People who have fled their homes who are still living in makeshift camps and host communities have expressed their dissatisfaction over the breaking of promises by politicians as new and returning administrations enter office at state and national level.
Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, have been promised a lot of things by both state and national politicians.
It has been over a decade since the violence of Boko Haram began displacing millions of people, turning it into a great humanitarian crisis. Within this period, Nigeria has conducted several elections, in 2015, 2019, and the most recent, 2023.
These elections were characterised by numerous campaign promises to the displaced people affected by the crises. Security, education and resettlement formed the major promises made by politicians during political campaign visits to displaced communities.
Ali Bakka told HumAngle some of the campaign promises made to them by politicians during and after the election periods. Ali is from Cross Kauwa in Kukawa Local Government Area. He fled the town together with his two wives and 12 children as a result of a violent attack by Boko Haram in 2018.
“I am happy that we have witnessed the transitioning of the new and old government, this means a lot to us who are in displacement for many years. We have expressed our expectations to politicians,” Ali said.
“Because our needs are peculiar, the politicians have taken advantage and made promises,” he added.
But he has little hope they will be met, he said.
Ali mentioned that “We need security at our local communities which we fled many years ago, we need education for our children, and we need to be resettled in order to continue our life that we lost.”
“The government of Borno State had promised that we will be resettled back to our communities where we know best but up to date we are still suffering in this Camp. It’s a promise we dream to see come to reality but it never comes and we and our children are rotting gradually here” Ali said.
Ali and his family live now at Shuwari V IDP camp, a makeshift camp in Maiduguri. The camp is a home to thousands of displaced herders like Ali who fled the terrorised northern region of Borno State.
“Our dreams and aspirations have been buried in this camp”, Ali said.
“I have never imagined myself living in an IDP camp but in the blink of an eye, Boko Haram terror had forced us to live in such detestable living conditions.”
Ali used to be a striving intercommunal trader selling phone accessories on local market days until the crisis emerged and ruined everything for him.
Bulama Modu, 25, living in Muna IDP camp along Dikwa Road in Maiduguri, said that an important part of his life has been affected by the displacement. His passion for school has been interrupted by lack of means to pay fees.
The promise for free education by the politicians was his only hope , but it never came to fruition.
“Many of our needs contained in the politicians’ promises were not fulfilled.” Bulama said.
Bulama started school to further his secondary education after they fled Mafa and settled in Maiduguri. His dream is to finish secondary school and further his education to higher institutions but this dream met the reality of displacement.
Bulama remembered the campaign promises during the election period. “In 2019, the politicians had promised us that all youths from Mafa will have free education. Unfortunately it has not happened to us despite wanting education.” He said.
According to Bulama, he personally sourced money to complete SS1 and SS2 but he stopped when going to SS3 because he didn’t have the money to pay.
Lack of means to pay for his school had caused Bulama to miss the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE). His set moved on.
“Despite working hard, I still missed this year’s SSCE registration until next year I hope to register,” he said.
Bulama is living without any confidence that he can get the money together so he can study with his juniors next year. He regretted that those promises were not fulfilled for him to achieve his dream.
Mallum Daruljamar, a community head in Mafa, living in the same camp, said that the living conditions at the camp are incomparable with the expectations they had on the promises for better living conditions in time of displacement.
“Some of the promises made to us by politicians during campaigns are fulfilled while others are not.”
“As an IDP we haven’t gotten a favourable place to stay and we haven’t gotten back our original homes yet. Our call to the politicians is, let them fix insecurity so that we can return to our local government areas” Mallum said.
Saleh Zakki, living with his wife and five children in a tent at Muna camp, explained how access to food is difficult in the camp and how the unfulfilled politician’s promises worsened the situation for him and his family.
“We stay more than a month before we get five mudu of maize, four mudu of rice, and four mudu of beans to feed the seven of us. Many times we ended up begging relatives to assist us or otherwise live with hunger and debt.” Saleh said, referring to the measures of grain equivalent to just over a kilogram.
Saleh said this could not have happened to them if the promises had been fulfilled. Politicians visited them for campaigns during the 2019 general elections period and Saleh remembered everything they were told to convince them to vote for a particular political aspirant.
“The politicians have not fulfilled their promises. In 2019, they said if we elect them everyone will be happy and there will be peace. Unfortunately there is no peace up to now nor happiness.” Sale said.
He told HumAngle that in the same they were told to get a bank account number for money to be shared to them but they were only credited N4,000 only. “Since that N4,000 we have never received anything up to this day I am talking to you” Saleh said.
For the past three general elections that Nigeria has conducted, the IDPs living in host communities and IDP camps across the state travelled to their original home to cast their votes. A dangerous journey that they had to take in order to play their part to elect leaders that promised them security, education, and resettlement.
Many of the displaced people went to great lengths to vote, travelling back to places that are still quite insecure to cast their ballots. Many now expect their efforts, and the risks they take, to be matched by those in office.
Support Our Journalism
There are millions of ordinary people affected by conflict in Africa whose stories are missing in the mainstream media. HumAngle is determined to tell those challenging and under-reported stories, hoping that the people impacted by these conflicts will find the safety and security they deserve.
To ensure that we continue to provide public service coverage, we have a small favour to ask you. We want you to be part of our journalistic endeavour by contributing a token to us.
Your donation will further promote a robust, free, and independent media.Donate Here