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Sokoto, Zamfara: The hard realities of being a person with disability and displaced in Northwest Nigeria

As Nigeria’s Northwest grapples with insecurity, over 500,000 Nigerians have been forced to flee their homes. When violence breaks out, vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities bear the heaviest brunt. In this report, The ICIR’s Nurudeen Akewushola travelled to Sokoto and Zamfara to document the stories of being disabled and displaced.

When terrorists invaded Kwanar Maje village in Zamfara one deadly evening in 2021, everyone scampered for safety. Some hid in their farmland, some hopped into the forest. 30-year-old Lawal Musa, a person with disability also ran for his life as he stumbled intermittently while wobbling in the bush.

Even though Lawal luckily escaped, he came back to meet the lifeless body of his father, who had been gruesomely murdered by the terrorists. Traumatised and left on his own, Lawal now begs to make ends meet at Anka IDP camp following his displacement from his former village.

“We were chased from our village by bandits because they were killing people incessantly, but I was lucky to escape by God’s grace.

“The saddest moment of my life is that my father was killed by the terrorists,” Lawal said, his voice breaking intermittently.

Aside from the fact that Lawal has to contend with being disabled, he also battles with epilepsy with no means to access health care services. Amidst cold and harmattan seasons, Lawal sleeps on a bare floor, in the open.

Lawal is one of the people with disabilities whose lives were turned upside following terrorist attacks in Nigeria’s Northwest.

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