December 24 is when the Nigerian military would reopen the Maiduguri/Baga road in Kukawa Local Government of Borno state, north-east Nigeria.
Acting chairman of the local government Habib Kekeno said the council had completed all arrangements to reopen the road following relative peace in the state.
The Maiduguri/Baga road was closed in November 2014 by the military after Baga suffered five major attacks from Boko Haram insurgents.
The chairman said the continued closure of the road had negatively affected fishing and socio-economic activities in the state.
“It is hard to believe that Baga used to be a lively trading centre of 200,000 people where merchants would travel to sell cattle, leather goods and trade in fresh produce.’’
To pave way for business
He said more than 2,000 fish traders and marketers still produce fish in Baga. But they lack access to transport their produce to Maiduguri.
“I went to Baga about 21 times and I can tell you that I have met our fishermen who stocked about N4 million fish, but do not have access to bring them into Maiduguri.
“Baga was the largest producer of fish in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Its fishermen bordered from Niger, Chad, Cameroon and some other countries.
“Before the insurgency, more than 300 lorry loads of fish are [sic] transported to Maiduguri and other parts of the country in a week. But now, no single truck comes from Baga.
“Borno gets its fishes from Damboa Dam, Aloa Dam, River Yobe, others from Chad Republic. But there is no access road leading to these places anymore,’’ Kekeno said.