What stood out for me in the interview with Borno State elder statesman Alhaji Ibrahim Bunu on the plights of Nigerians, especially the nursing mothers and pregnant women (who fled their homes due to the insurgency by the Boko Haram militants in North East Nigeria) at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps was this gory image of a mother who was hysterically running away from these evil men, supposedly holding onto her child fiercely in terror on the bush path. Only to pause for a while to catch her breath and to realise in amazement that she was only holding her child’s arm all along! In her trepidation and panic, she had grabbed the child so inflexibly in order to save him from being attacked and didn’t realise she had pulled the child’s arm out of its socket, leaving her object of love and concern behind. Now, the dilemma is how or where would she go back to start looking for the remains of the child when she hardly can tell how long she has been running or where she was at that point in time?
Only God knows what distress and agony was meted out to these women. In crises situations like wars and unrest, the most hit people are always women and children. Thus the reason why SI Magazine crew found it pertinent to zoom their lenses on the suffering of these set of people who are also the most vulnerable. To share in their pain and make others know what they are going through.
A visit to these camps illustrated a tiny glimpse of what their daily lives are characterized. Their stories are heartrending. It would pull at your heartstrings when you watch the documentary.
The term motherhood means different things to different people and it wouldn’t be fair to give a universal definition to it. “It is not uncommon to generalize the concept of ‘motherhood’ and lump everyone who upholds a single criterion – being a mum – into one group. But, really, motherhood affects us all in one way or another and that way is as unique as the pattern of curves and ridges on a fingertip” Doublexscience
These women have gone through all kinds of maternal anguish and most of the babies have experienced fetal distress. Having babies in unsanitary conditions or raising these children in this same tormenting conditions isn’t what anyone would bargain for. No child should go through this.
The mothers look on forlornly watching the days go by; not knowing when their children would be able to get better care or go back to school. They wonder at how long the whole madness would last so that they can have their lives back. Most of them expressed their desire to go back home.
Right now most of these pregnant women and nursing mothers do not have access to medical personnel; doctors or midwife who would identify signs of their fetal conditions or observe if their baby is unwell.
Motherhood is stressful and it is a distressing period of a woman’s life even when she’s in her comfort zone and surrounded by all the luxurious amenities that life can offer. To be in a displaced habitat is the most upsetting condition any woman can find herself. Thus, there’s an innate need and a crave for all these women in maternity situations to go back home and WE at SI Magazine plead to the general public and the government to please give a hand to these people and help make their lives easier. Let’s show a little kindness and concern to these people by visiting and providing no matter how little. The pregnant women need medical care and food to keep them going.
We also appeal to the Government of these communities and the Government of Borno State to kindly start designing an effective work plan that would enable easy transition back to their homes. They need psychologists or therapists that would help them handle the traumas they have experienced and endured.
Let’s not leave all these to the Government only. Let’s join hands as a people and put a uniting front to help these Nigerians, after all they never asked for the evil that befell them and it could have happen to anyone…
Author: Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya