The October JSRP session held on the 16th of October, 2015. It was a very interactive one as the students of Government Junior College Ikoyi and students of Ilado Community Junior Secondary School got to discuss ‘Chibok Girl’ with the Author –Kenechi Uzor. The book is based on the April 14, 2014 incident that took place at Chibok a village in Borno State. The session started at about 10:30am with the opening prayer led by Favour Saturday a student of Government Junior College Ikoyi. This was immediately followed by introduction of students, staff of the library and guest Author. Kenechi started by asking the students if they knew anything about the Chibok girls and the students chorused ‘YES’. He then gave them the opportunity to share their knowledge. A student said ‘they are the female students that were kidnapped by Boko Haram from a school in Chibok in Borno State’. Seeing that the students had knowledge of the tragic event that took place, he went a step further to find out from the students the number of students that were kidnapped and a student stood up and said ‘over 200 girls’. Again, he was surprised. It finally turned out to be more interesting than was imagined as the students were well aware of the tragic incident. After they had said all they knew, he then brought the discussion down to his book. He asked the students what they thought about the character –Sarah and they said ‘she talks like an old woman’. They also spoke on some other characters one of which is ‘Corper’ who spoke big grammar and the students made fun of. The students out of curiosity asked him what he thinks the reason is for kidnapping only girls and he said because they wanted to use them as wives to do their laundry, cook, fetch water and even as sex mates. The students felt bad on hearing this.
He then asked them what lessons they learnt from the story and they said ‘they learnt to be kind to people’, ‘they learnt to not make fun of people’, and ‘they learnt to always help people’. He then encouraged them to be nice to their neighbours and take their education seriously. The session went on as the children responded excitedly. The students were taken on a tour of the library by the Chief Librarian. The students were asked to write the continuation of the story and six stories were shortlisted as top stories. Junaid Sekinat, John Blessing and Joshua Godwin wrote the top 3 stories. Stories written by Sandra Abiodun, Amos Mary and Khuokhio Blessing were in 4th, 5th & 6th places.
Junaid Sekinat’s story which was considered as the best story was read to the others.
“I wondered where Baba could be at this time of the day. We moved faster because of the flames from the fire. I asked where she had in mind for us to stay and she replied Maiduguri where we are sure that no harm will come to us.
Few days later, they got to Maiduguri and had to stay with their old friend, after they had settled down in the city of Maiduguri, Sarah’s mother asked her how she was able to escape and she told her mother all that happened and how aunty Godiya’s big eyed son saved her from the hands of Boko Haram. At the terrorists’ camp, the other girls were made to suffer, they didn’t give them food on time and they were made to do tedious work. They took the older ones amongst them and defiled them. The girls were really made to suffer. Sarah thought of saving the other girls and told her mother about it but she discouraged her. The whole country got to know about the Chibok girls that were kidnapped and they started a protest saying “Bring Back Our Girls’’, “We Want Our Sisters’’. The President sought for help from other countries so as to be able to apprehend the Boko Haram and return the girls to their parents but all effort seemed futile. While some parents of the girls kidnapped died due to the pain of losing their beloved children, others joined in the protest and a few resigned since there seemed no hope of their children’s return. Sarah kept on asking her mother when her father will return home as days passed. Her mother “Mama’’ as she fondly called her who knew that Baba was no longer alive since the terrorist gunned him down, told Sarah that someday she will know what happened to her Baba. Some of the girls kidnapped by the terrorist tried to escape from their captors and as they were going they were caught again but this time around they killed them immediately, as a lesson to the remaining girls. The few girls remaining accepted their fate but hoped that a day will come when they will be saved from their captors.
Sarah started going to school in Maiduguri and just as the corper told her, she became serious with her education. She also wanted to grow up and be a corper where she will be able to teach smaller children big grammar. If only she had known that the same incident that happened in Chibok will repeat itself again she would have stayed at home and be home schooled by her mother. Few months later after she resumed her new school, the terrorists (Boko Haram) struck again and this time around she was part of the students kidnapped. The terrorist drove them into the bush somewhere close to Maiduguri but in the deep forest. Sarah who was gifted in knowing the names of flowers and their usage saw some flowers that were planted around where they were staying that could be ground to make sleeping drugs. She sprinkled the ground flower inside the food and the terrorists slept while Sarah helped the girls to escape. The President got to know about Sarah’s bravery and rewarded her. She was given a scholarship and her mother was provided with some assistance that gave them a comfortable life”.
The top three stories won awards and all the children were given their library cards. They took a group photograph with the author and the session ended with the vote of thanks said by Chiwendu Ohale, a student of Ilado community junior secondary school.