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Insurgency: Widows recount ordeal in North-East

As the Nigerian Red Cross Society begins its vulnerability and capacity assessment in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, where the federal government has declared state…

As the Nigerian Red Cross Society begins its vulnerability and capacity assessment in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, where the federal government has declared state of emergency, it is obvious that humanitarian assistance is urgently needed, as widows, orphans and fatherless children come to terms with the aftermath of insurgency.
Recounting her ordeal, Ya Gana Bukar, a 25-year-old widow whose husband was killed after being married for just 10 months, lamented, “I am still hoping to wake up from this dream. I have gone back to my parents, not knowing what to do.”
Ya Umara’am, who lost her husband, three out of her nine children and a relative in one of the attacks, also said, amidst tears, “I now engage in petty trading to take care of the surviving members of my family. It is difficult. I am not used to this. My husband was the sole bread- winner of the family.” Of her six remaining children, the eldest is 10 years old, and like many children in the North-East, none is in school.
Bawagana Bulama was married for eight years and has four children. Her story changed when her husband was shot dead by unknown gunmen, making her a widow at the age of 20. Their stories are the same, with the pain of loss, fear, uncertainty and a seemingly bleak future.
“A general famine looms next year as farming activities have been greatly disrupted, both by fear of attack and scanty rainfall,” Bulama Mali Gubio, chairman of the Borno Branch of the Nigerian Red Cross Society said.
Also speaking on the plight of the widows and their children, secretary-general of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Bello Hamman Diram said, “The humanitarian needs in the North-East are enormous and we have to scale up our activities to help meet those needs.
 “The financial support we received from the government of Japan has, however, enabled us to start the process of an in-depth humanitarian response in the North-East through the vulnerability and capacity assessment programme. But we need to do more; and we will do more and reach more people if we get increased support from other organisations, governments and individuals.”
 The Nigerian Red Cross Society is providing psychosocial support to women whose husbands were killed in the ongoing violence in the North-East.

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