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For displaced people in Abuja, a bleak future as govt denies they are IDPs

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Zara Mohammed was 22 when she and her family fled from a Boko Haram attack with little else than the clothes on their backs.

Leaving the insecurity of Borno State behind, they made their way to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to seek refuge in the Durumi settlement for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Having fled from the reaches of the deadly fanatical group, Mrs Mohammed was glad to be able to offer her children a safe place to live, never imagining that they would still be living there six years later.

Sitting in the shade of a donated maternity ward, Mrs Mohammed told PREMIUM TIMES that she can no longer bear the dependence that living in Durumi has subjugated her to:

“I am tired of living here. I stay here because I have no choice,” she said despairingly.

Prior to leaving her local government area of Bama, Mrs Mohammed’s livelihood, like that of so many others in the North-East, depended on tilling the land.

Today, a lack of financial means has left her unable to afford the land she needs to farm. Instead, the family of five live off the goodwill of others and on the little that Mrs Mohammed’s husband can provide by selling tea.

“You cannot keep giving someone fish, but not teaching them how to fish,” the former teacher said in reference to living on handouts.

If the family were to have a small plot of land on which to farm, Mrs Mohammed believes they could regain their independence.

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