Sunday, March 29, 2015 11:45 am
Hajara Samuel thought her friend Haroun Manzo was dead, among the scores of victims of Boko Haram’s onslaught in northeastern Adamawa state late last year.
But the two were re-united on Saturday in Adamawa’s capital Yola at a polling station where those displaced by the conflict had gathered to vote, a journalist from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) told AFP.
“They burst into tears when they met. They could not believe they could ever meet again,” said the reporter, who watched the two embrace for several minutes with tears streaming down their cheeks.
Samuel is from Michika and Manzo from neighbouring Bazza — both towns which were overrun by the Islamist insurgents during their stunning march through northern Adamawa last year.
Boko Haram fighters have now been flushed out of the state, according to the military and witness accounts.
The special polling area set up for the displaced people was reportedly the scene of several other heartfelt reunions, the NAN reporter said.
The Boko Haram conflict has separated friends and family members across the northeast, with hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes because of the violence.
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) set up voting areas for the displaced when it became clear that the insurgency would make voting impossible in much of the region.
In an apparent sign of support for INEC’s extraordinary measure to cater to victims of the conflict, Adamawa’s Governor Bala Ngilari and state Assembly Speaker Ahmadu Fintiri also voted at the site.
Meanwhile, in the country’s capital Abuja, a report released on Twitter said a polling station there also unexpectedly became the scene of a surprisingly emotional moment.
A man apparently decided that the voting place was a sufficiently romantic setting to propose to his girlfriend.
“How romantic?” the tweet said.