This is why I personally believe in Nigeria
By Emmanuel Ogebe
I had heard of this lady for years. I heard she and her kids had moved to Lagos after the horrific incident. I finally tracked her down.
She told me about her charismatic and studious husband who came back to Maiduguri for the weekend from school to visit his family. She remembers wistfully the sermon he preached at his church that weekend encouraging all to be firm till the end. As if he knew…
Later that week, Boko Haram went on rampage. They operated freely in the city where they had a mosque, a camp ground and facilities. They rampaged through the city killing Christians.
Pastor George and his family were amongst those who fled to a military barracks for safety.
Several days later when the violence subsided a bit, he went in search of an old lady – a widow from his church who wasn’t hiding in the barracks with them.
During that rescue mission, he and a deacon were captured by the terrorists and taken to their grounds.
There Mohammed Yusuf, leader of Boko Haram, addressed a group of captured Christians from his throne. “Covert to Islam or die!” Pastor George refused. Instead he urged the others to stay strong.
Incensed, Yusuf ordered for a sword to be brought and as George continued to encourage the others, pinned him down and slit his throat in their full view. Not done, he fully decapitated him. Then, holding up his severed head, Yusuf declared to the trembling group, “this is what we do to those who refuse to accept Islam!”
A few days later, Nigerian security forces captured Yusuf and he died in custody. His cup was full. he had defied the God of heaven for too long and shed too much innocent blood…
Some of the rescued captives who compromised after his beheading came and told her about her husband’s final, defiant moments…
She is probably Nigeria’s most famous Boko Haram widow going back to their 2009 uprising.
I asked her if she had received compensation from Borno state government as I heard some was being offered. She said, the government claims they are only paying compensation for people killed during their tenure. Hers was before…
I was sickened. How could a nation fail to protect its citizens and then fail to comfort them?
Then she told me about Bayo.
A pastor in Warri and another one in Lagos helped relocate her from Borno to the south.
A man named Bayo got in touch with her and promised to pay for her kids’ school. This is very costly in one of the world’s most expensive metropolitan megacities.
Every once in a while Bayo would call and ask about the kids’ results. One year, she read the grades to him. Bayo said, “let me call you back.”
Sometime later, he phoned. “I have discussed this with my bible study group. Your son’s grades are not great. We need to move him to a better school. We will pay for the new school.”
It is one thing to be a one-off or cash-and-go philanthropist. It is a whole nother thing to be a caring humanitarian. He paid the fees but he cared about the kid’s performance. In that wise, Bayo was doing what George himself would have done. George must be smiling from heaven…(the body works!)
I marvel at this man whom she tells me she has never met. Yes. He has never shown up to claim credit or glory for his charity. He is leaving it all up to His Rewarder. He is from the southwest, she is from north central and the pastor who relocated her is from the south south. They have no bond no connection. Ironically I found out during our interview that she was from my place…
This is why I believe in Nigeria but I believe in Nigerians more. We have been our own government when there was no governance. We can be our own ministers when there are none. We have proven time and again, that we can survive without them and inspite of them.
4 Woe to the sinful nation,
a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
7 Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
9 Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
10 Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom;
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the Lord.
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
22 Your silver has become dross,
your choice wine is diluted with water.
23 Your rulers are rebels,
partners with thieves;
they all love bribes
and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow’s case does not come before them.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the public beheading of pastor George Orji by Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf. Yusuf himself was killed days later.
Pastor George is survived by a wife and three kids.