Nigeria’s Breaking Point

Letter from Maiduguri

The Bakassi Camp for internally displace people in Maiduguri, Nigeria, March 8, 2016. Reuters

Over the last seven years, millions of weary travellers have arrived in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, fleeing war in Nigeria’s ravaged northeast. Bulama Gubio, the chairman of a task force set up to provide food to the internally displaced and a member of the Borno Elder’s Forum, told me point blank, “If you are not able to make it to Maiduguri, you are a dead person.” His warning is no exaggeration. Boko Haram’s campaign of terror has uprooted entire communities and claimed more than 50,000 lives. 

Until an attack by Boko Haram in early January, Maiduguri had seemed to be the only safe harbor in the entire region. And now, it too is showing cracks. Every spare building in the city has been reconstituted as a settlement for the displaced, yet space is hard to come by in the official camps, which are lined with canvas

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