Agony Of IDPs In Bauchi | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Agony Of IDPs In Bauchi

Posted: Feb 10, 2016 at 9:28 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
By Patience Ogbodo-Iwuagwu
Life will never be the same again for thirty-five year old Lydia Haruna  who lost three family members when an insurgent  group launched an attack and burnt down their community in September 2014.
Haruna, a mother of seven who hails from Musa district in Askira Uba Local Governemnt Area of Borno is currently taken refuge at Sabon Kaura, an Internally Displaced  community in Bauchi Local Government with her family spent three months inside the bush with her children after the attack.

Narrating her ordeal to Daily Independent in Bauchi, Haruna said “The insurgents started the attack on our village in early 2014. At first, They will launch an attack and flee but on the day they fled into the bush, they came in large numbers and started shooting sporadically and as the attack became unbearable,  everybody started running heater skelter for safety and I and my children escaped into the bush.
“We spent three months in the bush without food. We were only eating groundnut and maize which we planted as the hunger bit harder on us. I was breastfeeding my last child who was one year old when we had that  ugly encounter so the suffering was too much for me to bear.
“Two of brothers and my uncle were killed during the attack. We saw their corpses along the bush path as they cut them into pieces. The elderly men among us in the bush carried their corpse and buried them.
“After three months in the bush, we followed the bush path and trekked  to Yola where a good Samaritan assisted me and my children with transportation that brought us to Bauchi.
“I decided to came to Bauchi because my husband worked there before and  as  my husband was missing while we’re in the bush, I thought may be he has escaped there so I decided to come to where he was living before  with the hope to see him but unfortunately on getting there my husband was no where to be found.
“It was after eight months that my husband showed up, by then I had no hope of seeing him again because I thought  he has been killed  during the attack but I was shocked to see him so I thank God as my husband later joined us.
“Life has not been easy with us in Bauchi. We were feeding from the money I used to get from the packing of sand. I load a pickup van daily and will be paid N700.
“Unfortunately, the owner of the land where we used to pack sand for sale stopped us from entering his land so we now go into the bush to gather fire wood which we sell to take care of our children.
On government assistance to the IDPs in the community, she said ” SEMA used to bring food stuff for us but for the past eight months, we have not receive any assistance from them but UNCHR  visits us occasionally to donate items to us.
When asked if she has plans to go back to her village, She said “We have no where to live if we go back because the whole community was burnt down by insurgents so no one lives in the village anymore”.
The ongoing insurgency by the Boko Haram group in Northern  states especially Borno, Adamawa and Yobe  has produced millions of internally displaced persons in the region, thereby bringing untold hardship to the people.
The incessant attack has led to death of thousands of people while many have been rendered  homeless and had to flee to other neighbouring states to take refuge.
There are over one million internally displaced persons in Bauchi state as result of ethnic crises and Boko Haram insurgency. These  IDPs are settled in thirteen local government areas in the state and the local governments are Toro, Bauchi, Alkaleri, Gamawa, Zaki, Itas Gadau, Jamare, Katagum, Misau, Darazo , Shira, Giade and Tafawa Balewa local government.
These  IDPs who come from Plateau, Benue, Kaduna, Zamfara,Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state were resettled in Bauchi  as a result of ethnic and religious crises as well as Boko Haram  insurgency.
The IDPs are  resettled in various communities in Bauchi state in order to be reintegrated into the communities in case they decide to settle  down in there.
Zara Buba from Bama Local Government in Borno state also lost two of her sons during an attack in her community.
Buba, who is currently taken refuge at internally displaced community in Baram Gada in Bauchi state said ” I am traumatized because two of my sons are dead, my two daughters and three grandchildren are missing and we are rendered homeless because our village Bama was burnt down by insurgents.
Buba, a mother of ten said she and her husband narrowly escaped death with only six children when the insurgent group attacked their village. I came to Bauchi as a result of insurgency activities in Borno. “We have been running from one town to another for more than one year before we finally settled in Bauchi, they killed my two children while I don’t know the whereabouts of the remaining ones because I am here with only 6 children instead of 13 which include my grandchildren so I don’t know if they are dead or alive.
“We have been staying in this community since 2014 and life has been very difficult for us because we only eat food whenever we see and if we don’t get  we will pray to Allah for another “.
A pastor in Sabon Kaura community, Pastor Waliya Joshua who hosted over 100 Households of Internally displaced Persons from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in his residence at the peak of the insurgency activities described the situation as terrible because 15 people lives in one room.
According to him “Currently I have about fourty-seven households IDP’s in my house because some of them had gone back to their  villages.
Pastor Joshua, a son of an herbalist who repented and turned to a Pastor said one of his brothers who was affected  by the attack brought some of the IDPs to his house from Adamawa so that he can accommodate them “so since then, other IDPs who got the Information that a pastor in Bauchi was hosting IDPs also trooped in to my house and I can not chase them away rather than show them love.
When asked what motivated such large heart, he said ” I come from a very large family. My father has 30 wives and and 102 children so he used to assist strangers, I grew up seeing my father doing what I have done.
I am a son of an herbalist. My father was an herbalist who was well known in Adamawa and beyond but I gave my life to Christ in 1995. I was caught up by God and I had no choice than to repent and I threw away all my charms”.
How he was able to cater for hundred IDPs” It’s not been easy but God has been assisting us. We have also been receiving assistance for churches especially ECWA, Christ Embassy and Living Faith Church as well as UNCHR who has been donating  relief materials. SEMA also assisted but for over 8 months we have not receive any assistance from SEMA.
Pastor Joshua solicited assistance from the government and other other spirited individuals saying “These IDP’s are going through hardship. Government should empower them so that they can have a means of livelihood to take care of their families.
A leader of the IDP’s who spoke on condition of anonymity described their situation as terrible “We are going through a lot of hardship because these people are already frustrated and traumatized as a result of the crises  that forced them out of their homes .
Though government provides shelter for us and do give us relief materials occasionally but we need more help because our people are dying of hunger and sickness. Some women gave birth in the homes without any medical attention, many have died in pains and hunger so we need more assitance from government and other individuals to survive,” he pleaded.
According to Andrew Monday, a graduate of Business Administration from Nassarawa State University whose village was razed down in Hong Local government Area of Adamawa state said he lost everything during the attack and called on government to come to their aid.
He said “I engaged in some skill acquisition Programme during my NYSC and learnt how to make soap, vaseline and other detergents but I need capital to start the business as I am het to be employed but with my skill I can earn a living to take care of my siblings.
Our host pastor assisted me with funds which I have been using for the production of some detergents for sale but I need more funds to invest in the business”.
Zakari  Musa, a leader of the IDPs in Baram Gada community in Bauchi said he came from Plateau state as a result of crisis ” I am an indigene of Shandam local government, we lost our lands and other properties due to the crises while many of our people were also killed so we ran to Bauchi and settle here.
“We have thousands of refuges from neigbouring states in this place and We are all living together peacefully as one family. We have been given shelter and other amenities by the government but we lack health facility because we do have serious problems with our pregnant women if they want to give birth so we appeal to the Government to provide us with a good health centre with modern health equipments. drugs and health personnel so that we can have access to good medical services.
About  2.3 million Nigerians are Internally Displaced in different parts of Nigeria and they are mostly refugees from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States whose towns and villages have been destroyed by insurgents.  According to statistics provided by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) about 55 percent of the IDPs in Nigeria are children who have been orphaned due to the insurgents activities while the remaining population are women mainly widows that lost their husbands.

