While families dressed in their finery and feted with each other on New Year’s day 2018, a number of communities in Benue could only mourn as they were ushered into the New Year with violence and death. The story of the New Year’s Day Massacre in Benue has stayed a staple in the Nigerian news cycle, our focus directed squarely to the principal players in government and their actions and inaction. But all too often we forget that these catastrophic events have real victims, ordinary people whose lives are irreversibly changed and have to live with the rippling consequences of a single day’s events.
With all the propaganda around the Benue Massacre, we forget that 100 people died that day, 100 people who were all parts of much larger family units, many of whom were breadwinners. But even if their economic and social value to their communities are ignored, we cannot overlook their humanity and the how that was taken from them. This is why YNaija commissioned Patrick Ejike Egwu to visit the heart of these communities to document the aftermath of a crisis and the true cost of unprovoked violence on Nigeria’s poorest. The stories he found are disheartening but important to the cause, and we publish them as a part series, in line with our YNaija citizenship series, in the hopes that it will move all of us to consider the human cost of ethnic and economically driven conflict and act in the ways that are available to us.
With series like We Survived Boko Haram, Herdsmen Hazards, Blood Money, Beyond Biafra, Biafra’s Forgotten Soldiers, Seven Bloody Days of Summer, So you think you know Lagos and much more, we have shown a track record of bringing human angle stories that matter to the citizens.
Because we believe these stories should be told, we ask that you hear from “The Real Victims of the Benue Massacre”.