An agriculture project of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) which has received funding from the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF), has been lost in the overtaking of EYN headquarters by Boko Haram insurgents.
The manager of the project reported the loss in an e-mail to Jeffrey S. Boshart, who manages the GFCF for the Church of the Brethren. His e-mail told the story of how he and his family fled from Boko Haram, taking with them Bible college students and children from other families. (See excerpts from his e-mail below. Identifying names and locations have been omitted as a measure of protection for the manager and his family).
In more news from Nigeria, EYN president Samuel Dante Dali was one of the Nigerian Christian leaders who signed a joint statement on the Boko Haram insurgency. As reported by Nigerian news the statement said, in part, “The Christian leaders are worried over the recent takeover of six local governments in Adamawa State namely; Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, Mubi South, and parts of Hong and Maiha Local Governments by the insurgents. We are also worried that the Christians are been systematically eliminated by members of the Boko Haram Islamic extremists. We are forced to believe that the whole attack is a deliberate plan to exterminate Christians living in the affected areas.” Read the report on the statement from the “Premium Times” at www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/170999-boko-haram-suspend-all-political-activities-christian-leaders-tell-jonathan-others.html .
Agriculture project raised chickens
“Almost defying belief, right up until the EYN headquarters were overrun, and despite ever increasing violence in the area, the staff of EYN’s Rural Development Program (RDP) agriculture division continued to operate a successful poultry project supplying eggs to local vendors who would in turn sell eggs to villages across the region,” reported Boshart.
RDP’s staff provided agricultural services such as the sale of fertilizers and seeds, and training for farmers in the region. The program, officially titled the EYN Integrated Community Based Development Programme (ICBDP) Rural Development Agriculture Department, had received GFCF grants totaling $50,000 in 2012-2014.
“They were known for the quality of their products and filled a niche in the region that in other parts of the world would be filled by either government agencies or private enterprise,” Boshart noted.
The manager of the RDP agricultural work shared in his e-mail how staff continued to return daily to care for the flock until the day of the attack on the EYN headquarters. Now the RDP staff are dispersed and consumed with caring for their own families. Under the current circumstances, the agriculture and community development work of RDP will be superseded by the need to feed and shelter displaced people.
“I know this is just one of many many stories,” Boshart said. “Speaking for the members of the GFCF Review Panel, I wish to extend my prayers and sympathy for the loss of loved ones, farms, personal property, as well as the loss of this service ministry within the life of the EYN church,” Boshart said.
“We stand ready to respond to requests for assistance to rebuild and reshape this ministry when the time comes.”
Excerpts from the e-mail report:
Dear Bro. Jeff,
I really thank God almighty for hearing from you this difficult period, it is expected that I should be feeding you with information about our situation at EYN headquarters from time to time, but unfortunately it has became very difficult for me. Since first week of September, precisely since on the 8th we have not been stable in the office because we were also displaced from the headquarters, we can only came in and stay to feed our birds and attend to our clients in not more than one hour time, then we run to hide, we are coming from refugees in nearby villages. We tried by all means…to see that we worked well up to this moment where things became worst on the 28th of Oct…. We narrowly escaped death from gun shots. But never the less, the two projects (poultry egg production and fertilizer) we are working on were very successful, until this time where everything was captured by the insurgents and we lost everything except the amounts we have in our bank account…. I am now in tears as am writing you this message presently. Just as I told you we narrowly escaped gun shots and death, I was even separated from family that day. And it took the grace of God that I found them, I escaped and saved the lives of 36 people…. They are students from KBC and their village was also captured and therefore no place to go, they were forced with tears to follow me and I stayed with them for 13 good days…I could not run and leave them behind…. Yesterday I relocated my family to [another state]; my family size now is presently 10 in number including 3 children who were separated from their parents since September. Besides this entire situation my wife is seven months pregnant and she was now frightened from the gun shots. We are seriously in a difficult situation because we could not take anything to eat, the two vehicles I have were occupied with KBC students’ children. I could not force them to get down from the car but rather I have to escaped with them leaving everything behind. Then how do we feed and how do we survive? The children with me now are crying morning and evening thinking that they are finished. But God is really with us and shows us his mercies…. All my staff as well EYN headquarters staff were scattered everywhere, some are still in the bush with their families. My staff were scattered and have no help, all we have was spent on farms and now we leave the produce behind which are no longer ours…. Jeff, we desperately need your intensive prayers, because we Christians have no land to stay in the north or shall we relocate ourselves to the south? Could Nigerian government recapture back those areas from the terrorists for us to go back and have peace? God shall have mercy on us…. I will get back to you soon as to our next plan in regard to RDP projects. I will keep in touch with you. And looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks and Blessings to you and Bro. Jay [Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service].
Manager, Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria Integrated Community Based Development Programme-Rural Development Agriculture Department
For more about the ministry of the Global Food Crisis Fund go to www.brethren.org/gfcf .