“We travel miles along terrible roads to get healthcare,” Conflict survivors cry

3 min read
A villager struggles to cross a river to Nghar with his bike

Herdsmen attacks in Central Nigeria’s Nghar village in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area have subsided, but survivors are still not free from threats to life.

On December 18, 2019, government closedown all internally displaced persons camps in the State, forcing the villagers to return to their near rubbled homes.

Aside from few kilograms of grains and roofing sheets, not even those still nursing physical wounds and psychological trauma were given any support at the time of their home return.

A government school is partly destroyed near Nghar village

In most of the villages, government facilities, clinics included, were destroyed during the attacks in Gashish District, located Southwest of Barkin Ladi town.

None of these facilities was rebuilt, and villages like Nghar that had no clinic or access road were not listed for any government intervention.

This has made life a lot more complicated for the villagers whose nearly 90 kinsmen were killed in the June 23, 2018 attacks.

Irmiya Magit speaks for the villagers

Spokesman of the community, Mr. Irmiya Magit said, “I lost my son to acute typhoid and many more children were still facing threats from waterborne diseases until some private individuals donated borehole to us in May 2020.

“The borehole has reduced the rate of waterborne diseases but there are more problems. The nearest clinic to us is over two miles away and the road leading to it is so terrible that a sick person or pregnant woman needing emergency treatment could die before you get there.”

A humanitarian vehicle is stuck in mud on the way to Nghar village

According to Magit, the high casualties recorded in the village during the attacks were a result of the bad road.

“Before securities could get here, any damage could have been done,” he said.

A pregnant woman, Mrs. Justina Ibrahim said meeting her antenatal appointments is “extremely difficult” due to the bad nature of the road.

Justina trekked a mile to get water from a stream until a private group donated borehole to Nghar village

The shortest road to Nghar village from Barkin Ladi town is about 25kms. Only about 10kms from Barkin Ladi is tarred. The remaining distance is full of deadly potholes, unbridged rivers and dangerous meanders.

An only bridge linking the village with other communities through Kakuruk, a longer route of about 40miles has long collapsed, leaving the villagers with little or no alternatives.

An only bridge to Nghar collapsed decades ago and is still to be rebuilt

An Official of a nongovernmental organization, Avuncular Foundation, Mrs. Salamatu Taiba, during a recent humanitarian visit to the village wondered how people survive with the infrastructural condition of the village.

Salamatu donated grains, pasta, cooking oil and other foodstuffs to poor women in the community, but wished to network with other NGOs and philanthropists to attract more help for the villagers.

Salamatu Taiba
Avancular foundation donates foodstuffs to poor women in Nghar village

“People who have been through nasty experiences as the attacks of June 2018 require much more than we can see to recover. Much as we can’t do more than we have given today, we can’t turn a blind eye to the existing needs,” she said.

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