Bwaranji is a riverine community in Adamawa state which experiences flooding every year.
Bwaranji is located in a valley behind the Government House in Yola North Local Government Area of Adamawa state.
The inhabitants are predominantly fishermen.
However, when the people are not fishing, they are engaged in farming activities.
Speaking to Radio Nigeria on the aftermath of the 2023 flooding in the area, the people are calling for government intervention to alleviate the hardship they experience in the community.
Chrisanthus Makumli is the Secretary to the Village Head of Bwaranji.
Speaking on the origin of the community, he noted that, “The meaning of Bwaranji is a group of fish, where fish come by themselves. From the beginning, one of our elders, a fisherman came from Bare, that is in Numan local government, by then, this place was like a desert. He met an old man from Bachama tribe, a fisherman also. So he stayed with him for a long time.”
“After some time, people started coming to join them, and that is how they got to occupy the place. Majority of people living here are fishermen”, he added.
Commenting on the aftermath of the 2023 flood in the area, Makumli said the flooding led to destruction of their properties and loss of their crops.
He however pointed out that fishing is easier and more profitable during flooding, hence the inability of the people to leave the area despite the perennial flooding.
“The flood comes every year like this, but when it comes, our people that are affected by the water usually move upwards till the water recedes”, he noted.
“We know the effect of this flood, but it is difficult for us because we have been staying here for a long time, we know how the place is, we have nowhere to go”, said Makumli.
He appealed to government to provide fishing and farming tools for the people in order to improve their livelihoods.
According to him, “We need the government to provide canoes to avoid boat mishaps, fishing materials like life jackets, nets and also farming materials especially fertilizers,hoes, seeds, fertilizers, pumping machine, and so on.”
A fisherman, Johnson Colman who said it was difficult to move from the area as it is their ancestral home, called for interventions from government and well-meaning individuals so as to make life easier for the people.
“Bwaranji has been in existence for over 70 years, but I have been here for about 30 years. Without the water, we can not survive, we are benefitting from it. We do irrigation farming, catch fish and all the houses here were built with money that was sourced from the water”, Cole revealed.
Another resident, Mary Jude while lamenting lack of potable water in the area said children often suffer from diarrhoea and other diseases after consuming water from the river.
On her part, Nester Norbert noted that her family depends on water from the river for everything including drinking.
“We are grateful for the fish that we get from this river, but we don’t have drinking water. We beg government to help us with water because our borehole is no longer working. This river water that we consume is dangerous to our health but we don’t have a choice than to drink it that way”.
She added that it is very stressful to get clean water as people who could not use water from the river have to go up the hill to fetch.
All the residents appealed for assistance in the area in order to reduce the current economic challenges they face, and improve their standard of living.