…Saraki offers succour
By Magnus Eze
The story of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls abducted more than three years ago by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State has continued to receive global attention even with the release of some of them.
However, in the same Chibok community there are other Boko Haram victims; one of them is six years old Ali Ahmadu, now fondly called Ali Chibok, who has been confined to a wheelchair by the cruelty of a mindless terrorist.
Daily Sun gathered that barely one week after the girls’ abduction, Boko Haram stormed the community again and, in the ensuing confusion, a terrorist ran over the boy with a motorcycle, leaving him with a spinal injury. His poor mother eventually picked him up after the attack but lost her pregnancy in the process.
For three years after the incident, nobody heard about him and the injury remained unattended to. Since then, he had been denied access to education, among other things, and he has not been able to walk or move without aid. He did not also get any medical examination, even at the primary health centre.
However, fortune may have smiled on Ali Chibok, as the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, last week received him in his office and promised to offer support, courtesy of a non-governmental organisation, Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care (GIPLC).
GIPLC coordinator, Nuhu Kwajafa, said, for the first time since the unfortunate incident, the organisation has been able to facilitate Ali’s movement, in the quest for proper medical attention. He was examined at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, from where they received diagnostic and scan reports that were forwarded to a specialist hospital in the United Arab Emirate.
According to Kwajafa, “He needs $50,000 (N19 million) for surgery, therapy and rehabilitation for about three months and his family is desperately impoverished. Using the power of numbers, we can do it: 19 of us, by N1 million each, or 38 of us by N500,000 each, or 76 of us by N250,000 each, or 152 of us by N125,000 each, or 304 of us by N62,500, or 608 of us by N31,000 … collectively, we can do it. We did it before in 2013 for Okikijesu (first human ever born in the world without 50 per cent of her skull). Within 72 hours $234,000 plus, was raised for her treatment. Just like the abducted and returned girls and Okikijesu, Ali certainly deserves a second chance at life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
Before the visit to the Senate, GIPLC had organised an event at Merit House, Maitama Abuja, to create awareness on the plight of the Chibok boy with Senator Dino Melaye as special guest of honour.
“We created this platform to see how people can come out and see Ali’s situation because he has been like this for the past three years and the parents can’t afford to buy a recharge card not to talk of having a phone. So, we decided to bring Ali out for all Nigerians to see; he is a Nigerian child and he’s a Boko Haram victim. I believe he too has a right to enjoy every benefit any victim of Boko Haram is enjoying today.
“There’s so much noise about the Chibok girls but here is a Chibok boy; luckily for him, he’s part of the few that had come across them and are alive today. We are appealing to our leaders, we know everybody is crying about recession, that’s why we decided to involve Senator Dino, let him be Ali’s voice, let him take it to the Senate. We don’t need anybody outside the Chambers of the National Assembly. They alone can do it. So, this function is for Nigerians to know that someone like Ali exists,” he said.
Kwajafa recalled how they were able to get Governor Aminu Tambuwal, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, to donate N10 million four years ago for the treatment of Okikijesu.
His optimism paid off last week with the promise by Saraki to do something about Ali Chibok’s case barely a week after the attention-grabbing programme.
But to Melaye, the sorry state of things in the country was a function of failed governance, which he urged Nigerians to begin to agitate against: “they must ask their leaders questions. What we have is systemic failure and I believe good governance is the solution to our problems.”
Kwajafa did not agree less, as he claimed that a functional National Health Act would have addressed the Chibok boy’s plight. Though he said, “The problem actually is that, even if the Act is activated, do we have the equipment or the surgeons for it? We don’t. Sometimes we bring in foreign doctors to use the National Hospital or Garki Hospital to perform some surgeries like hole-in-the-heart or tumour of the brain. So, whatever law they put, so long as we don’t have the zeal, the equipment and patriotism, it won’t work.”
Ali’s aunt, Hanatu Madu, who volunteered to provide care for the boy, given his mother’s incapacitation, appealed to Nigerians to come to their aid.
She prayed that God would bless any person that assisted them, saying that the young boy’s condition had been quite pitiful.
For now, the fate of Ali Chibok is in the balance as only a good measure of philanthropy could avert a bleak future.