Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has distributed about fourteen million, five hundred and eighty thousand naira (N14,580,000) alongside one thousand three hundred and sixty-six bags of food to 683 volunteers helping the military to fight Boko Haram in Bama town.
Zulum has been in Bama for the last three days, since arriving Monday, for humanitarian and developmental activities.
The governor addressed the volunteers on Wednesday night around the Shehu of Bama’s palace.
The volunteers comprised 313 members of the ‘Civilian JTF’, 105 hunters, 155 local vigilantes and 110 members of a border vigilante group called ‘Kesh-Kesh’.
Of the 683 volunteers, the governor directed the release of N250,000 to each of their four leaders and N20,000 each to 679 members.
Governor Zulum also distributed two bags of rice and maize to each of the 683 volunteers, making 1,366 bags in total.
The governor added a gallon of cooking oil and 10 yards of brocade to each of the 683 volunteers.
Before the gifts, Zulum addressed the vigilantes: “Please accept from me, the deepest gratitude of the government and the entire people of Borno State for your unquantifiable sacrifices that cannot be paid by any amount of money or material things.
“Many of your colleagues gave their lives for us to gain the peace we are enjoying today. Many of you have taken the highest risks of going to battle fronts, leaving your loved ones and the comfort of your homes.
“We can never forget your sacrifices and we are immensely grateful to all of you and to all volunteers and our armed forces who lead the war”, Zulum said.
Bama is identified as the worst affected by Boko Haram’s destructions and displacement, according to a 2016 assessment report co-authored by the World Bank, the EU, United Nations and the Nigerian Government.
The Recovery and Peace-Building Assessment Report (RPBA) showed that Bama had the highest number of displaced communities and displaced persons and the highest number of residential homes destroyed by Boko Haram.
It was based on that report that Governor Zulum has accorded special attention to Bama’s rebuilding and resettlement as well as supporting residents with food and cash for livelihoods as communities gradually return to farming and other business to eventually begin to rely on themselves rather than depend on aid.
Prof. Zulum has, this year, mobilised many resettled communities to return to livelihoods with a number of markets now reopened, many farmers able to safely cultivate crops, commercial trading of dry fish now back in areas like Baga and trans-border trading also back in areas like Banki among others.