Beyond Bombs and Bullets
Over 7 million people are food insecure in the terror-troubled North East region, particularly in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Beyond struggling to survive yet another terrorists’ attack, people in the area are faced with acute hunger. The level of humanitarian crisis is rapidly deepening with the insurgency having no end in sight. Nigeria has about 2 million displaced persons with at least 513 thousand people internally displaced in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Despite the Nigerian state maintaining that the Islamist group is substantially defeated, its menace has not stopped. There are occasional attacks on military outfits and the civilian population. The resulting consequences are enormous. With farming the major occupation in the region, farming seasons and patterns have been disrupted. Hitherto existing social amenities have been turned to piles of ruin. While the people are faced with menacing insurgents, the humanitarian problems that lurk around are unimaginable. On one hand, terrorism is terminating lives; on the other, hunger, diseases, lack of shelter is making existence impossible for people.
Rebuilding lives are also counterterrorism strategies. The Boko Haram insurgency is an ideological war that uses warped ideologies to pull followership and support. To be well-positioned to win the war on terror, the Nigerian state needs to gain the support of the locals. This support can be cultivated through policy and programmes that seek to cushion the harsh realities of the war on people. Massive targeted interventions on rebuilding lives through family and household empowerments schemes will aid the survival rate of people in the war region. Also, the capacity of the already overburdened IDP camps should be improved and made more habitable to cater to the surging needs of its occupants. Safety measures should also be enforced to ensure that IDPs do not face other forms of insecurity in places they seek refuge.
Government should committedly interface with donor agencies and development organisations to ensure equitable and targeted humanitarian interventions. In addition to these, the operations of agencies working in the region should be regulated to ensure they do not undermine the prospects of the Nigerian state in winning the war. Concomitantly, the Nigerian forces should also factor in the safety of aid workers in the region because they are also potential targets for the Jihadists. To effectively manage the humanitarian crisis, state and non-state actors collaborations are vital to the success of achieving peace, security and rebuilding livelihoods in war-torn areas.