Maryam Abba is a 15-year-old girl from the Chibok community of the troubled Borno State who only escaped narrowly when the Boko Haram insurgents stormed her school last April.
She has spoken out on reasons why it might take the residents of her community to return back to their deserted abode following their experience in the hands of the Boko Haram Islamist extremists.
About a year ago, over 200 girls from Government Girls’ Secondary School (GGSS), in the area were abducted by insurgents and they are yet to be rescued despite efforts by the government ans other concerned individuals.
Abba who was a student of the school has told how she left the school for home just a few hours before the massive abduction.
She said, “I had to flee Chibok because I have never been at ease since the day my seniors were forcefully taken away from our dormitories … If not for sheer providence, I would have been one of them.
“I always remember my aunties like Abigail B. Kaigama, Deborah Abbas and Yagana Markus, among many others. We were together on the 13th April, 2014 but I went home towards evening to see my mother because I didn’t have exams the next day.”
As at the time of the attack, Abba and her mates were writing the Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination, JSCE while the older students were writing the Senior Secondary School Examination, SSCE.
Abba who lost her father many years ago was catered for by her mum until the tragic incident happened before she moved to an orphanage home.
She added, “I only heard of the abductions in the morning and honestly, the news was unbelievable.
“Some of us had to go to the school where we only met ruined buildings and scattered bunks, our aunties were nowhere to be found.
“After the closure of our school, we remained at home, constantly thinking that our aunties would return.
“However, instead of seeing brighter days, the abductions only succeeded in taking Chibok to limelight that did not in any way benefit us, rather, the fame only succeeded in attracting more attacks by the Boko Haram assailants.
“In fact, everything was boring; there was no school, no good food and no hope for the future. That was why I decided to leave for Maiduguri in order to find respite, I convinced myself to leave so as to remain alive.
“I don’t want to be killed or be abducted like my aunties . I want to have a better life so that I can complete my studies and then support my mother who has been suffering in order to make me comfortable.”
When asked how she made her way to the orphanage school, Abba said she first went to the house of her relatives along Damboa Road in Maiduguri and one of her cousins asked her to escort her to Future Prowess in order to see the proprietor who was looking for admission for her.
“We met Barrister Zannah Mustapha who is looking for admission for her and when he saw me, he asked of my background and after explaining everything to him, he offered me admission in his school and gave me books and uniforms. He also promised that he will continue to shoulder my responsibilities.
“I never thought I would have a new lease of life within a short time, it is really pleasurable to be in this orphanage, in the midst of many orphans, everything is going smoothly and our future is assured.
“I am terribly missing my mother but I have no option but to leave, I am sure we would see one day but honestly I would never go back to Chibok, I feel terribly bad and unsecured there and the most regrettable part of our travail is that the federal government did not do anything serious to secure my aunties. I feel if the right thing was done, our seniors would have come back home by now.”
The headmaster of the Future Prowess, Aminu Abadam, said on the day she was taken to the orphanage, Maryam was visibly terrified. He added that they have completed plans to take her to Zaria where she will join others that were initially enrolled at the foundation in order to further her education.
Abadam said, “At present, she is among many orphans who are learning both Islamic and Western education. So far, we have about 750 orphans under our tutelage for both morning and evening sessions.
“Taking care of them has not been easy but Barrister (Zannah) is doing his best all the time, including paying the salaries of teachers. In fact, nobody is complaining,” Abadam said.
Zannah said, “Maryam seems to be an exceptional child who refused to allow the predicament she found herself in to demoralise her. We would do everything possible to ensure that she actualises her dreams.”