Thousands of people in northeastern and central Nigeria who have been driven from their homes by Islamist militants are now facing a lack of food. Last year, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) provided food to around 14,500 people in need in these areas of Nigeria.
In the northeast, CSI works with the diocese of Maiduguri to help victims of attacks by the Boko Haram terror group. In central Nigeria it partners with the diocese of Kafanchan as well as with the Emancipation Center for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN) to ease the plight of survivors of attacks by Fulani Islamists. Most of those in need are Christians.
According to the diocese of Kafanchan, the number of people living in poverty has soared since President Muhammadu Buhari took power in 2015 and millions of Nigerians do not have enough to eat. In the northeast, food supplies are depleted in the summer months and food prices rise, our local partners say.
Rise In Islamist attacks
The worsening hunger crisis is also linked to the rise in Islamist attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani extremists, says Solomon Dalyop Mwantiri of ECCVN.
The daily killings and destruction of property have left many people with no means of survival, adds the diocese of Kafanchan. Many women have been widowed and children left fatherless in these attacks, leaving them dependent on outside help.
Most of the displaced are farmers whose fields have been invaded by Fulani herdsmen who allow their cattle to trample the crops into the ground. Says Mwantiri, “Over 1,000 farms have been destroyed in the last two years, exacerbating the looming hunger crisis among local Christians”.
CSI is working with the two dioceses and ECCVN to provide food and relief supplies to those displaced and suffering hunger. Last year close to 1,000 people were recipients of CSI food aid in Maiduguri, and in Kafanchan and Plateau more than 13,500 received food assistance, comprising rice, salt, maize, beans, cereals, sugar and cooking oil.
Help for grieving widower
One of the recipients of CSI food aid last year is Bala Joseph from Kauru in southern Kaduna whose village was attacked by Fulani extremists one night in December 2020.
“When my wife heard the shots, she hid with our three children”, recalls the 45-year-old. But the attackers entered the house, discovered Bala’s wife and children, shot them and set the house on fire. “My wife was pregnant with our fourth child”, Bala adds, weeping. Despite his terrible loss, he is determined not to give up. “I am thankful to CSI for the food aid and support”, he says.