Seasonal floods, besides Boko Haram attacks, also account for less than a percentage of displacements in North-Eastern Nigeria. Many victims of flood and government officials ascribe the mayhem to opening of dams in Cameroun, which shares border with Nigeria.
Members of Boko Haram chased Martha Garba out of Gulak, Madagali, in Adamawa State, after an attack in which Martha’s husband was murdered. Contrary to Martha’s story, her neighbours claim that members of Boko Haram captured and threatened her to deceptively convince her husband to descend a mountain, which served as her family’s fortress. Allegedly deceived by his wife, whom was under Boko Haram’s threat, Martha’s husband thought his village was freed of Boko Haram, and so returned to his death, at his house. Martha eventually escaped with her five children to Yola, the state capital of Adamawa, where she now works as a hired farm worker so as to ensure that her four children—besides her baby—attend school
Some left over properties in a destroyed home in Lassa town
Displaced women, some of whom are widows, work on a farm. They individually earn less than a US dollar as their wages. Their earnings are contributed towards preparing communal meals among themselves. Farming is the main occupation of most rural dwellers attacked by Boko Haram. Most victims of insurgency started their escape right from their farms, where they were attacked, and their crops mercilessly plundered by members of Boko Haram.
Father of 20 year-old Talazu Joseph, during invasion of his village, Gava in Gworza, Borno State, left his family and escaped to the mountain—since men were primary targets of Boko Haram. He, however, was killed on the mountain. Because of the dangerous atmosphere, other members of the family thought it wise to split into two groups, at night, so as to escape to Cameroun from Nigeria. Unfortunately, Talazu Joseph’s sickly mother and three brothers, separated into a group, were captured by Boko Haram. Words spread to her that her mother eventually died while forced to stay with members of Boko Haram. After staying as a refugee in Cameroun, Talazu Joseph migrated with her sister to a non-governmental camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), at St Theresa Catholic Church in Jimeta-Yola, Adamawa state, while her fourth brother is on scholarship in Jos.
Saraya Joshua’s husband used to be a teacher in Amuda in Gwoza, Borno state. On his way home from school, he ran into some strangers whom cheerfully greeted and chatted with him. They promised to come and be his guests later in the evening. Saraya’s husband informed his wife about the august visitors, whom were unknown to the couple as members of the deadly sect—Boko Haram. When the visitors arrived later that day, they met Saraya’s husband with two of his friends. They shot the trio dead. Saraya also lost one of her sons to Boko Haram. Saraya’s husband may have been targeted for execution because of his profession.
18 year-old Ayuba Genesis and and his brother 15 year-old Adamu Genesis are being sheltered, with their mother, at Sangere in Girei, Adamawa. When Boko Haram stormed Gwoza town in 2014, father of the two brothers was captured and forced to join the deadly sect. Although Ayuba, and their mother ran off to Cameroun to escape being killed, their father traced them to Cameroun, where he threatened to kill his two sons whom declined their father’s request that they too should join the deadly sect. His children escaped from their father and have vowed never to be reconciled to him. Adamu Genesis claims that many children and boys who are his age mate were conscripted by Boko Haram.
60 year-old Zaratu Bitrus, Rufkat Amos, and Marayam Yakubu from Gwoza in Borno state, are widows whose husbands were all slaughtered by merciless Boko Haram.
Children play volleyball at Deeper Life Camp Ground, a non-governmental camp for displaced persons at Kwana Waya, Yola South in Adamawa State. Most of the displaced children prefer psycho-social activities to formal education. Most villages affected by insurgency are educationally poor. This is one of the reasons formal education fails to thrive among children of displaced persons.
Children participate in skipping at the Deeper Life Camp Ground, where locally organized formal education was eventually stopped due to low turn-out of children of displaced persons.
Children of displaced persons participate in a local game in Deeper Life Bible Church camp, at Kwana Waya, Adamawa. Local games were also used by NGOs as psycho-social activities.
A pupil, at Sangere, Girei, Adamawa State, after school hours waits to write the lesson of the day, in a badly thatched classroom where some of the displaced children learn under harsh weather conditions. The school was created by people whose communities were affected by Boko Haram. The school is mainly run by displaced persons who volunteer as teachers. They believe that education is the major weapon they can use to fight Boko Haram.
Father of Hauwa Muhammed, nine years old, was slaughtered by members of Boko Haram. Although Hauwa, her two other siblings and her mother escaped from Borno to Adamawa, like many other displaced children, learning in school is difficult because of her occasional traumatic state of mind.
Some children prepare themselves personal meals besides camp foods cooked by government officials for the general camp dwellers.
An IDP woman uses a local method to blow-out husks from beans, which is to be sold in market the next day.
Asabey John witnessed how her four sons were beheaded by members of Boko Haram, during the capture of her village in Gwoza, Borno state. She wrapped the blood-dripping severed heads of her late sons in her wrapper, for a quick burial that was done by her husband, who has since been separated from his family. Asabey John was last seen at the Deeper Life Camp, at Kwana Waya, Adamawa state, where her three sons roam around and her only daughter works as a farm worker, her mother’s occupation too. She occasionally speaks on phone with her husband, who claims he has no money to travel to Nigeria. He is currently living as one of many Nigerian refugees in Cameroun.
Mr Mathihias Jinantikiri fled from Guluk, in Madagali to the Deeper Life Church camp, in Kwana Waya. He claimed that Boko Haram killed her wife, though a fellow IDP argued that Mathihias’s wife died naturally. Mathihias works as a local washer man and a repairer of metal materials. During an interview, he passionately told me that IDPs who are adults should not wait to be handed-out food and relief materials for survival, but must work! Mathihias, however, was seen at various times queuing to collect food and relief materials freely distributed by NGOs to IDPs.
A farmer as well as an IDP displays some infested beans provided by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for IDPs in Yola. In a bid to raise personal funds, some IDPs tried but sold in vain the beans in the main market.
An aged IDP who makes it to the St Theresa Catholic Church tries to get a tricycle to convey her food and relief materials home. All IDPs who come for the materials are supported with about $1 to facilitate their transportation. During attacks, members of Boko Haram usually spare women—especially old ones.
Some IDPs living within and and outside Yola travel to Jimeta-Yola to collect food and relief materials, freely distributed by St Theresa Catholic Church.
Christians surrender themselves for a security check, at the LCCN Cathedral, in Jimeta-Yola. However, the security checks are only done on Sundays or during special church programmes, not regularly. At the inception of Boko Haram, many churches were razed and Christians targeted by Boko Haram.
Children of returnee displaced persons at Lassa Town, Borno state, impatiently wait for food during Christmas celebration. The Christmas attracted many displaced children to venue of the party, though many displaced children inconsistently attend schools independently run, without any government supports, by an NGO, Education Must Continue.
A returnee boy waits for food at Lassa town during a school Christmas party. The party attracted many children who have returned to their town after being displaced for over a year, by Boko Haram.
Children of returnee displaced persons are secured by local vigilantes who parade schools where learning activities take place. Siliramda Gadzama, member of the Lassa vigilante group, demonstrates how he bravely shot 50 members of Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest, Boko Haram hideout in Borno state.
Immanuel Abayomi Afolabi, the ethnographic researcher, sits with some members of Lassa vigilante group, in Borno state.
Pupils learn under fear in Lassa town, Borno State, where insurgent activities are currently most active. Due to insufficient military presence in the town, the deserted town is heavily guarded by local vigilante groups, who also have a base not too far from the learning site for children of returnee displaced persons, who individually handled, locally, their relocations without any supports from the government.