ABUJA, NIGERIA - Many Nigerian citizens are hoping for a better year in 2020. Last year, besides anxieties ahead of the general elections in February, the West African nation endured security challenges on multiple fronts. President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that his cabinet will address these issues.
It's been an eventful and hopeful day at this internally displaced people’s (IDPs) camp in Durumi, in the capital, Abuja. The camp is receiving food supplies and donations to mark the new year celebration.
Liatu Ayuba, a widow who fled her home in Gwoza, Borno state, five years ago after her husband was killed during a battle with terrorist group Boko Haram, now leads the women at this camp, more than 1,500 of them.
She says she often thinks of home in Gwoza, and said she wishes to return this year.
“I believe that this 2020 ... yesterday I was in church by the grace of God. God will use our good Nigerian government, our military soldiers and all the security people to know the secret of Boko Haram and we are going to get peace, and I believe this year we are going to get peace in our place so that we can go back,” said Ayuba.
For years, Boko Haram has been the major security challenge facing Nigeria. Their decade-long insurgency has killed at least 27,000 people and displaced millions.
Despite a decline in the group's activities over the past year, attacks have persisted. Last week, seven people were killed when Boko Haram raided a village near Chibok, a town known for the notorious abduction of 276 school girls in 2014.
Idris Ibrahim is the spokesman of Abuja-based IDPs.
"We’re optimistic that the war against insurgency will win because of recent [events]. There has been crisis in our area and the way the government responded is very, very good," said Ibrahim. "So we can see seriousness, we can see sacrifice on the part of the armed forces, we can see sacrifice on civilian JTF (joint task force)."
Apart from Boko Haram attacks, Nigerians had to endure a rise in armed robbery and increased kidnappings for ransom in the last year.
President Muhammadu Buhari won the February 2019 polls and vowed that his cabinet will tackle these issues.
But political analysts like Leke Omole want the government to adjust its strategy on the security front.
"Our security architectures – the military guys, the police, all of them – are stretched," said Omole. "Like presently, we have our military guys in almost all the 36 states taking care of one security issue or the other. So in 2020, I expect the government to make sure we define the roles of our military guys especially the security architecture of the country. Let’s withdraw the military guys from some areas. Let the police take charge of this kidnapping menace and all other issues, while the military guys face the outside terror like the Boko Haram.”
In the meantime, the IDPs are celebrating the new year, hoping it will bring them good luck and good news.