In September, the United Nations marked its 75th Anniversary and the 21st day was the International World Peace Day but the guns of conflict seemed to have sounded loudest in areas of conflict across the globe with new fronts emerging.
In Nigeria, as in other parts of Africa, where long years of conflict have left in their trails large areas of devastation, the enemies of the state continue to change strategies and stretch national resources, especially the security agencies, in men and material.
When it seemed the Nigerian military had restored order in the Northwest region where terrorists were daily destroying communities, the criminals launched fresh attacks in the Northeast which has been the centre of terrorism in Nigeria over the past decade. They inflicted heavy casualties on the security forces, including taking out field commanders.
The relics of the conflicts, including natural disasters, are numerous with victims also trying to eke out a living and HumAngle attempted to capture them in the month of September.
A new demographic of teenagers is becoming dominant in the cadres of fighters populating the terror troops in the Lake Chad Basin. The teenage and child soldier phenomenon has become the new normal in the camps and formations. And the development is seriously impacting the terror group’s strategies and effectiveness, HumAngle has learned.
On Sunday, September 20, insurgents mounted a roadblock on the road leading to Maiduguri from Monguno town, in Monguno Local Government Area, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria. Monguno is 130 kilometres northeast of Maiduguri. State officials from the Ministry of Health in Maiduguri were among the travellers on the road that day. The health officials were on assignment to fumigate internally displaced person (IDP) camps in the garrison town. When these particular travellers got to the roadblock, it was already too late when they realised they were in the hands of insurgents.
Sunday, September 20, turned out to be one of the most depressing days for troops of the Nigeria Army, particularly among the soldiers in the 25 Task Force Brigade, Damboa, Borno state. News of the death of Dahiru Bako, an Army Colonel and Commander of the Brigade came as an over wrenching bombshell. Every soldier among the troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast Nigeria knows Col Bako as a soldier’s soldier.
Realising that the Nigeria Police cannot curb crime alone, vigilante groups in a southwest state have stuck to ancient practices of reducing insecurity and seem to be succeeding. In communities in Southwest Nigeria, it is common to use traditional methods in crime-fighting. The practices include oath-taking, adjudication or alternative dispute resolution, use of herbs to fortify crime fighters, and the invocation of gods and spirits at shrines. While many of these practices are fading, especially in urban areas due to conventional policing, rural communities still use them.
Young IDPs in Nigeria are sexually assaulted by officials as a condition to receive food and medical supplies. Aisha has had more than her fair share of misfortunes. She was only six years old when the Boko Haram terror group levied war on the secular society in Nigeria. The ensuing carnage and bloodbath has taken the lives of over 30,000 people. Originally from Goniri, a town in Yobe State, she was forced to move to Bama, about 60 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri in neighbouring Borno State.
He was in the senior commanding cadre among the revered elite jihadist corps in the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram. As a Qa’id, the Nigeria Army equivalent of a Brigadier-General, he was high in the sect’s pecking order. Two years ago, Musa (not his real name) took residence in Hayin Rigasa in Kaduna among ordinary people. Musa was joined by his family, his wife and three children. He lived discreetly, with a keen interest in the minutest information about his neighbours and the neighbourhood. He avoided conversations with people and only ventured out when it was necessary.
Kano State is known as the centre of commerce because of thriving economic activities in its communities that have made it to have one of the largest Gross Domestic Products in Nigeria. Among such commercial activities is the renting of clothes – a practice which, according to some sources, dates back many decades in Fagge Local Government Area of the state. But concerns have been raised by experts as to the medical and social implications of this kind of business.
Thousands of women in Borno have had to raise their children alone because their husbands, arbitrarily accused of being members of Boko Haram, are jailed by the Nigerian Army. But they are not planning to give up hope.
Fanna Modu has 11 dependants and 10 among them are children. On good days, she hands out N10 notes to each so they can get food to eat. These good days are bad days in normal survival terms but nothing about the conditions of Internally Displaced Persons in Northeast Nigeria is normal. Modu, like many other women in the camp, is a sole provider for her household which has been thrown into heavy dysfunction by bouts of conflicts and terror attacks. The husbands are absent, not by choice. They are scattered in detention camps after being separated from their families on the suspicion that they are members of the Boko Haram insurgency group.
The sellers make brisk businesses all seasons. To feed the supply chain, trees are frequently felled. In the process, deforestation is escalated across the state. As trucks filled with firewood move to markets and communities, they leave behind a trail of environmental degradation. HumAngle spoke with firewood dealers in Maiduguri, Borno State, Northeastern Nigeria, on the environmental impact of their trade.
Ali Isa looks forlorn and dejected in the midst of some four elderly men under a tree providing them with a shade in the centre of Al-Heri community also known as Abuja Leprosy Colony. The Leprosy colony is about 73 kilometres away from Abuja situated on Abuja-Lokoja expressway. But written all over Isa is evidence that he has been through a lot- suffered and survived leprosy and now struggles to survive the pangs of poverty in an abandoned community.
A spectre of impunity and violence hangs over Nigeria. On September 8, 2020, what seemed a replay of the costly extra-judicial killing of Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Jammatu’atu Ahlul Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram in Police custody in Maiduguri, Northeast Nigeria was re-enacted by state actors on a highway, few kilometres away from Makurdi, Benue state in North Central Nigeria. Only that this time, the perpetrators are troops of the Nigeria Army deployed to field operations in Benue state.
Chased out of Nigeria’s Northwest region by seemingly intractable violent crimes, many Nigerians taking refuge in Niger Republic’s ‘Villages of Opportunity’ seem to be rebuilding their lives as Nigeriens. For Bilkisu, remembering an act of terror is as traumatising as the act of terror itself considering its consequences on victims. The experience still agonises her but the mother of 11 struggles with emotion but must ere courage and calmness to recall the night she would permanently dread and wish to forget for the rest of her life – a night in April 2019 although she could not remember the exact day.