Not much has been known of the condition of life of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDSs) who have returned to their traditional homes in Michika and Madagali local government areas after they were liberated by the Nigerian Army. Most of the people staying in the city of Yola, the Adamawa State capital may not be in the picture of livelihood of people now living in these two local government areas which were worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency. The Scope reporter who reports for Roots News was at Michika and Madagali on Tuesday and Wednesday last week. Honestly your guess is as right the story.
Michika Local Government Council
The situation in Michika is liken to someone who went to the market and came back after two hours without recognizing his traditional house that he has been living in for (40) forty years. Under such circumstances, one has no option than to start a new life by building a new house. What a circle of life, someone may say.
That is the similar situation in Michika. Though the inhabitants move freely as they engage in activities of the day, but the socio-economic activities are not as they used to be. Most of the buildings that were destroyed by the insurgents have been receiving the desired attention from the government of the day and NGOs like Rescue in their programmes of Post Conflict initiatives coupled with the heavy presence of security personnel. While some of the inhabitants have seen it as next to impossibility for the area to go back to where and how it used to be in recent years, others embraced hope that Michika would go back to how it used to be in the year 2018.
Most of the Michika people who spoke to Roots News said that they ceased to be IDPs because normalcy has been restored to their place of origin and there is no need depending on their relatives in Yola, other places or the government at IDP camps when their areas are safe and set for them to return.
Most of them returned to Michika between April and May last year when the raining season was about to set in to enable them work on their farms and start a new life.
A cross section of those who spoke to The Scope were anonymous of the kind of life they live now.
“What kind of life we live? We live a normal life as any other person live in Yola. We have been helped by the State government, Federal government and some NGOs like Rescue. We thank God for their kind gesture. Why I say we live a normal life is because we could now go to the farm without the fear of the unknown. I worked on my farm and I had a bumper harvest of rice, maize and my beans and guinea corn farms are in good shape.
Look if you were here during that insurgency and you had seen things here, you will agree with me that we are now living a normal life. I came back last year April and could not recognize my own house that I had stayed for nearly forty (40) years. I had to build a new house and start a new life. Back to square one. But we thank God. Michika is now safe and those who are afraid to return should please come back home to see things for themselves”. Mr. Tizhe Vandi said.
A woman who I later got her name as Guva Drambi sharply cut in and said “If our land is really safe, why the heavy presence of these soldiers with their vehicles? Their presence makes me sick. You cannot see soldiers in this large number in Yola, is that not a clear indication that the place is not safe?
“Please our people should not be carried away by the peace we are now enjoying to the extent of forgetting themselves. Yes, I agree that we are now living a normal life and we could go to the farm, but I’m still scared. No where on earth is safe. Those Mallam Children (Boko Haram insurgents) are still attacking people in other places. There is no where on earth that is safe. If you boast of living in peace with one another, one “Hurricane Mathew” wind would come from nowhere and sweep the entire town.
“If Michika is fine, where is my husband? Where are my two children? Can you find them for me? unless I set my eyes on them, Michika will never be fine and safe”.
Mr. Zira Adamu gently cut in “Please media man, don’t listen to her. We really pity her condition for losing her husband and two children. She has been traumatized since the incident. That was what happened; many of our beloved ones are killed. But that was the story of Michika for yesterday.
“The Michika of today is different. The way you stay in Yola, that’s how we live here. We don’t bother ourselves about any possible attack; the Nigeria Army are here to protect us. We are security conscious, but we know we are safe. Yes, Michika is now safe”.
Madagali Local Government Council
The atmosphere in Gulak, the headquarters of Madagali is not yet clear just as some inhabitants still fear,because they were once or twice bitten by the snake. Some of them are still living with the mentality that anything could happen to them at any point in time.
While some of the dwellers are hoping that they are now free from attacks, the minds of others could not rest due to the recent attacks in the area and other neighbouring places. But the fact still stands that the area has been liberated and the inhabitants are the Madagali people.
“Though we believe that Boko Haram has been defeated, but they still come here unexpected and attack us. But the soldiers are always ready to protect us. During the insurgency time, they could come and stay here, but now they only appear and disappear in the twinkling of an eye leaving behind scores of dead. Let me be honest with you, I cannot tell you that Madagali is safe in toto. I’m not sure of that yet,” Mallam Hassan Mohammadu stated.
