We missed you again in school today, everyday Hauwa, Ekaete, Kemi, Uchenna and I meet behind the school admin block to pray that you can come back to school and play with us. Hauwa is muslim, Uchenna is Catholic, Kemi is Anglican but I’m not sure what Ekaete’s religion is, you know they have their god in the backyard but we all agree that what they did to you is bad and we pray that you come back home. At the end of the prayer we say Amen. Is it true that you are now a muslim?
Yesterday was Uchenna’s 15th birthday, her mummy brought a birthday cake to the class at break time. It was nice and we sang happy birthday to her. I remember our 14th birthday when Aunty gave us 100 naira to share and we bought the dolls with black hair and took pictures together, you remember? Anytime I look at the doll, I always remember you and I cry. I really pray we can spend Christmas together again this year.
In school today, they taught us about puberty in biology class, it was a very interesting topic. Mr. Bassey took the boys to the assembly hall while Miss. Ladi taught the girls in the form 2 building. We were very shy at first, but as the lesson continued we were able to ask the teacher questions. Jummai asked about the blood she saw in the girls toilet, you remember? Its funny to see Jumoke wearing bra, I think she is the only on in our class wearing it. I was thinking that when we are a bit older we can go to Kasua to buy bra together with aunty.
After the biology lesson, the boys came back and the head teacher came to talk to all of us about men and boys. She mentioned the word Paedophilia, nobody in the class knew the word before. She said Paedophiles are people that like to touch children in that place and that we have to be very careful, the class was very quiet and we were afraid. I remember the news on TV where the Boko Haram terrorist touched some of the Chibok girls and after some time they had babies. Hope they are not touching you where you are? That would be very bad and they will be like the terrorists.
Not long ago some Chibok girls were released and they went to see the president of Nigeria and they took picture with him. They were so happy to be back home with their families after 2 years. I hope that some day, the president will talk to the man that took you away so that he lets you come back home and continue your studies. Your case should be easier I think, since you are not in Sambisa and they know exactly where you are, they know the man that took you and where he lives. They said that the man is as old as granpa, is that true? But nobody has stated #BringBackHabiba like they did for the Chibok girls, seems people are afraid that it may cause religious problems in Katsina. Everybody is just behaving like nothing happened, only us are praying for you everyday. Even the teacher just jumps your name when she is taking the register in the morning like you were never in the class before but we all pass by your empty seat everyday when we come to class. It is very sad.
You know my elder sister Fatima, she said that she saw a post on the internet, a man was telling the granpa that took you to release you, they were saying that it was not possible. I started crying, because I thought we would not see you again, what will your mummy do? Hauwa said her mummy told her that your mummy cries everyday, she has not been able to eat well since they took you away. She has not left her room since even. Your daddy, uncle Isyaku is trying to be very strong for the family and they are praying and doing the best they can so that that wicked granpa let you come home. The priest has also been coming to the house to pray with them too.
We don’t understand why he will just take you away from everybody and nobody is able to do or say anything to change it. People are saying it is part of the Muslim religion, others are saying it is tradition and from the lesson today it seems its Paedophilia, I’m confused and don’t understand anymore even Hauwa is saying she doesn’t want to be a Muslim again. Because of that, we are afraid to leave the house to play outside or go to fetch water. Even when we are going to school, uncle Dauda escorts us to the gate and comes to pick us after school.
What kind of life is this we are living, what future do we have? Will one day come and somebody will take me away from my family and friends, is there no law in Nigeria to protect us? I don’t want to be afraid and don’t’ know what to do. Anytime I think of what happened to you I can’t eat and I vomit. I’ve started crying again, I’ll write to you later when I’m feeling a bit better, please be strong Habiba.
how dark and vile can the conscience of a nation become?