Nigeria’s Defence Minister, Major Gen. Bashir Magashi, rtd says the ministry will soon establish a full military battalion in the Falgore forest to complement the effort of the Kano state government in ensuring security in the region.
Mr. Magashi made the statement during the foundation stone laying ceremony for the first phase of the Nigerian Army Training Area located at Falgore forest, being built by the Kano state government, aimed at dislodging activities of terrorists and bandits operating from the area.
He said the battalion and its facilities when built will be used to face any security challenge in the region and beyond.
“In addition to what Kano state is doing by establishing the training area , I will make sure that more military barracks are built around here, It will not be out of place to put a battalion here in Falgore (Tudun- Wada) and it will re-enforce all the confidence neighbors have in the area and make it safer for productive economy and living,” said the Minister.
He called on the Nigerian Army to reciprocate the effort of the Kano state governor by making judicious utilization of the facility.
The Falgore forest ,which was originally carved out as games reserve for botanical study, tourism and recreational activities by the Kano state government north western Nigeria, was for many years seized and became beehive of activities for terrorists, bandits, Kidnappers, cattle rustlers and armed robbers among others before the military routed them out.
Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje while laying the foundation stone said that the 1000 square kilometre forest project is being carried out after detailed planning and collaboration with the Nigeria Army to stem activities of criminals operating in the area.
“The N500m naira facility which is made up of administrative blocks, dormitory, cafeteria and other buildings is the phase one of the project, while the contract for the construction of an access road to the facility has since been awarded under the state ministry of works.”
“I contacted the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and briefed him of my intention to provide some facility for the Falgore Forest and he consented to that. He directed me to see the Chief of Army Staff and brief him of my intention.
“I was with the army and they agreed that they would collaborate with us in order to get some facility for the military here,” Said Ganduje..
Ganduje in an earlier report said the falgore forest could host over 5 million cattle and called on herdsmen across Nigeria to relocate to the area to stop the herders – farmer clashe going in the country.
The Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai commended governor Ganduje for his efforts towards ensuring peace and stability in the state and the country in general, stressing that the facility will enhance training and operations of the military in the vast area..
“His Excellency has actualized his earlier promise to allocate a training area and build a training facility for the Nigerian Army in the Falgore forest.”
“The military activities to be embarked on in the forest will keep the forest peaceful and enhance economic activities in the suburbs.”
“I am also glad to know that Kano state is one of the most peaceful states today in our dear country Nigeria,” said the COAS.
He further called the state government to expedite action on the 4.5 kilometre remaining part of the project as well as ensure the issuance of certificate of occupancy of the place to forestall future challenge of ownership.
The COAS, was represented by the Army’s Chief of Policy and Planning officer, Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun.
The majority leader of House of Representative, honorable Ado Dogwuwa said all the farmers who abandoned their farmlands because of security threat can now come back as the fringes of the forest, whih has served as food basket to many states including Niger Republic,
“Even motorists who abandoned the road can return because the trunk A road passing through the forest is a short cut to many states,” said honorable Dogwuwa
The forest is the longest in northern Nigeria, with agrarian economy surrounding it and stretches down to the fringes of the notorious Sambisa forest, where Boko Haram operates, Bauchi, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara states and even neighbouring Niger Republic