#BringBackOurGirls: My account of the Abuja protests (30-04-2014) + More…

The post I am about to share was originally published by Chioma(fairy god sister) on her blog at http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/bringbackourgirls-my-account-of-the-abuja-protests-30-04-2014/

But before I share…

From my writings, you should be able to tell by now that I always look out for what I can learn from the simplest things and I will be sharing one of those before you read FGS’s post here.

You will see as you read the post below that aside from participating in the march for the chibok girls, Chioma ran into a woman who was having a fight with her husband…

And this struck me; She did not blame Nigeria for the fight between the couple as I am sure some would do because the root cause of the fight was money issues..she didn’t say oh Nigeria! Oh Jonathan!

She promised to help the woman start up a business if she came back and the child was alive.

Note, she didn’t say let me pray for you..she did something, something to help the situation.

I commented on Chioma’s post that “she said Mrs Oby Ezekwesili is a woman and a half but she is also just like that” but I am sure that she didn’t understand me.

I had to go re-read the book of Nehemiah again. After all his prayers to God, after his fast for God to heal his land…he asked for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall.

I thank God that Christians are arising everywhere as regards the missing girls, fervent prayers are being rendered et al and that will go a long way but let’s not just let it stop at prayers.

If Nigeria must go forward, then Christians must go forward too after praying.

And it doesn’t start with something so drastic as your joining the army to go look for the girls (you can if you wish though).. It begins with that little lost girl on your street.

Do something, start the change from within you, around your neighbourhood. Dont wait for the government.

It starts with us.

After all the fasting and prayers, we can help Nigeria get better.

Yes we can help.

Yes we can help.

Ps: FGS, I meant it when I said you are a woman and a half. You inspired me with that simple act.

Read and share Chioma’s account of the peaceful protest for return of our girls. I do pray that they are found…

On the 28th I was introduced to Hadiza, organizer of the #BringBackOurGirls march slated for the 30th, in Abuja. Idea was to march from Unity Fountain to the National Assembly and the National Security Adviser’s and drop off letters asking questions but more importantly demanding a cohesive, maybe even coherent communication of whatever strategies they have to bring back the over 200 girls kidnapped from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno on the 14th of April.

I blogged about it on the 29th, short post explaining why I was going to be a part of the protest, forgetting one important thing – my darling mother reads my blog. She rang that night and called me ‘Chioma’ (the name reserved only for times I have erred), and I started wondering what sin I might have committed. Then she mentioned she read my post (uh oh), and somehow I convinced her I would be fine.

The morning of the 30th I woke up pumped, really excited, uncertain, and a bit worried at the same time. I’d heard of the protest by Polytechnic students and how they got tear gassed by the police. I also know a couple friends who were arrested the day they protested the deaths in the tragedy called the #NISexam earlier in April. Somehow, I knew this would be incident-free but I was ready for anything to be honest.

Had a good brunch, dressed in my most comfortable Reeboks, and started walking from my sister’s house to the road for a taxi when I saw something I will never forget, a woman strangling a baby who couldn’t be more than 11 months old. I froze. She was screaming something (in Hausa) at a man who had just alighted from a bike and was trying to snatch the baby from her.

I crossed over to their side of the road, collected the baby (who had been staring blankly), and then the child started to cry. In between comforting the child and trying to find out what the matter was, I learned that the man is a Police officer (a Corporal), while the woman is his ‘wife’, and the mother of the baby. A bit of a story of how the man wasn’t providing for them and his son (born by another woman), and so she was going to kill the baby and then kill herself.

By this time I was in tears too. Got it together enough to scold both of them, and restrain the woman from inflicting more bite marks on the man (he showed me his chest with bites like he’d been attacked by an animal), promised to help the woman I’d help her start a business if I came back and that child was still alive, and I left. All of this took about 45 minutes.

Got in a taxi and sobbed all the way to Unity Fountain. How does a mother get so frustrated/disillusioned/distraught that she tries to kill her own child?

Got to Unity Fountain, super heavy police presence, SSS dudes trying to infiltrate the crowd (pretty unsuccessfully because they couldn’t have been more obvious), and loads of international press.

Oby Ezekwesili showed up early – she’s a woman and half – and she stayed till the end!! Dang! I was inspired, impressed, encouraged, all of those and more, all at once! She addressed the crowd, and we set off marching to the National Assembly. It started drizzling and she asked if we would melt under the rain, or if we were made of salt. No to both questions so we continued marching. We were joined halfway by the Commissioner of Police for the FCT Joseph Mbu and all I could think as I looked at him with his Bulletproof vest was, “so this is the person who didn’t let Governor Amaechi of Rivers drink water and drop his cup abi?”

We got to the National Assembly gate and we weren’t let in, by this time we were all pretty much soaked to our knickers. Madam Oby said if they didn’t let us in we wouldn’t leave and so we sat on the floor, in the rain. I had tears in my eyes that I couldn’t explain.

Shortly after the heads of the National Assembly (Senate President, Speaker of the House of Reps and his Deputy) drove to the gate, and addressed us, getting wet in the process. All political statements – if you’ve heard the government react to a tragedy you already know half of what they said.

Letter delivered, we marched back (it didn’t stop raining) to Unity Fountain. By the way, Titi Atiku Abubakar, wife of former Vice-President showed up at the National Assembly to join us, I only noticed because her bodyguard tried to push @_yemia to make way for his Principal. Of course Yemi wasn’t having it, and Titi herself asked the bodyguard to leave her alone. Overzealous animal.

Femi Falana walked back with us from the National Assembly, and maybe it was just my cynicism on overdrive but he was loudest for the cameras. We sang a bit more, Hadiza read the statement which had been handed in, there were a few words from relatives of the girls (the leader of the Chibok community kneeling down and thanking us for coming out for them reduced me to tears again), and then it was time to go. It was still raining.

Was really nice to meet @rotexonline,@AbdulMahmud1@Bellanwa@SuperGirlTimidi,@ChineEzeks, and @aishajana, tweeps I’ve interacted with but never met, and nice to see @elnathan,@alkayy@abangmercy@saratu,@OjaySays, @Xeenarh and of course, @_yemia.

One bowl of hot amala and ewedu after (thankful to the guy who helped us drive Mercy’s car out of the mud, and to Ojay for his jacket – I was shivering), and it was home (and there was no power), getting warm, and then drained (physically and emotionally), bed.

Last thought on my mind? That little girl.

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7 comments on “#BringBackOurGirls: My account of the Abuja protests (30-04-2014) + More…

  1. WOW,…this brought me to tears Frances,…all I can say is that with all the boldness coming out of these “Good people”, God is indeed touched. Things are getting better, I see that now more than ever before, lives will be changed in the process. To FGS, YOU ARE A ROCK, I’M INSPIRED GREATLY.
    FRANCES, YOU ARE JUST GREAT, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, WHATEVER CHALLENGES YOU FACE, PLS DON’T BE DISTRACTED, THERE ARE DOORS GOD HAS OPENED FOR YOU THAT NO MAN CAN SHUT….I LOVE YOU DEAR.
    NIGERIA- THIS NATION IS SAFE, I’LL KEEP PRAYING AND SAYING THAT and most importantly, playing my role of change, affecting any live I come in contact with.
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL,… GOD BLESS NIGERIA.

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    • Thank you Hannah…and amen, monday morning prophecy from you.amen.
      Ditto FGS, she doesn’t know but she inspires me,triple much.
      We’ll keep praying,we’ll keep doing our bit.Nigeria is us

      Like

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