West & Central Africa

News Commentary: Bono visits ‘Boko Haram Wives’

Rock star, Bono of U2, ambassador of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) visited the Dalori refugees in Borno State Nigeria. The camp currently has about 37,000 internally displaced people forced from their homes as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Bono and Dangote in Maiduguri airport
Bono and Dangote

Bono praised Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man who accompanied him on the visit, and the State Governor for their role in assisting the displaced people. Addressing the ex-Boko Haram ‘wives’, Bono said, “Let me say this to you girls and

bono addresses Boko Haram Wives
Bono Addresses “Boko Haram Wives”

women here; I have been to nearly all the capitals of the countries in the world including Abuja and Lagos; but I have never seen faces as beautiful as yours here in Borno State. I mean faces of women and girls who have seen what they should not have seen in life and yet they still look so beautiful and radiant”. This drew laughter and excitement among the traumatised women and young girls who have been stigmatised during their abduction by the Boko Haram Islamic terrorists.

The Borno State governor then named a major road in Maiduguri in honour of Mr Dangote.
Away from the pomp and pageantry and the excitement of having the rock star, Bono, and the richest man in Africa’s visit to the IDP camps, a quick assessment of the situation on the ground exposes the massive corruption and injustices going on in the states affected by the Boko Haram insurgencies. 
The governor has now revealed that , over N2.5 billion has been donated by the Dangote foundation alone. The Nigerian government has made donations to the IDP camps in the Northeastern Nigeria. This is not counting many other charitable and humanitarian organisations both within and outside Nigeria. Yet there have been reports of much suffering among the two million refugees. Up to one in four of the youngsters in the 110-bed centre are dying,” said Doctors Without Borders spokeswoman, Shaista Aziz.
Mr. Chaloka Beyani  of United Nations said, “Women and girls reportedly face coercion into providing sexual favours in order to obtain their food rations for themselves and their children or to move outside of camps.” 
Knowing that most of the rural communities devastated by the Islamic Boko Haram have been local Christian villages who have previously been denied State governments’ developmental projects and programmes, there are allegations that the assistance to the same communities are diverted by corrupt officials who have grabbed the opportunity to get rich from the predicaments of the poor, vulnerable and voiceless villagers.
The politics, photo ops and ceremonies are over. The victims of radical jihadists go back to their harsh deprived livelihood until another celebrity or politician shows up again. 
In Nigeria, the ‘fantastically’ corrupt, war on  corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari is like the war on Boko Haram. There is rhetoric but the terrorism both of corruption and Jihadism still do damage to innocent lives.