The destruction melted in different parts of North east by  insurgents prompted  the visit of Assessment Team of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and World Bank (WB) on insurgency devastated areas to Bauchi state recently.

Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi state told the team led by Alhaji Wakil Adamu from the office of the Vice President that poverty and ignorance are the fertilizers breeding the activities of insurgency in the northeast part of the country and warned that efforts to rebuild the areas devastated by insurgency will fail unless the problem of poverty and illiteracy were adequately addressed.

He noted that when underlying factors of ignorance and poverty are addressed, it will go a long way to minimize insurgency in the region, thereby reducing the numbers of IDPs in the state.

He said “The effect of insurgency is felt by states like bauchi state because of the multiplier effect of the displacement of persons who are now finding succour in the state. Indeed, rebuilding infrastructure is a very important aspect of your mission in the northeast, but addressing the underlying factors of insurgency is much more important than rebuilding infrastructure.

Why i am saying this is that poverty and ignorance pervading the region if not addressed will provide a ready ground for another crazy person to surface in the future and create problem. We may be able to tackle Boko Haram today, but if we are not careful and continue the way we are going by not looking into this critical issues, i am afraid we will still find this same monster of insurgency resurfacing “

The question on the lips of these IDP’s is when will they go back to their homes and starts living a normal and peaceful life like other Nigerians as their communities has been ravaged by insurgents.