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IDP Diaries: “We Need More Food, Not Relocation To Our Homes”

In this personal account, Atta, a displaced person and mother of four children laments the reduction of food in the camp. She believes that feeding IDPs should be the top priority of the government and not relocating them to villages that are still plagued by attacks.

I don’t want to go back home, at least not now. It is not because I love this place so much. It is because I, Atta, know that we will suffer if we go back. The government is talking about relocating us but they should provide for us here instead. 

There is Boko Haram there and they will kill people; I don’t want to go back. If the place was peaceful, we would like to go back. Some of the people from there are even coming back. No one would refuse to go back if there was peace.

We had peace in Jarawa Sangaya where I am from. Life was simple and we went about planting our crops until Boko Haram took over our land and chased us away. Next, the soldiers took over and killed some of our men. Then they took us to Rann where we stayed for two years. 

The small peace in Rann soon vanished when the Boko Haram attacks became terrible. We moved to Gamboru and finally to Maiduguri. 

Let me tell you more about Rann. There were constant Boko Haram attacks and soon soldiers began to also attack the place with bombs. If attacks didn’t kill some, starvation did. There was no food and the children were suffering from hunger. We were lucky to get to Maiduguri and we have been here for two years now.

“There is Boko Haram there and they will kill people; I don’t want to go back. If the place is peaceful, we would like to go back. Instead of the government to keep asking us to go back home, where we may likely die, they should give us food.”

Living area of an IDP Camp in Maiduguri where Atta lives. HumAngle

The food situation is better but it is still not enough. We usually get one measure of rice and maize and three measures of beans for a month. How can this be enough to feed us? I have four children. The food here is better than nothing but it is not enough. I sell caps and gather firewood to make extra money but I can only afford to cook one meal a day for all of us. 

You know how I said the food was not enough? Well, it was reduced this month. We just noticed that the quantity reduced and there was no explanation given. They simply told us to bear with them as they really had to reduce our food portions. We only get two measures of beans now, instead of the usual three measures.

Instead of the government to keep asking us to go back home, where we may likely die, they should give us food. We need more food so our children can grow properly. We have starved before and we will starve again if they don’t provide enough food for us. 

(Additional reporting by Fatima Bukar and Yakura Kumshe)

This IDP account was translated by HumAngle for reading.

This is a multiple-part series; click here to read other IDP Diaries.

This report is a partnership between HumAngle Media and Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) under the ‘Accountability Journalism & Investigative Reporting for Deepening Democracy and Development’ project.

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Anita Eboigbe

Anita Eboigbe is a journalist and data analyst with nearly a decade of media and communications experience in Nigeria. She has expertise in human interest reporting, data reporting, interactive content development and media business management. Anita has written for several national and international publications with a focus on communication for development. She holds an honours degree in Mass Communication and several certifications in data analysis and data journalism.

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