Editor’s note: The release of 21 Chibok girls by Boko Haram terrorists to the federal government has elicited reactions from Nigerians. While some expressed delight at the return of some of the kidnapped girls, others like expressed doubt and insisted that it was a lie.
In this open letter by Fatima Musa who resides in Borno, she writes from the angle of a mother of one of the Chibok girls who spoke to her and addresses those who doubt the kidnap of the girls. She argues that because of political, religious and ethnic sentiments, some people chose to ignore the fact that young girls were kidnapped.
I cannot put into words the pain I have been through since 2014 when I was informed of the news of the abduction of my daughter by Boko Haram terrorist. I cried because I felt she alongside other girls who were taken from their school in Chibok would be killed immediately. I resigned myself to fate that I had lost a daughter all because I chose to send her to school.
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When I heard that 56 girls had escaped from Boko Haram, my hope was raised. I wished my daughter would be one of them but alas, I was thrown into another round of tears when my girl was not one of them.
Anytime Boko Haram released photos of videos, I would scan through looking for my daughter but I never saw her. I resigned myself again to the possibility that she had died. In 2016 however, I saw a Boko Haram video in which my daughter was present. It was the most sorrowful day of my life. From a young innocent girl, she had grown into a woman. I might have seen the video more than 100 times looking for signs she was trying to communicate something with me. I found it hard to deal with how far she has aged. Her eyes were sunken and the smile I was used to was gone. My daughter looked like a stranger!
I wait for the day I will get the chance to see my daughter. A Yoruba friend said that losing a child to death is bad but losing to captors is worse. Every day, I think of my girl living among terrorists. I don’t know what she eats and if she has access to toiletries. What happens when she is sick? Would I ever get the chance to see her or will one day die?
To those people who say the kidnap of our daughter is a big lie, I pray the same thing never happens to you or someone you love before you believe it is real. Our political, ethnic or religious affiliation should not take empathy away from us. No amount of money can replace the loss of one’s child.
I pray my daughter comes back home one day to me. I have suffered a lot and my tears have dried because there is no more to come. Until that day comes, I have been asked to stay strong. I am trying to.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Naij.com.
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