Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji is the Director of the Borno State-based federal body Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), which is in charge of managing agriculture in Nigeria’s conflict-affected northeastern zone. He has lived in Borno State since 1988 when he started working at the LCRI and has been working with farmers in the region ever since. He speaks to TAP about how violence in the northeast has affected food prices in Nigeria, how farmers in conflict-affected states have fared over the last 6 years, opportunities for agricultural development in the northeast, and what he believes the federal and the region’s state governments must do to get the region’s farmers resettled and the region’s agriculture-based economy working again.
TAP interviewed Mary from Adamawa State in a recent visit to a displacement camp in Nasarawa State. Mary recounts fleeing her town in Gwoza Local Government, Borno State, when Boko Haram destroyed her home in August 2014. She has been running ever since, first trekking about seven hours from her hometown in Gwoza across the border to Cameroon, then another approximately 23-hour walk from Mokolo in northern Cameroon to Mubi, Adamawa State. She ended up in a settlement for displaced people in Nasarawa State.
After having fled Adamawa State as a result of Boko Haram violence, this parent bemoans the difficulty of settling into a new life, especially in getting children back in school.
While you are here in Waru, as the government fights Boko Haram, what will you want the government do for you?
If I say the government is not trying, I lie. But since January, February, no one has come here to see us apart from Minister’s wife who came here last three months. But since then nobody has come to see us. The food they are giving to us, even some small things they give to us, we don’t see anything again.