One farmer who just came back from his farm name Mr. Bulus Ishaku said that the people of Madagali are now enjoying peace as nothing hinders their day to day activities. According to him, he came back to Madagali last year May and it is now more than a year without a cause to leave again.
“As you can see, I am just coming back from my farm. People don’t go to farm when there is no peaceful co-existence; People don’t go to farm when there is crisis. Just go that way (pointing to a foot path) and you will see many people in their farms working without any cause for alarm.
“Of course, the federal government, state government and some NGOs have helped us a lot here. They distributed food, clothing and start rehabilitating our schools. Governor Umar Jibrilla has been coming here, top government officials do come here and we are included fully in the Post Conflict initiative of the government and the international community.
“In order to get rid of some of the strange devices planted by the insurgents and the call by the Adamawa state Ministry of Information and Strategy to report such strange devices, we have formed a group to check out those things. Not to touch them, they should just check and if they find something of that sort, they report to the military personnel”, Mr. Bulus revealed.
Another Madagali Elder name Baba Timothy Nasara said that the situation in Madagali now is conducive for anybody to come and stay, though he did not rule out the possible attack by the insurgents.
“Yes, there is peace here. Normalcy has been restored and businesses are picking up gradually. I believe in the next two (2) years, Madagali will be back to where it was. As you now see, people move from one place to another freely but are security conscious.
“We have started picking our pieces, and we have begun a new life. Madagali is our home town, and there is no place like home. I came back June last year and found my house destroyed, but things are now getting better. I now live a normal life.
“Of course, I believe that the insurgents are completely flushed out of Madagali. Though the tension in secured places still lingers on the minds of many, but we thank God for our lives. Our youths are doing their best by identifying and reporting to the military any strange objects”.ADVERTISEMENTADVERTISEMENT
Mrs. Ruth Samuel who also hails from Gulak was optimistic that activities would soon go back to normal very soon because the area is well armed by the security agencies, adding that people are now doing their businesses though with trauma in their hearts hoping that things would improve and normalcy would be restored in due course.
According to Ruth, “I have stayed here (Gulak) for over a year now. This is where I belong. When we were about to be attacked by the insurgents, my son took me to stay with him in Yola. But I decided to come back when normalcy has been returned.
“I cannot say I live the kind of life you live in Yola, because our sources of livelihood differ. You are now right inside my house and you see how things are. My husband died before the insurgency and left this house for me. But the insurgents destroyed it, but my only son who stays in Yola renovated the house.
“What I want the government to do for us? Okay, I often see government officials here every now and then. I think the government has its own plan to enhance our livelihood. I also learnt that there were series of meetings between the government officials and the elders of this area on possible working plan to rehabilitate Madagali.
“Well, I cannot say we are free completely from attacks by the insurgency considering where we are situated. Here (Madagali) was the base of the insurgents. They may not attack us physically as before, but they plant bombs here occasionally and that alone is a threat to our lives.
“But Madagali is now safe to some extent. We live a normal life, not as before. We now live in our homes and do activities as usual. Sorry, not as usual. But we thank God for everything”.
Since his coming on board as Administrator of Adamawa Press Limited (APL), publishers of The Scope newspaper, Mallam Jouro Saleh Buba and his management team have been making efforts to ensuring the state government-owned Print Media has been restored to its lost glory of development journalism and to ensure adequate coverage of the grassroots.
As part of the efforts towards achieving this vision and mission in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Strategy to strengthen the Organisation and fix it back to its normal shape, the APL Management Staff led by the Administrator on Tuesday last week toured the Mubi Emirate Council, Mubi North LG Secretariat, Adamawa State University, College of Health Technology and Federal Polytechnic Mubi to solicit partnership and support and to discuss on how best to-reopen the Mubi zonal office for adequate coverage of the activities at the second largest city of Adamawa State.
Receiving the APL Management when it paid homage at the palace, the Emir of Mubi, Alh. Abubakar Isa Ahmadu described the Media as a tool that influences people’s opinion and mentality, hence the need for it to shun witch-hunt reporting and feed the public with facts of what is happening in the society.
The Royal Father said that The Scope newspaper has a long standing history as the longest and only surviving state government-owned Print Media in the north-east of Nigeria, and he urged the management to work together in unity and harmony not only for the success of the organization, but the betterment of the people of Adamawa State.
