Boko Haram Survivors From Yobe Making Strides Despite Adversity

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– Survivor of near decapitation in Yobe State weds, obtains NCE

–  Sole Survivor of gunshot to head in Yobe graduates seminary, saves Muslim’s life

In this annual season of thanksgiving, we want to appreciate and recognize victims of terror who not only survived but strived to thrive against overwhelming odds despite their tragedies.

 

– Jacob, Survivor of near decapitation in Yobe State weds, obtains NCE

 

A survivor of a horrendous attack by Boko Haram has recently marked the 6th anniversary of the incident. In November 2012, Jacob’s hands were tied and Boko Haram slit his throat like a ram and left him for dead. Against all odds, he survived.

This November to mark his 6th anniversary of survival, Jacob got married in northeast Nigeria!

 

Due to the pain medication he had to take daily, he deferred getting married because of the hardship it would put on his new bride.

When he recently obtained his NCE 9 years after graduation (his school penalized him for the period he was hospitalized) he decided to marry by faith.

Jacob has not received any support from the Nigerian government in his travails. Last year he was briefly held by the army as a suspected terrorist because of his scars.

 

Jacob has undergone multiple surgeries over the years to rectify his slit throat.

Following his inability to obtain assistance from the Victim Support Fund for his surgery last year, he turned to a Dutch NGO for assistance with the first part of the surgery.

 

Again this year, due to lack of further sponsorship from the Dutch NGO, the US Nigeria Law Group intervened through its network of partners to provide the second surgery which was performed at Jos University Teaching Hospital. We are thankful to all those who helped achieve this successful outcome.

Jacob is hoping to find a job to sustain his new family.

 

–  Habila Sole Survivor of gunshot to head in Yobe State graduates seminary, saves Muslim’s life

 

Habila is the most famous survivor of Boko Haram in the world. He is the sole survivor of a massacre of all Christian males in his neighborhood and has testified in the US congress as well as the EU parliament.

He continues to live in self-exile from the northeast.

 

In addition to the terrorist attack, his own state in northern Nigeria fired him from his government job while he was recuperating from kill shots to his head. When Christians fled the state in droves, the government decided to conduct a work census and in the process many Internally Displaced Persons who were Christians lost their jobs.

 

Habila went to seminary and without sponsorship or even scholarship from the Assemblies of God denominational proprietors of the institution recently graduated. He had earlier abandoned a PGD in International Relations due to lack of funding but then enrolled in Theological school.

Recently he saved the life of a Muslim during reprisal attacks following massacres in a Christian community in Plateau State.

 

Habila who was riding in his car with a Muslim ran into a road block mounted by irate youth in Plateau State.

His vehicle was smashed before he was interrogated on his religion and when he identified himself as a pastor, the rampaging youth asked him to confirm details of the denomination.

 

Incidentally one of the youth recognized him as once having preached in their church. The youth then attempted to interrogate the Muslim man in Habila’s car.

Habila however told them he was his son and on the basis of this, the Muslim man was spared.

 

The above situation shows further the pervasive precariousness of life for IDPs even after they flee the conflict theatre in the northeast.

 

We commend Habila for his bravery and compassion in shielding a Muslim man and rescuing him from harm despite what he himself suffered at the hands of Islamist terrorists. We note also that in addition to his personal tragedy, Habila subsequently lost his sister, niece and nephew in a suicide bombing of a church in Bauchi State as well.

 

We condemn reprisal attacks and urge the government to hold terrorists to account and stop the massacres so that vulnerable victim communities do not resort to self-help.

 

We commend Jacob for persisting to collect his NCE nine years after his graduation.

 

We urge Yobe State Government to reinstate the IDPs who were retired due to their flight during the height of the conflict.

 

We call on CAN Victims Trust Fund to draw attention to the needs of such victims and mobilize resources for their continuing emotional, physical and spiritual support.

 

USNLG notes that both victims were amongst those we met during a relief mission by the Christian Association of Nigerian Americans (CANAN) to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) 5 years ago.

 

Although CANAN made a corporate donation on behalf Nigerian Christians in the US Diaspora to CAN, we in USNLG chose to maintain contact, monitor and assist where necessary their progress on an individual basis over the years.

We note that apart from small intermittent support from USNLG during the period, there has been no significant ongoing support for these victims from CAN.

 

We call on the Victim Support Fund to be more proactive in support to victims instead of institutions. While VSF donated 75 Million to National Defense University for research despite the institution having its own budget and the recent establishment of another military university in Borno state, ordinary victims such as these are yet to benefit in anyway from the VSF.

 

We urge people of goodwill to adopt and invest in victims to help them gain beauty from ashes and turn mourning to dancing.

 

The same way that near total state failure has turned individual Nigerian homes into self-governing entities producing their own electricity and infrastructure, Nigerians must also now assume responsibility as “emergency aid agencies” to fellow citizens.

 

IDPs have witnessed the worst deprivation and theft of their supplies under the current administration and many more have died from malnutrition in the IDP camps than in the previous administration.

 

We wish the new couple marital bliss.

 

Emmanuel Ogebe

US NIGERIA LAW GROUP

USA

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