Market women in the North East under the aegis of Forum of North East Market Women said they have been thrown out of business as a result of the festering activities of Boko Haram insurgents in the region.
To this end, the women who claimed that over 200 of their members have been kidnapped, raped, and sometimes killed by insurgents, have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite action in the ongoing war against insurgents with a view to immediately ending the menace even as they hailed the president for his priority attention to the war against the adversaries.
In a statement signed on Saturday in Abuja, while lamenting the activities of Boko Haram in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, claimed that “our sources of livelihood have been taken away as a result of the insurgency.”
The forum, in the statement signed by its National Chairperson, Hajiya Mariam Ina Bulama and National Secretary, Hajia Zainab Gadzama, respectively, while stating that, “We are out of business now”, regretted that: “As it stands today, we are finding it difficult to survive as a result of activities of insurgents.”
“We are a group of active market women from the six states that constitute the North East.
“We issue this statement to express our plight as market women in the North East, especially in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states as a result of Boko Haram and other security challenges. We have been thrown out of business and our means of livelihood by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents in our region.
“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent actions that will end this long-suffering in our land, especially as it affects the women, the group said.
Claiming that: “We have lost almost all our values as women in the North East, our sources of livelihood have been taken away as a result of the insurgency”, the Forum of North East Market Women insisted that: “We are out of business and as it stands today, we are finding it difficult to survive as a result of activities of insurgents.”
“It is regrettable that all the roads leading to our local markets where we get our food items from have been blocked by insurgents,” the group lamented.
According to the forum, “The situation has assumed an alarming dimension since January 2021, with more than 200 or more of our members kidnapped, raped, and even sometimes killed on their way to the local markets in search of daily bread.”
“We have been going through these pains for some time now but the dimension the insurgency has taken from January to date is extremely alarming,” the group said.
The forum claimed that all roads to communities are blocked following heightened tensions in the region causing them to abandon their trade, security agents have also taken over their fishing business.
“Worse still, some members of security agencies have taken over our core fish business. This act of hopelessness has led so many of our women to turn to drug addiction for temporary succor,” it said.
The group claimed that: “No part of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa, apart from their state capital cities are safe as of today”, adding: “And we wonder why the media is silent about the atrocities being carried out here by the terrorists.”
” We strongly feel that some powerful forces in charge of security in the North East are deliberately compromising in the war against the adversaries.
“We also believe that these powerful forces may have influenced the media in the reportage of activities of this region because the reports coming out from here are far from the real situation on the ground. The ugly activities of the terrorists are underreported,” the group claimed.
It alleged that: “It is regrettable that some security agents instead of doing the work that brought them to North East, have now taken over our trade of fish and other items leaving us at the mercy of hunger and Boko Haram.”
According to the Forum of North East Market Women,” We cannot do otherwise because there is no road to access our villages anymore..”
“All the local roads are not safe for passage, this clearly poses a great danger to food security. As we issue this statement, there is extreme hunger in our land,” it said.
While stating that market women displaced from their businesses have taken to drugs for succour, the group said: “While we are not trying to justify drug abuse, however, it is important to state that our women are now drug addicts and until something is done fast to secure our communities and rehabilitate women in the North East, we may face a bigger problem than insurgents in the future.”
” Women are mothers and we need to secure their future with every seriousness.
“It is on this note that we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency put measures in place that will urgently secure our communities so that farmers can go back to their farms and we can resume our trading activities, the security agencies here should be committed to their duties,” it said.
“We also wish to kindly appeal to the federal and state governments to urgently initiate programmes that will rehabilitate victims of drug abuse especially women in the North East,” it further said.