Tag Archives: community relations

“Are the areas where [the teachers] are to teach secure?”

In the second in a three-part series on education in emergencies with a focus on the northeast, this interview with Abiola Sanusi, Education Specialist at Riplington and Associates, a Nigeria-based training, advocacy, research and policy organization that uses qualitative and quantitative data to aid their educative work in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. Sanusi discussed from her civil society perspective the challenge of providing education in conflict-affected areas in northeast Nigeria, how much more is needed, the military’s role, what government has and had not done, and how local organizations can help. 

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“I am afraid that Boko Haram is going to come back”

We met Joshua Umaru, a farmer and member of the local vigilante unit in the hillside community an hour and a half hike up from Bazza, Adamawa State. He tells us about life in his community before the insurgency, shares his and his community’s experience of fleeing Boko Haram, and the impact of the Boko Haram attack on the hillside communities. He also talks about government’s lack of support for communities in the hillside and discusses their needs. 

This interview is part of a partnership with Oxfam International’s Nigeria office and Guardian Newspaper. If you are interested in supporting local organizations that work with hillside communities like these and others, do get in touch with us at testimonialarchiveproject@gmail.com

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“It is an act of wickedness for our government to ask people to leave camps and go back to the community that they have not fixed”

Testimonial Archive Project interviewed Peter Egwudah, Program Coordinator of Oxfam International local partner Civil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE) in Yola, Adamawa State. This interview was conducted thanks to partnership with Oxfam International and Guardian Newspaper. Egwudah has lived in Yola since 2014, and has been working to support communities of displaced people and those who have lost their livelihood and homes as a result of the Boko Haram conflict. In this interview, Egwudah talks about the relationship between local civil society organizations in the region and the military, international organizations and government. He talks about the situation facing people who have lost their livelihood due to the Boko Haram conflict, and proffers ways forward for the government in improving the dire situation facing displaced people in the region. He also talks about the cash transfer program his organization extends to displaced people and the importance of the upcoming local elections in Michika Local Government Area that was postponed for the third time at the time of this posting.

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“the scale of work being done [to support IDP mental care] is nowhere near what the need is”

 

Dr. Fatima Akilu is a trained psychologist with over 20 years experience. Until August 2015, she led Nigeria’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme as the Director for Behavioural Analysis and Strategic Communications at the Office of the National Security Adviser; a position she held for 3 years. In this conversation, she speaks to TAP about the challenges that Nigeria faces with its humanitarian crisis and provides insight into how Nigeria can deal with the mass trauma that has resulted from the insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast. You can listen to the conversation with on our Soundcloud widget, or read it with the lightly-edited transcript below.

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“Boko Haram Destroyed My House, Burned It. I Just Managed to Escape”

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.

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“Dead bodies are all over the place with no one to bury them except the pigs and dogs eating them”

Mary Paul from Adamawa State fled her village in Michika Local Government in Adamawa State after a Boko Haram attack. She has moved from place to place since then, and has most recently settled in Waru Community in Abuja. She shares her story and her expectations of the new government.

What is your name?

I am Mary Paul from Adamawa State, Michika local Government.

Why are you in Waru?

My purpose of coming here is because of Boko Haram issue. They entered our village last year September 7. Majority of the people were in the church. They werer shouting ‘Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, God is great, God is great’. They were firing gun shots. Before we knew it we were already running from one mounting to another mounting and another village to another village. That is how we ran from our village to Mubi and from Mubi to Yola, before they sent transport to us and we are here. When we came, we slept in Nyanya, and they said they will get house for us cheap, I better we remain here. When we got here, they took us to the chief, and we explained to the chief and he said there is no problem.

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“They chased away soldiers and killed some of our people”

A man named Babangida from Gamboru Ngala in Borno State talks about the Boko Haram attack that made him flee his hometown. He moved to Fotokol, a town in Cameroon separated from the Nigerian town Gamboru by a 300 meters of river. The town of Gamboru Ngala has seen heavy fighting between Nigeria and Chadian military, and was formerly taken over by Boko Haram insurgents before being freed by Chadian military who crossed into Nigerian territory. Our interviewee Babangida talks about having to flee Gamboru Ngala for Fotokol, then Fotokol to Yola, before eventually ending up in a Maiduguri camp where he is with many of his townspeople.

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“One fateful Saturday after morning prayers, we started to hear gun-shots”

Alh. Yusuf talks to us about the day he fled his hometown Baga, Borno State, and what life is like in the displacement camps. He tell us about others from Baga that he met in the displacement camp, including his parents who spent over 10 days in the bush before they found refuge. He also shares his willingness to vote in the upcoming elections.

This interview was translated form Hausa by a TAP volunteer. If you’re interested in volunteering with TAP, please send us an email at testimonialarchiveproject@gmail.com

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“I heard them say ‘kill them! shoot them!'”

TAP interviewed a young woman from Enugu State who lived in Borno for close to a decade, and worked as a teacher in Borno State for three years. She has now returned to Enugu after having experienced wave after wave of violence in her neighbourhood. She talks to TAP about how she escaped an attack on her neighbourhood and hastily returned to her home state, the debilitating impact of the violence on her family’s livelihood. The bureaucratic hurdles that have hindered government’s reappointment of her to a school in Enugu State give insight into the situation facing many civil servants who have to leave violence-affected states to resettle elsewhere in the country. 

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“People are really wondering about the ceasefire because [Boko Haram] will regroup again”

Last week, we spoke to Fatima, a journalist based in Borno State. This interview took place the day after the announcement of the Nigerian government and Boko Haram had reportedly agreed to a ceasefire. Fatima talks about the challenges of covering the violence ongoing in Borno State over the past few years, the surprisingly low rate of attacks against media stationed in Borno State, local media relationship with government and military, and the skepticism of the ordinary Nigerians in the state following the news of a ceasefire between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram.

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