We would have loved to say that it is with excitement that we bring you another one of YNaija’s citizenship stories but you’ll agree that it is extremely difficult to be excited about the plight of Nigerians in Benue State right now. There hasn’t been much cause for positive excitement in Nigeria’s food basket for close to two months since residents got sacked by the third and the worst flooding incidents in Benue’s recent history.
YNaija commissioned Sadiq Sarumi, a young photojournalist, to visit the sites of the wreckage – from the ultra-modern market in Makurdi which still houses displaced persons to the sodden parts of Benue still in recovery. But our goal was not to sensitise an already sore spot in the recovery process going on there. Rather, we hoped to take the opportunity to spotlight the resilience that we so often boast of as an inherent Nigerian trait.
What Sadiq Sarumi quickly found out during his one-week of journeying around Benue, speaking with survivors and photographing the scenes is that there is some unspoken consensus amongst our neighbours in Benue to pick things up from where they lay awash and rebuild from inside out. There is fear and uncertainity, especially about how long before this happens again. There is also fear of being exploited by the larger media (and even the government) for gains and publicity. But mostly, there is a determination to just carry on in spite of it all.
You will see the aftermath of the flood from the eyes of Moses, a bilingual hardworking family man who is gracefully tackling the challenge of fixing up his compound and its six buildings which were all inundated while his family slept on the night of August 26th.
Hopefully, you will be as inspired, as we are, by superwoman, Susan, who has found the strength to hold her family of seven together through this rough patch while her husband, Spencer focuses on completing his Criminology degree at the Open University in Makurdi.
And when, like me, you are able to look past the tears in Moses’ young son’s eyes, you will find the refreshing strength in Tam Okeda‘s strides and even dare to tap from Lydia Iwenger‘s commitment to reopen her business as soon as possible.
These are Nigerians who refuse to be weighed down by misfortune and we hope that once you identify bits of your own selves in the people in this 5-part series, we can then begin conversations about the roles we can all play in mounting enough pressure on the authorities to ensure that this event never happens again.
Through story series like We Survived Boko Haram, Herdsmen Hazards, Blood Money, Beyond Biafra, Biafra’s Forgotten Soldiers, Seven Bloody Days of Summer and much more, you have seen iterations of YNaija’s commitment to looking beyond the headlines, and telling the humane stories because we strongly believe that citizens matter.
Thank you for joining us on another one of such journeys through this 5-part Water in a Basket series.