Posted by News Express | 28 August 2021 | 538 times
Sixty-year-old Mustapha Lawan was a farmer, daily working on his farmland on the outskirts of Monguno, a restive town some 135 kilometres to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
He had purposed to proceed to his farm to bring grain stems and chaff, which he gathered for his cattle early in the morning when Boko Haram men fired the first shot, announcing their presence. That was in March 2015.
At first, residents of Monguno said they thought the firing was coming from a military base on the outskirts of the town. The unusual movement of people fleeing in different direction in the confusion that ensued, however informed them the insurgents were back again in the restive town, the third time in four months.
“We knew then we were in trouble again,” said Modu, one of Mustapha’s children who was also lucky to have escaped from the attackers.
He said people ran in different directions while the insurgents pursued them, firing sporadically before setting fire on houses.
He said some were hit by stray bullets. Others, especially men, were directly targeted by the insurgents who also grabbed some youths and pushed them into their vehicles. He said he didn’t know the direction his father Mustapha fled to as everybody ran for dear lives. At that point, Mustapha resumed his story, which he called an act of God.
“Everybody was running away from the town to escape as Boko Haram people were firing and killing people,” he told the reporter in Monguno. “Walahi, my survival was an act of Allah,” he further said.
He recounted how he ended up a cripple in his determination to escape being killed by Boko Haram. He fled the insurgents’ gun only to be knocked down by a vehicle running away from the rain of gunshots
“A vehicle tumbled and hit me. The accident affected my hip and I can’t walk again. It happened seven years ago,” he said.
Mustapha was 53 years old when the incident occurred. “I have been living in pain unable to move around since then. I was not born like this,” he disclosed.
Monguno, a garrisson town, has the highest number of internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), about 80,000 households- roughly 800,000 civilian population according to statistic provided by the member representing Monguno in the state House of Assembly, Hon Gadau Ali Monguno. As gateway to towns and communities in the northern part of Borno, civilians who fled their homes in four other local governments along the Lake Chad shores are taking refuge at Monguno. This development pushed up the population of displaced persons in the town.
For this reason, the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), a regional cooperation of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin Republic known as countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), organised a medical outreach for the civilian population in Monguno, location of the force’s Sector 3 Headquarters.
Aside treatment of malaria, dental cases, gastrointestinal disorder and provision of antenatal services to pregnant women, the MNJTF also donated wheelchairs and other physiotherapy supports to residents, including Mustapha Lawan.
He raised up his hands in thanking God and the military as soon as he sauntered into the wheel chair.
“Thank you so much, I am so happy that I will now move round and not be confined to a place. Honestly, I enjoy this gift,” he said excitedly as his son pushed him along the sandy road
Commander Sector 3, MNJTF and Hadin Kai, Monguno, Brig Gen Godwin Mutkut, told Saturday Sun the medical support was to build the recovery process of the displaced persons. He said the force chose Monguno because of the population after similar exercise was done in the northern parts of Cameroon and Chad
Also, Chief of Civil-Military Activities of the MNJTF, Col Antoine Hounkpe of the Benin Republic Army, said the medical outreach was supported by UK USA, France and others with $600, 000 US dollars; about N247 million.
(Adapted from Saturday Sun)
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