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Celebration as peace festival returns to Dikwa after being suspended for years because of the insurgency

22 December 2022
Reading time: 3 minutes

For the first time in years, hunters and vigilantes in the Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State held a peace festival for residents and visitors from other places on Sunday, December 18.

It used to be an annual event but it was suspended because of the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād (JAS) insurgency in the region.

The Dikwa Hunters’ Group and vigilantes decided it was time to hold the event again and bring joy, happiness and fun to Dikwa town residents and friends and family from other places. Some came all the way from Chad and Cameroon.

Ba Masa, a resident of Dikwa, said: “For the past seven to eight years the peace festival was not held because of the insecurity caused by the insurgency, which made people too afraid to go out and celebrate. And, in fact, there was no peace to celebrate.

“We are so happy that we could hold the event this year. There was so much fun and joy. We had forgotten how to celebrate.”

Gana Bukar said: “It was a new thing for me because this was the first time I had experienced it. I had heard a lot about the festival but people told me it was suspended because of the destabilisation in Dikwa. Now it shows that peace has returned and it is time to celebrate again.”

Babagana Ali, the chairman of the Dikwa Hunters’ Group, said: “The peace festival used to be celebrated annually until the insurgency put a stop to it. But, now there is relative peace in the area, we decided to hold the festival again. It was organised by the local hunters and vigilantes to celebrate peace, a good harvest and to encourage community development.

“Blind people and those with other disabilities also took part in the festival, highlighting their special talents and playing games.

“There were many guests from Bama and different parts of Borno State. Even people from Chad and Cameroon came here to celebrate. People were joyful and thankful. It was a really happy festival.

“The festival allows residents and outsiders to share, interact and learn from those with different cultures. It is truly a peaceful festival that brings out the best in everyone.”

Ali said the festival gave everyone a chance to educate and empower one another and to celebrate peace after so many years of tragedy, fear and hopelessness.

“Young children who were brought up during the Boko Haram [JAS] insurgency and survived can now see what the community used to do before our peace was shattered and taken away. We hope the new peace we are enjoying now will last forever,” he said.


About the author

Aisha Sd Jamal