Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has endured decades of political instability and economic inequality, and of recent suffered more from horrific attacks by Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups. According to UNHCR, over 2.5 million people have been displaced since the onset of the Boko Haram crisis in 2013. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reports that only a mere 8% of this displaced population lives in official camps and receives government support. Majority of the people living at the displaced people’s camps are women and children and they are subjected to sexual violence and degrading human conditions.
Labarin Aisha is a radio drama of a young girl’s life in an IDP camp. Aisha had a bright and promising future ahead of her, but was struck by tragedy at the age of 12 and everything that seemed promising to her changed. Her bright future became a mere day dream when her father died and she had to take up hawking to support her ill mother. The drama is a series of stories detailing the various conflicts Aisha’s family goes through on a daily basis which include chronic poverty, lack of access to healthcare, education, insecurity and vulnerability; which are all scenarios leading to radicalization. In the face of all these adversities, a bomb blast occurred in her hometown which made Aisha and her mother flee and seek refuge in an IDP camp.
The story continues in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp where the camp residents are still generally disillusioned and deprived due to the antics of the camp management. The story highlights the struggles that the Internally Displaced Persons go through, not only in the hands of the insurgents but also in the hands of the camp management - these include teenage pregnancy, high handedness, discriminatory practices, uneven distribution of resources and sometimes the breakdown of law and order. Even within the camps, there are possibilities of recruitment and radicalization.
The resilience in the average person in Northern Nigeria is shown in the drama through the various trials and tribulations that the characters go through and the attendant psychological trauma they also confront. Despite all these, there is still hope for a better tomorrow. Labarin Aisha is a story of resilience, determination and strong will in the face of daunting odds.