Chronicles of the Displaced — ‘We Fled and Left Everything Behind’

The decade-long insurgency in Borno State not only displaced locals to take refuge in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), but many of them fled their homes without their properties.

Forty-year-old Hafsat Lawal is one of the many IDPs. In her chat with HumAngle, she narrated how the war has stripped them of their homes, families and properties.

READ: Mamanaye: A War Survivor Whose Husband Was Sent on No-return Journey by Soldiers in Borno. She Also Lost Her 6 Children

“We fled and left everything behind. Today we are living with no provision for food, water or even toilets,” she said. “They have been constructing toilets since before we came here (resettlement Camp)  and still not done.”

Hafsat explained that she had spent over two months in the camp but living inside the camp is excruciating, according to her.

She said: “Most of us had to take loans to start a small-scale firewood business to feed ourselves. We get the woods from the bush and sell them for meagre amounts ranging from 7 pieces for N100 and sometimes even 6 pieces. 

“But two days ago we were chased out of the bush by Boko Haram Insurgents. Now we are forced to patronize wet wood in town and break them into pieces and sell.”

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READ: Death and Rape — Through the Eyes of Surviving Minors in Zaria

Whenever someone falls sick in the camp, they would take them to a nearby hospital in Bama town, Hafsat explained. In some cases, they are referred to Maiduguri where Doctors scold them for not coming on time, and sometimes they refuse to admit them for medical attention. 

“Nobody checks on us,” she lamented. “We depend on God alone to provide for us. We are on our own.”

Vestiges of Violence is a weekly podcast on personal stories of violence victims by HumAngle. It lends a voice to victims of hardship and war torn areas in Nigeria.


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