Borno residents, traders lament attacks by Boko Haram

Nigerian families displaced by violence and unrest, move into a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State in Nigeria. Photo: Reuters

THE vow by the service chiefs to crush the six-year Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed many lives and property in Borno State and other affected states in the North-East sub-region of the country is not enough relief yet for the residents.

Many in Maiduguri metropolis have continued to lament attacks by the sect. A Maiduguri-based newspaper vendor, who claimed anonymity in an interview with The Guardian, said: “Boko Haram has brought us a lot of griefs and drawbacks and under-development of Borno State and the entire North-East of Nigeria.

The people of Borno State are the most hit, with the killing of many of our children, parents, guardians, traditional and religious leaders in the last five or six years. “As I speak with you today, I parted with my parents in April 2013.

And up to date, I could not see my father and younger brothers and sisters. I cannot even travel out of Maiduguri to even see them or they being able to come and visit me here in Maiduguri because of this Boko Haram insurgency. Even primary and secondary schools have been closed for over a year without our children going to school.

This is a negative setback to the education of our children currently living with their parents and guardians.” On insurgency’s effect on businesses, he said: “In the areas of business and marketing of goods and services in Maiduguri, merchandise and other goods were transported to Baga, Gambouru, Malam Fatori, Damasak, but in the last three to five years, these household goods are no longer being transported to market centres except Maiduguri, which has a single route of Maiduguri-Damaturu Road.

Hauwa Audu, a mother of five, also lamented the “devastation and frustrations” of market women from Boko Haram insurgency. She said: “Boko Haram has killed many people here in Maiduguri, including other towns and villages.

Apart from these incessant killings and displacement of many people to resettlement camps, many of the market women have lost a lot of sales.

Right now, I hardly make N10,000 a week compared to N25,000 to N30,000 sales when Maiduguri was peaceful. “In the height of insurgency, we hardly made any sale and return to our homes empty, while the gunshots and bombs continued without abating until of recent when President Muhammadu Buhari directed the service chiefs to end insurgency in three months.”

Also, another resident, a motor vehicle spare-parts dealer, also in an interview said: “Boko Haram has affected all of us here in a negative way.

Our businesses are no more. They are dying because of this insurgency. Government is not even coming to the aid of people doing business here in Maiduguri. “We are all under distressful business conditions.

Life is not safe in Maiduguri. But we manage it because not all of us here can relocate at the same time. We take it as it goes. Maiduguri is in a war crisis situation.

Business is not moving. No movement. Even as a businessman, you cannot access credits from commercial banks, so you’re on your own. “And the government itself doesn’t help anybody, including the indigenes and non-indigenes in terms of commerce. One cannot really quantify business here in Maiduguri; is generally down.

If one is making N1,000 when things were going on well, he cannot make N100 today. So, the fall in business sales is more than 90 per cent.”

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