Hussaini Mafa is a resident of Maduganari ward of Maiduguri metropolis. Before now, he was a farmer and living a comfortable life with his wife and children in Baga town until Boko Haram insurgents capture Baga and the people fled to Maiduguri.
In a chat, Mafa, who farms onions and and used to make nothing less than 10 to 15 trucks at the end of the farming season, now helps to carry blocks as a labourer at a building site in Maiduguri.
Recalling the dark days that brought about his new life, Mafa said that, they fled alongside soldiers when Boko Haram invaded Baga town.
“I took nothing from my house aside what my wife took for the children for the journey. I saved five soldiers who ran to my house when they were overwhelmed by Boko Haram during the fight that forced us out of our homes. I gave them my cloths. They went and buried their uniforms and guns in the bush and joiedn me and my family for the journey on foot to Maiduguri, he said.
According to Mafa, they were very lucky to have been allowed passage by Boko Haram militants at that time because people from Cross-Kawa in Kukawa local government did not carry sticks to join the civilian JTF in fighting Boko Haram.
“That time, once you said, you were from Cross-Kawa, the insurgents would allow you to go. But they would kill anyone who is not from there, especially soldiers. I took a very high risk allowing the soldiers to follow us. I put my life and that of my family on the line for these soldiers. Luckily, we made it to town together. However, the horror of that day is still fresh in my mind.
” We saw soldiers dropping their guns and begging for their lives, yet Boko Haram slaughtered them. It was a horrific experience. The last time I visited Baga after the military recaptured the area, I found nothing in the rubble of the remains of what used to be my own house.
” At the time we fled, I left behind 7 cows, 19 herds of sheep, 82 bags of Maize, 60 bags of Beans, 49 bags of groundnut and over 300 bags of onions from my farm. This is how God has put my faith to test. I lost everything, but I still have my life and I am healthy,” he added.
Hussaini Mafa, told our correspondent that, if normalcy finally returns to the northern Borno, he was ready to go back and start life afresh.
He, however, said that the killing of fishermen recently in Baga has confirmed his fear of return and hope that the crises of Boko Haram will end soon as he loves to farm and is looking ahead for the day he would return to his farm again.