From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Women traders under the aegis of Forum of North East Market Women, have lamented the spate of insecurity in the North East region, warning that the situation would lead to food scarcity in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States respectively as farmers no long feel safe harvesting crops for sale neither do they feel comfortable transporting foodstuffs to the zone.
The group, National Coordinator, Hajiya Mariam Ina Bulama and National Secretary, Hajia Zainab Gadzama in a statement, Saturday, claimed that over 200 of their members have been raped, kidnapped and even killed by Boko Haram insurgents
To avert the situation, they appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to expedite action in the ongoing war against insurgents with a view to immediately ending the menace afflicting the zone.
They said: “We are out of business now. 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.
“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. 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 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.”
They added: “Worse still, some members of security agencies have taken over our core fish business. This act of hopelessness have led so many of our women to turn to drug addiction for temporary succour.
“No part of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, apart from their state capital cities are safe as at today. 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 ground. The ugly activities of the terrorists are underreported.
“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.
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 great danger to food security. As we issue this statement,there is extreme hunger in our land.
“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 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.
“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.”