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.
What is your name?
My name is Babangida.
Mallam Babangida I greet you, how are you coping?
We thank Allah.
Very good, Babangida. Where are you from?
I’m from Gamboru Ngala.
What brought you here?
My reason for coming to Maiduguri is an invasion by Boko Haram at about 4:00am into Gamboru Ngala. They chased away soldiers and killed some of our people. They said they won’t kill some of us but reneged and started killing afterwards. About five of my kinsmen got killed, my younger ones.
Boko Haram chased us out of our place, and they pushed us into Cameroon. For about five months we were in Fotokol.
Yes, we’ve been there. We also went round about four thousand and something kilometers through Yola to Maiduguri. When we got to Maiduguri, government sent vehicles to Yola which were conveying us and bringing us directly into camp.
How many people did you say you lost?
Yes, I lost five of my younger ones.
May Allah forgive their souls.
Do you have any relative in this camp?
I have a younger brother who is the overall Chairman of Ngala Local Government. We are together. I also have my wife whom Allah Has brought here, I have two of my younger ones here, one has a husband. The other is male and we’re together here in camp.
Are there any other people you know here?
I have plenty friends who have found their way through the same route as we took, we are all together here in camp.
May Allah keep everyone safe. When you came here did you receive any medical attention from any doctors, especially those who are injured?
Very well. We have doctors, even from Jimtilo some ailing ones were taken to the hospital and doctors were brought to Ngala. They followed us from house -to-house taking ailing people directly to hospitals. Even the injured ones were directly taken to hospitals.
Has the government availed you any aid in this camp at all?
Our Chairman in Ngala has approached the government and gotten us what we want, essentials like food, potable water, laundry soap. Chairman Abdulrahman has delivered to us in abundance.
Ok, Abdulrahman has brought you all you need then?
Yes he is the Chairman of Ngala Local Government.
That means government is with you.
Government is with us.
On the issue of elections, have you been given something called voters card?
Yes, some were brought to us and some are not. The whole of Ward C have not been given [their voters cards], that is Gamboru Ngala, but we’ve done new registration here. We were asked to do so.
But the ones you’ve done before were not delivered.
Yes, those of Ward C were not delivered. But other sides like Wards A and B have all been delivered.
And all those affected have been re-registered now? Those whose cards are not delivered to them and those who just attained voting age?
Yes, we’ve all been re-registered now.
Now what is it you think you need and which you don’t have or get in this camp?
Alhamdulillahi, we thank Allah. We don’t have any problems, only our inability to move in and out of the camp freely. One may desire getting something he/she needs and which isn’t available within the camp but was not allowed to exit and get. But now our Chairman had spoken with the camp commandant who now allows people free exit and entry to the camp, some even buy stuff from outside to sell within the camp.
Something like a market is opened here then?
Now since you got re-registered that means you have another temporary voters card, do you intend to cast a vote?
By Allah’s grace I intend to vote, I intend to vote for my choice.
Ok, thank you Malam Babangida for the time you accorded us.