Legendary afrobeat icon, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, on Monday urged his fellow celebrities and their fans to raise awareness on the social media and pressure the government in support of displaced individuals striving for survival in northeast Nigeria.
The Afrobeat icon made the call after his visit to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state while accompanying the International Rescue Committee (IRC) on visits to local communities hosting the displaced persons.
He stated that there is still much to be done to help the state and displaced individuals before they can return to normal lives.
“People need to have a sense of the reality in the northeast from people walking around hungry to mothers with malnourished children.
“I hope more celebrities will visit and engage with their fans after then more people will see what is going on, share it on social media, and put pressure on the government to do more.
“Boko Haram’s insurgency has killed about 15,000 people and forced more than two million to flee their homes since 2009.
“The Nigerian army, backed up by neighbors, has retaken most areas held by the Islamist militants. Yet the jihadist group has stepped up attacks and suicide bombings in the past few weeks as the end of the rainy season facilitates movements in the bush.” Kuti said.
While clamoring for support for the people in the northeast, especially youth who cannot live their normal lives, he commended the local families of their generosity towards displaced persons by the insurgency.
“It is heartening to see so many displaced people welcomed into the homes of local families and community elders offering to give up land to displaced for farming.
“In Maiduguri, which has seen its population almost triple to five million in recent years, there are signs a sense of normality is gradually returning to the city.
“The curfew has been pushed back to 10pm, from 6 pm, and clubs are packed and pulsating as DJs play the tunes of artists like Kuti and his late father Fela, the 1970s Afrobeat pioneer.
“Yet there is still much to be done, and many people to help, before Maiduguri can be considered back to normal.
“There are still so many young people who are displaced, who have lost their parents, who cannot go home yet. They cannot party, and it is them we must worry about the most.”