, should be treated as a Boko Haram member.”
Governor Zulum also thanked security operatives for ensuring farmers’ safety in the area. He added;
“Last year, we made an appeal to the Nigerian military to allow farmers have access to their farms, and from the look of things, quite a number of our farmers would have a bumper harvest this year.
“This is so commendable as the support our internally displaced persons get from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is no longer sustainable.”