A LETTER FROM A CHIBOK GIRL by OKOYE ERIOBU STEPHANIE CHISOM from MARYLAND COMPREHENSIVE SECONDARY SCHOOL
My name is Mariam Nurudeen and while that might be the only thing I am still sure of, it is also the only thing that has not been taken away from me. I had always dreamt of being an activist, a career no Nigeria youth will ever think of let alone consider . My passion for this had begun, the day I confronted my father about furthering my education and he had scolded me out of the sitting room. The incident had fueled me up with so much rebelliousness, that I had stood up for my right. I had managed to convince my father that day that his notion about women belonging in the kitchen is not only wrong but very unfair. it had not been easy since my father is a difficult man who never accepts that he is wrong.
Now, I simply wish I had saved myself the stress and stuck to my father’s beliefs. However, my mother had been indifferent about the whole situation since she herself like many of uncivilized Northern women was comfortable being a housewife. I am the only girl and last child of the family hardly by choice but entirely because my mother had complications and could not go further manufacturing babies. Finally, my dreams had come true and I had been admitted into Chibok High School, Borno State. The first day I had entered the school as a boarder my fathers face held no expression I was not sure then if it was because he would miss me or because he felt I was wasting both my time and his money, but now I realize he might have perceived that no good would come out of it .
While my story in Chibok High School gave me the best, it equally gave me the worst. I had gotten the exposure and education I craved for and although I could not wait to explore the world further. I had discovered so many things in the course of going to school; critical mishaps in Nigeria like the abuse of FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT of citizens, the high rate of injustice in Nigeria, the bribery and corruption among our so-called leaders , the abuse of power , the countless rigging of elections, the vast spread of poverty and most especially the terrorism by the Boko Haram sect . After finding out about all these, I had been determined more than ever to be an activist and set many wrongs right. Maybe it is impossible, but I had it all planned in my diary . in my own little world, I had an escape plan for Nigeria.
Unfortunately, Nigeria did not have an escape plan for me. The BOKO HARAM sect attacked and I was one of the girls taken away.If I was given a second chance I would have allowed my father have his way because now; In the agonizing comfort of a congested space I call my room along with my schoolmates, I dream of what would have been. True, it may not have been a bed of roses but it sure as hell would not be worse than a bed of thorns. In my anguish, I have lost track of time. Praying endlessly for death to come, I can hardly feel anything now because to me life no longer holds any value. Here, we are made to understand that our bodies are not our own if you are forced to be a sex tool ten times a day you are lucky. Food is a different case entirely, sometimes you get a beggars portion most times you get none. In this hell hole of a camp, you are forced to recite the Quran until your lips get numb. You act funny, you are killed that instant. Here, sparing a smile is a luxury no one can afford, one thing is for sure, I will never understand why I had to be so unlucky.
I, however, wonder how a bunch of unemployed illiterates who call themselves the Boko-Haram sect are able to plan strategic missions and get away with it. I may not be a Muslim, but I know that no religion accepts murder, no religion accepts sexual abuse, no religion accepts force and terror because that is what they do. Every day, I see them with more sophisticated weapons and I wonder if these are also manna from heaven. It all started as a joke and while everyone was still laughing, they grew from thugs to terrorists. Education is not a sin in fact education for girls is a blessing. So, these paranoid, delinquent and notorious psychopaths should be stopped because everything they believe in is wrong.
I will not deny though, that I have cursed the government a million times for ignoring their responsibilities and leaving us to rot here, but now I simply do not care because I have waited for so long and I have suffered immeasurably that I do not even wish to be rescued anymore. Myself worth now is zero and I see myself as a damaged good that cannot be restored. Hmmm! This is because I keep nursing this question what even if released from this hell of a place, won’t stigmatization steer me on the face publicly? of course, your guess is as good as mine. Hmmm, what a pity!
Well, I just ask that whoever is reading this letter would do me a favor of telling my father that I am deeply sorry for the pain I might have caused him. In my next word, I still hope to be an activist because I am yet to fulfill my escape plan for Nigeria. I also beg the government to think less of themselves and more of the masses and put an end to this terrorism because nobody deserves to go through such misery not only because it is wrong but because it is also unfair.