Bitrus Yakubu can afford to smile, his story is perhaps the few happy ones that can be found at displacement camps in Nigeria’s Maiduguri region. After fleeing a Boko Haram attack he found his pregnant wife. The two seem to have made a home here for their twins….going back to their village in Baga is not an option for Bitrus.
“If no measures are taken, how can I go back? How can I take myself to death? Only when (Baga) is secure and everything has been put back in place, that’s when we will go back.” Bitrus Yakubu, Internally displaced person
Those who did go back to their homes only found destruction and danger
” If our people return with Boko Haram everywhere in my village, how do we get in? Our village is full of Boko Haram.” Ramatu John, Internally displaced person
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari claims Boko Haram has been technically beaten, but many areas are still at the mercy of the militants.
“They don’t want to go home. The reason they don’t want to go home because their house has been burnt. They don’t have anything… Some they left and they came back due to lack of food, so they have come back to the camp again.” Elizabeth Ntiza, volunteer
Boko Haram attacks have left at least 17,000 dead and more than 2.6 million people displaced within Nigeria. The country needs about a billion dollars for reconstruction and to resettle the displaced. But with a plummeting oil price leaving government coffers dry, even more challenges lie ahead.