ICC Note: When Garba Buzu witnessed the children of Boko Haram victims begging and foraging for food on the streets, he knew he had to act. Buzu, a Nigerian real estate agent, decided to open up a portion of his properties to the victims of Boko Haram so that they would have a place to live. Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group, has terrorized Nigeria for the past seven years, killing hundreds of people. Boko Haram is especially known for targeting Christians.
6/10/2016 Nigeria (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Nigerian businessman Garba Buzu noticed a significant increase in the number of children begging and foraging for food on the streets of Maiduguri, capital of Borno state in northeast Nigeria, he knew he had to act.
Maiduguri has been inundated in the past three years by people fleeing their homes and Boko Haram militants, sending the city’s population surging to two million from about 600,000 and putting pressure on housing, health, food, and water supplies.
More than 15,000 people have been killed and 2 million displaced in Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon during the Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency, with Maiduguri in the heart of Boko Haram territory most badly affected.
Buzu, a real estate entrepreneur, said witnessing the plight of these children prompted him to throw open the gates to his 2,000-home estate – even though his philanthropic work in the past has prompted death threats from the Islamist militants.
“They can stay for as long as they need to .. both Muslims and Christians are welcome,” Buzu, 77, a Muslim, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview in his home in the Pompomari area of Maiduguri.