Many more Leahs in Northern Nigeria

Posted by News Express | 10 March 2022 | 1,296 times

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•Recent escapee from terrorist captivity Regina with others relocated by US Humanitarian team. Pho

 

By EMMANUEL OGEBE

A just-concluded fact-finding mission to Nigeria reveals that women are still inordinately bearing the brunt of the war on terror in Nigeria.

Among numerous victims of terror interviewed, the following situations emerged:

a widow whose pastor-husband was executed by terrorists has been twice displaced along with her children within two years due to continuing terror attacks

the pregnant wife of a pastor abducted by terrorists had to undergo a Caesarean section due to heightened stress from the stoppage of her husband’s salary while in captivity

a widow whose husband and sons were slaughtered by terrorists and was later herself abducted is still struggling to get a transfer from the FGN after her internal displacement stemming from triple traumatic terror attacks

Victims of terror are now in their eighth year of displacement without any federal intervention or assistance especially those from Gwoza which is still occupied by terrorists

Women are still being abducted and forced to convert or be enslaved in communities and while traveling on highways.

A widow of a beheaded policeman who herself survived, reunited with her son after 14 years but has no federal benefits for his care and in laws stripped her of all belongings

Women and girls who escape terrorist captivity are still being pressured to say they were “rescued” by security forces

Amidst these onerous challenges, women are still overcoming seeming insurmountable odds. The experience of recent terror escapees is a case in point.

We marveled meeting two heroines of faith who recently escaped from ISWAP captivity.

During the ambush of Regina’s (name changed for safety) vehicle while traveling in the northeast last year, male and female passengers were separated for screening.

After a luggage search, the terrorist asked, “Who owns this bag?”

Regina replied that she did.

She was then asked a Nazi-esque question, “are you a Christian?” Her answer determined her fate.

Below is Regina’s account of her capture:

“When we reached Auno exactly around 11:45 am, that was when the Boko haram came and stopped our driver and other 2 vehicles, a Sharon, a Toyota and a Bus making the total number of 3 vehicles on that very day. The Boko Haram led the 3 vehicles to the bush. The driver drove for about 1:30 minutes and then we were asked by the Boko Harams to get out of the vehicles. We all got out of the vehicle.

We were asked by the Boko haram to sit down under a big tree. After we all sat down under the big three, the Boko Haram went to the 3 vehicles searching our bags. They brought my bag first from the bush because it has Bible in it, they asked about the owner of the bag because it was the only bag that has bible. I told them that bag was mine. They asked me if I am a Christian and I told them yes.

They showed me a Hilux that I should go and sit in it and I was surrounded by them with their guns, so I went and sat there while they assigned some of their members to be on guard of the place. I sat there for about an hour before they started complaining that they were very hungry. They were discussing among themselves that they had Fura da Nono (fresh yoghurt), but they don’t have where to turn it so that they can mix it.

I told them that they should check my bag, that there is food flask in it so that they can turn their Fura da Nono and drink it. They say okay so they did exactly as I told them.

When they finished taking their Fura da Nono, they returned the food flask to me washed and they say “thank you for the food flask.”

I told them that they should take the food flask so that they can be using it, but they say no that it is not like that in their rules and regulations, that in their rules and regulations, they take whatever they want from Christians by force.

I kept quiet. After a while I asked them to please let me go, but they said they will allow me go only if I change from Christian to Muslim. I was still there and the Boko Haram were around to guard me. They brought some other women who are Christians, a man and his brother with one of the driver to the place where I was making the total number of 6 of us. The remaining people that are Muslims, the Sharon driver and the Toyota car driver took the remaining people that were Muslims back to Maiduguri.

The Boko Haram waited until the place was very dark before they drove us to the deepest part of the bush. They drove for about 3 hours down to the bush before they stopped and kept us in one place in the bush. That was where we slept till the next morning. When the day broke, the Boko Haram came to the place where we slept with their guns; they asked us to change our faith from Christianity to Islam. I specifically told them that I will never change my faith, I am for Christ till I die and even in my grave, Jesus is Lord, they said “am I happy that they are always killing us because of this our Christianity?” I told them that the Lord Jesus Christ had made it clear to us that because of his name sake we will pass through many persecutions so, for me to live is Christ and to die in Christ is gain. They said that they were going to kill me. I turned to the other woman by name Mrs. Agnes and handed my church membership card to her and I told her that in case they kill me that she should take my church membership card and look for the address on it so that she can tell them what happened to me.

The Boko Haram asked me where did my God say that people will kill and persecute us for his name sake? I said in the bible. I was with mine but they collected the bible, they opened it and threw it on me. I picked up my Bible and dusted it.

I was also with partner’s perfume and anointing oil. They asked me about it. I said it is medicine. One of them asked me, “which kind of medicine is that?”

He collected the anointing oil and even put it in his mouth. After putting it in his mouth, he spat it out and said it is alcohol, then from there they said they don’t kill women and they don’t sleep with women anyhow, that it is Shekau and his people that kill people anyhow and they sleep with women anyhow.

From there, they said they were going to take the driver, the other man and his brother back to Maiduguri because they are Muslims while we will be taken to the deepest part of the bush because we are Christian.”

To be continued.

Today we honor and remember all women of courage especially in northern Nigeria who continue to fall victim to terrorism but yet remain steadfast in their faith and principles.

We especially remember some of the 110 still missing Chibok schoolgirls who refused to capitulate or convert and whom we’re reliably informed are even now enslaved by Boko Haram eight years later in the world’s longest running mass school abduction.

This week, we released a report on the discrimination against female judges in Nigeria despite being some of the most powerful women in the land https://www.facebook.com/1434215680211765/posts/2858581154441870/?d=n Today’s report is dedicated to the most vulnerable women in the land.

Recent escapee from terrorist captivity Regina with others relocated by US Humanitarian team

•Being a status report on the condition of women survivors of terror IWD 2022. The writer, Emmanuel Ogebe, is of US NIGERIA LAW GROUP and Special Counsel, Justice for Jos Project.


Source: News Express

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