It was celebration’s galore for thousands of people of Damasak in northern Borno when the 5 Brigade Nigerian Army hosted the West African Social Activities popularly known as WASA for the first time ever in the town, which was once over run by Boko Haram but recaptured by troops.
The WASA is a Nigerian Army tradition, held annually and aimed at showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the tribes from different parts of the country where the personnel of the Nigerian Army come from.
Recall that Damasak town was two weeks ago enveloped with jubilation when the Nigerian Army re-opened the major/international market that provides sources of living for thousands of the residents of the area who are mostly into farming and trading.
Speaking during the 2021 WASA, the Brigade Commander, Brigadier General SS Tilawan, whom the crowd had nicknamed and were calling ‘The Lion’, expressed his joy at the breakthrough event, and the continous improvement in the lives of the people of the area.
He noted that in the last 2 months, the Secondary Schools that were closed for 7 years in the area with students transferred to other schools in Maiduguri have re-opened and hundreds of students are back home while more students are being enlisted into the schools.
Also, the weekly popular Damasak market that was shut down for 7 years resulting in so much hardship and poverty to the town is now reopened with business resuming at full throttle/speed.
Brig Gen Tilawan also recalled said that ” As at the last count, he saw about 700 vehicles coming into Damasak with different farm products to move from here to other parts of the country” adding, “This has brought back businesses to the people and jobs to the youth and hundreds of millions of naira to our people”.
“Additionally all NGOs and businessess that were closed have now reopened with new ones coming on board”, he said.
Reiterating that the Brigade has a lot to be grateful to God for, the Commander said the 5 Brigade Nigerian Army is holding the WASA in Damasak following the restoration of normalcy to the area.
“It is also an avenue of fostering unity among troops their families and the general public”, he further stated.
Thousands of people from Damasak who gathered for the celebrations also participated with Kanuri, Fulani, Margi cultural groups and other side attractions such as the Snake Charmers and Yan Kokuwa displays.
Highly motivated Soldiers also put up the Ibo and Yoruba dances and some other side attractions such as PT Display and a Tug of War contest between the Army and the Nigerian Police personnel.
In their comments, many residents of the town expressed their joy and appreciation for the oppotunity to attend, watch and psrticipate in the Army WASA for the first time in their lives.
The WASA ended with lightning of the Camp fire by the Brigade Commander.