Magdalene Kyado, 55, sat weakly and dejected in the dilapidated room given to her by the chief of Imyande Adamu, Zaki Udey. The last time she felt this way was when her husband was killed eight years ago.
He had gone to the farm when he was intercepted and killed by unknown persons. Magdalene and her husband had seven children together until his death. Now she takes care of them alone. But the attack of May 21, 2021 on villages in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State, North-central Nigeria, left her with a scar that constantly reminds her of how hard life is.
Magdalene shivered as she talked about life’s uncertainty. “It is becoming unbearable day by day for me to cope. Thank God for Zaki Udey who gave us this place to lay our heads. But here we sometimes wish we could have just died and rested,” she said.
“For eight years we have suffered to raise these children. Look at where we found ourselves.”
They once had a good life
Magdalene is a farmer and her children had been supportive back when things were normal. “Sometimes we make up to 10 bags of groundnuts in a year. Each bag is about N15,000 but now it is over N50,000,” she explains. “The attacks came during the farming season and we couldn’t farm therefore we live with hunger.”
Like Magdalene, there is Atachia Abraham, 76, a father of 10 who was a successful livestock farmer but now waits for food aid. “What more can I say, sometimes they give us (food) and sometimes they don’t. I can’t go back to that village because of the food,” he said.
“I know who I was but the story is not the same any longer. I used to have about 10 to 20 bags of groundnuts annually amounting to N300,000 when a bag goes for N15,000 but our farms are no longer safe. I have tried on several occasions to get to my community in search of food but the presence of these (criminal) herders always repelled me. They are always there with heavy ammunition waiting for who to kill.”
Ikese Terna presumed Utangir to be safe when he went searching for food. His family had been without for two days and he could not stay and watch his family die. He did not return alive.
Once a resident, Godwin Terfa Ikyo, told HumAngle that farmers who have been killed in separate attacks in Utange ward between June 2021 and now are over 20.
He added: “Sometimes we get tired of hunger, and when looking for food, many people are intercepted and killed.”
Gabriel Tersue Kyado, 24, is a resident of Imyande Adamu. He is a 200 level student of the Federal University of Calabar in affiliation with the College of Education, Katsina-Ala, Benue State. His tuition fee is N100,000 per annum and his source of income was from the farm. But now he is displaced alongside his family.
Before the chaos, he could raise approximately N500,000 a year from his groundnut farm but the attack took a toll on him. He now lives at the mercy of other students in school.
“As I speak, raising my tuition fees is a problem. I really do not want to drop out of school but I can’t raise this money as it stands. To feed, I depend on my coursemates who are kind enough to help me.”
Alfred Imoter yooso, 38, is a 300 level student of the Tanzania University, Umunya. He depends on farming for his schooling too.
“I’m not sure of what the future holds but all my channels of making money have been blocked,” he said.
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