Normalcy returns to Maiduguri – Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday said scheduled flights by three airlines to Maiduguri, bubbling nightlife are clear testaments that normalcy has returned to Maiduguri.

The Minister said this in Maiduguri at a Special Town Hall Meeting for the military and security agencies organised by his ministry.

Mohammed said the facts that Maiduguri, which used to be the epicentre of Boko Haram insurgency, could host football leagues as well as the town hall meeting, were clear indications of successes recorded in fighting insurgency.

‘‘No airline was flying this route at the height of the insurgency. In any case, the airport was not even open for such flights due to safety and security concerns.

‘‘The mere fact that we are gathered here for this meeting is a testimony to the success that has been recorded in fighting the insurgency.

‘‘In the heat of the insurgency, this would have been impossible,’’ he said.

Mohammed said that his Special Assistants, who flew into Maiduguri on Saturday, told him of how they were pleasantly surprised to see a city that sharp contrast to what was being painted out there.

‘‘Busy roads, people going about their daily chores as you would have in any normal city, and even a bubbling nightlife,’’ are evidences of restoration of peace.

He said the feat was not achieved by accident but President Muhammadu Buhari charted the path while the military made all the sacrifices, including losing their lives.

‘‘Our political and military leaders have shown leadership in getting us here, unlike in the past when, in the words of Mr President, official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion made Boko Haram a terrifying force.

‘‘The ordinary folks have also shown great resilience and support to bring us here. We are eternally grateful to all,’’ he said.

Mohammed said isolated attacks by the remnants of the insurgents were act of cowardice and government was prosecuting the last phase of the war on Boko Haram.

‘‘The military is punching deep into the enclaves of the insurgents, rescuing women and children and catalysing the surrender of many insurgents,’’ he said.

The minister appealed to the people in the Boko Haram affected areas to cooperate with the military in terms of providing information, especially about fleeing insurgents.

He commended the Borno Government for its massive post-war reconstruction programme.

The minister also assured the state of continued support from the Federal Government and international donor agencies.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ministers of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, Interior, Abdurahman Dambazzau and Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, gave scorecards of their ministries.