Nigeria | 2022 | CBPF
North-east Nigeria. In north-east Nigeria, over 1.2 million people are at risk from unexploded devices and landmines. Children are at particular risk—they often mistake explosives for toys or valuable scrap metal.
Ali, 11, and his friends nearly lost their lives to landmines while selling fruit to support their families in Ngala, a garrison town where many displaced people live.
Ali explains: “We went to sell oranges, and some of our friends went searching for scrap metal. They picked up something from the ground. The thing looked more like the usual scrap metal they sell in the market.”
“Out of curiosity, we wanted to know what type of thing it was, so we hit it on the ground for the first time, and it didn’t explode. They hit it again, and nothing happened. Then we took one last blow, and the device exploded, killing and injuring so many of my friends. I lost my right leg that day.”
Hallmark Leadership Initiative/Youths Awaken Foundation receives funding from the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
NHF and UNMAS secured help for Idris, including a prosthetic leg at the International Committee of the Red Cross center, which has helped. Idris is still stigmatized by his peers due to his amputated leg and disability, and although he tries, he cannot physically do the same things other children can do.
The project also conducts risk education and surveys of explosive contamination. UNMAS, MAG and other humanitarian partners continue to raise awareness of the need to identify landmines and explosive ordnance, but this remains a challenge due to the volatile security situation.
Names have been changed.
Read the original story, written by Christine Cool, Adedeji Ademigbuji, and Austine Elegebe.
More information on the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund:
OCHA – POOLED FUNDS DATA HUB – By Country (unocha.org)