TAP interviewed Yusufu, a young civil servant from Damaturu, about his experience living under the State of Emergency in Yobe State. In this interview, he talks about his experienced with displacement as a result of the mass killings in the rural areas, and explains why he thinks the security forces are lacking the capacity to fight the insurgents. He also talks about lack of assistance from government, and why he thinks the insurgents are targeting the villages they attack.
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What can you say about the spate of violence that is happening in the Northern States?
Well, with regards to the insurgency, I can give you some answers.
With regards to what we are witnessing these days, what can you say are the causes of the recurrent Insurgency?
You mean the cause of the insurgency that led to the killing of innocent lives and destruction of properties? Well, I cannot actually ascertain or narrate the cause of the menace.
How can you describe the condition of the people that have been affected by the insurgency?
Peoples’ lives have been seriously and negatively affected. In fact, as I speak to you now, I have more than twenty refugees seeking refuge in my house as a result of this insurgency. I swear to you, I have more than 20 refugees in my house. Our villagers can no longer go to their farms and above all, people’s means of livelihood have been severed.
So far, have you receive any form of assistance or relief from the authorities concerned?
Our people are yet to receive any form of assistance from the authorities concerned. Our people are still in Damaturu at Anguwan Gunje for more than four months now to be precise in anticipation of relief or assistance from the concerned authorities, and so far, they are yet to receive any of such assistance. I must admit here that few days ago, some people came and collected our names and our contact details inclusive of our phone numbers and left. We have written to the authorities several times but to no avail.
Is the heavy presence of the Police and the military personnel helping you in any way?
To be frank, they are helping us. But as you know, the magnitude of the insurgency as at now is beyond their capacity.
Are the insurgents giving you prior notice before carrying out their attacks?
Yes, most at times, especially in the villages, they do give notice prior to their attacks and if they strike, they will burn houses, valuables, kill and displace the villagers. But within the State Capital, due to the heavy presence of security personnel, I can say that we are safe for now.
The State of Emergency that was enforced, is it yielding any positive outcome?
Sincerely speaking, it is not yielding any positive result. In fact, it is of no use to us. The emergency rule took effect about a year ago, but up to today, the insurgency is still escalating. If you live in Damaturu for instance and you decide to move down to places like Yandudori up to Dambao, you will discover that more than twenty villages and towns have been deserted with thousands of villagers forced to flee their homes.
You said the security operatives are doing their best. Are you satisfied with their stay so far? Do you have peace of mind with their presence?
Yes, they are working hard, to God be the Glory, and they are doing their best. I think one major problem with our security operatives is that they are not properly commanded. That is why we are not winning the war on insurgency.
It looks like you are staying in the city, but do you think that the insurgents are selective in carrying out their notorious attacks on nearby villages?
Well, I cannot categorically say yes to this question, but I know that most at times, whenever they seek for assistance from the villagers, if they resist and turn down their offer, they will attack them and burn their houses and kill as many people as they can.
There are insinuations from some quarters that people especially the youth are still joining the sect despite all the atrocities they have committed. What do you think are the reasons behind this move?
I think who ever join the sect is destined to do so. But I think there is no reasonable human being that will join such a sect. I repeat, no reasonable and responsible human being will join these misguided people.
Is the Boko Haram sect assisting people in any way?
There is nothing good that has ever come out from them. These are people that kill innocent people and rob them of their means of livelihood.