The Royal father stated, “Journalism is not about witch-hunt reporting, but factual reporting because people believe whatever information that comes from the Media. The Media help people to know what is happening in places they have not been. “Okay now, in your front page of last edition, I can see Governor Muhammad Umaru Jibrilla and the Amir Hajj and Gangwari Ganye, Alh. Umaru Adamu Sanda. I was not there, but now I see the picture and I can read the story to know what happened. That is what the Media does. It takes you to places you have not been”.
While urging the Management Staff to work for state, the Royal Father charged the Print Media not to be left behind on the new trends of journalism practice where everything has gone digital.
Earlier in his submission, the APL Administrator, Mallam Jouro Saleh Buba appreciated the warm reception the Emirate Council often gives The Scope reporters on assignment in Mubi and he solicited the re-opening of Mubi Zonal Office for effective coverage of activities at the northern part of the State.
In his contribution, the Editor of The Scope, Mr. Patrick Anyom described the Emirate Councils in the state as the most vital instrument that promotes and projects the norms and values of the society, hence the need to open a column, Ad Emirate News to focus on the personalities and activities of the Emirate Councils.
At the Mubi North LG Secretariat, the Executive Chairman, Hon. Ahmed Musa Bello (Ajayi) while hosting the visiting APL management, assured them of partnership and adequate support to ensure Mubi is well covered in The Scope newspaper.
The Executive Chairman, who described information as vital to the development of any society, said re-opening of The Scope zonal office in Mubi is not an option, but a necessity for the betterment of the people of Mubi.
Earlier, the APL Administrator said The Scope is now focusing on development journalism and covering activities at the grassroots is one of the priorities, but that could not be done effectively without the support and cooperation of the Mubi LGC.
“We try to pay less attention to national and international issues because people could get them on the internet. But you cannot get news from the rural areas most of the time on the social media. And those places are where news are, that is why we want to focus on the grassroots that have been neglected and discarded by the social media and report to our people in the city what is happening there”,ADVERTISEMENT
Playing host to the APL management in his office at the Adamawa State University Mubi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Mohammed Toungos was impressed by the visit and commended the content and quality of The Scope editions of recent as he assured APL of partnership to enable The Scope promote and protect the good image of the institution.
The DVC said. “We in this institution respect The Scope newspaper because we know the role it is playing in making the establishment of the University possible. That’s why whenever we want to advertise in print media, we always consider The Scope newspaper first before any national dailies”.
APL Administrator, Mallam Jouro Saleh Buba told the DVC that the paper is now effectively circulated in States such as Taraba, Gombe, Borno, Bauchi, Yobe and the FCT Abuja and it covers the entire twenty-one (21) local government areas of Adamawa State.
Jouro said that the company is now facing some challenges of high cost of printing materials and there is need to lean on institution like the Adamawa State University for patronage, partnership and cooperation.
In his remarks, the APL Production Manager, Danjuma Buba said that plans have reached top gear to put the paper on-line in order to move with the new trends of technology in journalism, adding that the paper is undergoing a lot of changes from the editorial content to printing quality.
At the College of Health Technology, the Provost, Mr. Nuhu I. Musa was delighted with the visit where he said APL has made history as the first media organization to visit the college at the management level. “The Scope has some of the best writers in Nigeria. I have been reading your columns, the Tough Issues by Comrade Ahmad Sajoh, My Word by Patrick Anyom and Reflections by Isuwa Ishaku. These are good columns that could help our people. And as health care workers, we will partner and collaborate with APL for the benefit of all the people of Adamawa State,” the Provost stated.
The APL Administrator, Mallam Jauro Buba said that the College would play a vital role in contributing to the dream of how The Scope would want to look like in terms of rich content and quality production, as he urged the College to take advantage of The Scope by publishing its activities.
The Editor of the paper, Mr. Patrick Anyom stated that The Scope is the only state government-owned media that gives authentic information of happenings in Adamawa state. it is the only documented paper which serves as reference any time any day, adding that that gives The Scope an upper hand over the electronic media.
In his submission, the Head of Administration APL, Mallam Lawan Madi stressed the need for the College to patronize The Scope and publicize its activities for the benefit and betterment of not only the College, but to the people of Adamawa State as a whole.
The APL Management Staff who formed the entourage include the Administrator, Mallam Jauro Saleh Buba, the Editor, Mr. Patrick Anyom, the HOA, Mallam Lawan Madi, the Accountant, Mrs Friya Aminu and Mr. Laban Masinja for Commercial Manager.