Boko Haram Survivor Bags Degree In USA, Leah Sharibu Marks Six Months Captivity
A female victim of Boko Haram terrorism has graduated with an associate degree in science Magna Cum Laude (High Honors Distinction) in the United States of America.
The young lady (name withheld) who was sponsored to school in the US by Washington-based international Human Rights Lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe arrived in America in 2015.
A graduation dinner in honor of the graduand was attended by distinguished guests including a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the first female medical doctor from northern Nigeria, an award-winning Nigerian American businessman as well as a former president of a Diaspora association of Nigerian legal professionals.
The Host Emmanuel Ogebe commended the young lady referred to only as “Miss Z” for security reasons for completing her associate degree in science in less than two years in the US and even becoming Vice President of the Honors Society of her Community College.
“I recall when her professor contacted me that she was traveling to a regional conference of the Honors Society. I asked her, “who is paying for it?” When she said, “the Honors Society,” I said, “Fine, “ he reminisced. “After that, she also traveled for a national conference etc. I said to myself, “this girl has started going places on the strength of her wisdom and studiousness and no more on my effort. Wow!”
Miss Z who is from northeast Nigeria was at her home in Maiduguri, Borno State when she saw Boko Haram Terrorists scaling the fence surrounding their compound. She tried to alert her mum but it was too late for her father who was outside the house. The terrorists descended on her dad whom they tried to overpower as he struggled with them while Miss Z pleaded with them for her dad’s life.
Infuriated by her pleas, they warned her to go inside the house or be killed. As she demurred, they fired at her before she ran indoors. In the ensuing commotion after they killed her father, a prominent pastor in the State, Miss Z did not realize that a pellet from one of the shots fired had lodged in her head.
An x-ray after she complained of headaches revealed the bullet in her and two months after the attack, she was scheduled for surgery. Doctors performed the operation by administering only local anesthesia on her because of the high risk of not surviving the procedure if she were put to sleep.
Against this background, her scintillating academic performance was nothing short of “miraculous,” Ogebe remarked. “Many who have gone through less trauma would have been unable to function at this level much less performing excellently well.”
In her vote of thanks, Miss Z said, “Thanks to Daddy for organizing this and I am excited for where God is taking me to because I know that God has a great plan for me, I look forward to see what he has in store for me, thank you.”
She recounted that she “came here 26/9/2015 on a Saturday. It was summer then so the place was too hot. I started saying “so this is how the America is?” I thought I will be walking on a street of gold.
I stayed in High School from October till November, then I came back for Christmas break in December. Then I took the Community College test and I did well. I was accepted to all university classes and I started university in January, so I didn’t go back to High school. That’s three months after my arrival in US that I got admission to university.”
In his remarks, her benefactor Emmanuel Ogebe said,“The testimony here is that two other girls including one Chibok girl had taken university placement test and passed but we didn’t have money to send them to school. It’s after you (Miss Z) came and took the exam and passed that’s when the money came and we were able to take all of you to university, so it seems like God was waiting for you to come and complete them and then go to the university.”
Also speaking, Dr Maryamu Ogebe, the first female doctor from northern Nigeria assured Miss Z, “God will see you through – just trust him. God is going to do something to surprise all of us.”
The distinguished guest of Honour the Honorable Justice James Ogebe who had just marked 50 years at the Nigerian bar said: “I just want to thank God for fifty years of being a barrister and later a judge. I give all gratitude to God. I am the first lawyer in Ado LGA – the first judge in the whole of Idoma land. I am so grateful to God for taking me to study law and to be a judge and now I am completely retired and have left it to you and David and your wives who are also lawyers to carry on and to go beyond what I have done. So the Lord has been faithful to all of us. I pray that some of the Grandchildren will be lawyers and even judges, that they may reach to a higher position than I have attained.”
Addressing the celebrant Miss Z, the distinguished jurist said, “America is a land of opportunities. Anyone who is serious and trusts in God will make it. Let me give an example with your in law, Emma, he came here at a very young age of 21 years. He has his PhD, his first, second and third degree, so America is a land of opportunities much more than England. Only one who is lazy cannot make it.”
The three girls including the most academically outstanding Chibok girl were promoted to community college (two year university program). The educational requirements for them were
- Room and board
- Health insurance
- Books and supplies
- Family visits
- Personal upkeep and allowances
We received a partial grant for two students but we decided we couldn’t cut out anyone of them. All three must go, so we tightened our belts, made various sacrifices and sponsored all three to university at once. By the grace of God, we were able to see them though their first year in 2016. Some of the girls were so hard working, they took extra classes during the summer so we ran out of money as International Student fees are higher than for US citizens.
As God would have it, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson helped us that summer. She personally took the Chibok girls who were in High School for back-to-school shopping and bought them a lot of items. Congresswoman Wilson and her constituents contributed so we could help the high school girls pay their registration for their final year and also reduce the deficit from the university girls’ summer classes.
Unfortunately the Nigerian government continued its propaganda and claimed that the girls were not in school that they were just in my house going to church. As a result of these blatant lies, the Christian organization that had initially offered to assist two girls from which we managed to sponsor three girls now soft-pedaled after their first year. They knew the girls were in school quite alright but then given the campaign of calumny by the Buhari government, they feared that other people make take the government’s lies seriously.
At that point, we couldn’t abandon the girls in college midstream. We plodded ahead with the help of a couple of friends and registered them for the next academic session. By God’s grace and special provision, we obtained funding for them for 2017 after the first semester ended when the project was virtually bankrupt. In fact I had already put my house for sale before this. One of the girls had begged us not to sell the house because they had stayed in it for sometime as we taught them how to live independently but we explained to them it was costing too much so we had to sell it.
Following this breakthrough we were now able to sponsor one of College girls to visit her family in Chibok during the break. We then sponsored a parent to come to USA for the graduation of his daughter from the high school – the first Chibok girls in the world to complete and graduate high school abroad. It was purely a work of faith that brought us to the finish line.
My joy is not just the completion but the finishing well. For one of the college girls to finish as Vice President of the Honors Society and graduate Magna Cum Laude with an Associate Degree in Science was a blessing from heaven. That she was one of those who lived in my home was divine vindication of our love and sacrifice in hosting and mentoring her!
The 5 Chibok girls whom the Nigerian government took over from me consumed almost $2 million in 2 years without producing any appreciable result. However, with less than 5% of the resources squandered on them, I produced 5 university students including one community college graduate with honors.
This was achieved inspite of the sabotage of detractors. To the glory of God even when we invited both the Nigerian and US governments to help, they didn’t and today they cannot claim the credit for any of these successes. The majority of resources for the first 3 College girls’ education came from abroad due to the hostile environment created in the US for funding them. My family and I remain the single largest individual donors to these young ladies’ education. Our gratitude goes to all those who helped inspite of the attacks!
Miss Zee herself says,“To everyone that has supported me in one way or the other to ensure I completed my associate degree, I cannot thank you enough. May the good Lord reward you all you.”
For the avoidance of doubt NO funds whatsoever were received from any of these organizations for the college education of these girls:
Jubilee Campaign USA – NONE
Embassy of Nigeria USA – NONE
US Agency for International Development (USAID) – NONE
VICTIM SUPPORT FUND NIGERIA – NONE
Federal Government of Nigeria – NONE
The project was conceived and implemented by USNLG.
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