Boko Haram: Nigerian govt. arrests social workers for feeding widows, orphans, By Stephen Davis

Dr Stephen Davis meeting with the Shehuri North Community Development and Youth Empowerment Association Maiduguri

It is now well known that I have been working for the release of the Chibok girls and the other at least 300 girls who have been captured by Boko Haram in the last 12 months. I have visited many villages and towns attacked by Boko Haram, I have seen first-hand the devastation and talked to families of the attacks. These are tragic stories of loss of life, slaughter, rape and the worst abuses of human life one can imagine. In the mist of this ongoing tragedy there are people who have courageously helped to support the work of finding kidnapped girls and boys and helping them receive medical care and food until a more permanent solution can be found to their situation.

In Maiduguri there are small groups of young men and women who go out into the community each week to provide food to the widows whose husbands have been killed by Boko Haram. Others repair the humble shelters used by widows and orphans to shelter from the rain. These humanitarian efforts are undertaken with the meagre funds these generous local people have from their equally meagre salaries. One such group of community servants is the Shehuri North Community Development and Youth Empowerment Association in Maiduguri. It is a registered association with very admirable stated as:

To promote peace, unity, love and understanding in our community.

To assist the people of the community such as widows, orphans, and the less privilege by upgrading their standard of living.

To assist in sending the orphans and any interested fellow within and outside the community to Western and Islamic Schools to acquire a reputable education and knowledge that will prepare them to be useful members of the community.

To empower youths in our midst by creating suitable job opportunities.

To enter into association with any local, regional and international organization, engaged in assisting community development.

I heard of this group while seeking the handover of Chibok captives in Borno State a few months ago. I met with the group in Maiduguri to learn more of their community work. I was convinced of the outstanding humanitarian work of this group with such meagre funding from their own private resources.

It is quite an amazing story how this group has managed to find girls who have escaped from Boko Haram camps and support them and their families with food and medical care until the girls can be connected into Federal Government support through the President’s Victim Support Funds chaired by General (ret.) Danjuma.

It is quite an amazing story how this group has managed to find girls who have escaped from Boko Haram camps and support them and their families with food and medical care until the girls can be connected into Federal Government support through the President’s Victim Support Funds chaired by General (ret.) Danjuma.

The Shehuri group has made formal application for funding to continue the victim support work and the additional work they do in locating and verifying the identity of escaped girls for relocation and protection from the Federal Government.

This week we learn that the State Security Services has arrested many of these fine young community workers on the pretext that they are Boko Haram sympathisers.

A tweet from someone known as Aye Dee posts a photo of me with the management board of the Shehuri North Community Development and Youth Empowerment Association whom Mr Dee says “were hired to play the part of Boko Haram fighters/commanders in the Stephen Davis saga of being in contact with the terrorist organisation”. Nothing could be further from the truth! What a monstrous fabrication! Mr Dee may be misinformed from his SSS source as these photos were taken from the phone of one of arrested community workers. The photo for which Mr Dee claims proprietorial rights and one of several taken on that occasion was taken on my camera and is printed here in full detail.

Mr Dee is correct in saying that I have contributed some funds to the organisation which has found its funds stretched as more escaped girls are being supported. I have also provided a photo of the rice distribution which these workers conduct and to which my funding has been applied. The escaped girls are in great need of trauma counselling. As most are not Chibok girls there seems to have been little media interest in telling their stories and assisting them.

Distribution of Rice in Maiduguri
Distribution of Rice in Maiduguri

I am in no doubt that President Jonathan wishes to provide support for any victim of Boko Haram and particularly for captives who have escaped Boko Haram camps regardless of whether they were captured at Chibok or any other village in Nigeria.

On hearing of the arrest of members of the Shehuri North Community Development and Youth Empowerment Association I immediately sent a message to the DG-SSS. I have not yet had a reply but am very hopeful that as he is well aware of my work in seeking the release of the captives and arrest of the sponsors of Boko Haram he will equally be aware of the innocence of these community workers and their outstanding service in providing food, shelter and medical support for the escaped girls and restore their families into a stable community life.

If the DG-SSS would care to check with the office of General (ret.) Danjuma and Ambassador Gana I am sure he will find these facts as I have set them out to be supported and thus enable the immediate release of the members of the Shehuri North Community Development and Youth Empowerment Association.

I am optimistic that General (ret.) Danjuma, as Chairman of the President’s Victim Support Fund, will also find the case for acknowledging the valuable work of these community workers deserving of his support.

These are people we should be honouring for their outstanding, selfless work conducted at considerable risk to their lives, not arresting and incarcerating.

Dr. Stephen Davis

16 October 2014


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  • Ubong Essang

    Stephen cant you leave Nigeria along….
    After all, there are issues in your own country that needs u.

    Please stop this unwelcomed sympathy.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Ubong, I think your call is misguided.

      If the likes of Mr. Davis ignores the plight of Nigerians and another Nigerian like you is not bothered, who would look out for you when it is your turn?

      • Ubong Essang

        Kay,
        It will be proper for you to know the history and potential intent of ur sympathizers-Davies.

        This man is obviously an agent of the enemies of Nigeria. He is not what he claims and he is creating divisions.

        Have u asked since US, Australia, Uk, France and the likes said they were helping Nigeria, what have we seen than the escalation of these senseless killings. But is that the case with ISIS in Iraq and Syria?

        We must learn to solve our problems, these people including Davies don’t “love” us.

        Am well guided and guarded.

        Thank you, Sir.

        • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

          Am glad you are not a rude person, like a lot of others.

          But the case in ISIS and Syria is no different from what has obtained in Nigeria.

          I agree with you that we must learn to help ourselves but I totally disagree with your position that the opinion of outsiders like Mr. Davies are irrelevant.

          By the way, I also don’t subscribe to your theory of “enemies of Nigeria” because with rulers such as we have, who needs more enemies, unless you are referring to the rulers, in which case, we still need the opinions of the outsiders, since the likes of NTA and other brown envelope journalists cannot be trusted to give us unbiased opinions and facts.

          • Ubong Essang

            Kay,

            Dont sell arms to nigeria
            Dont give them zmapp
            Dont buy their oil
            Dont give them admission in our schools

            Be sure everything is done to actualise our 2015 disintegration prophecy.

            This is the story of Nigeria!

            This is why we must refused to be used.
            This is our time to arise and defence our land and future.

            This is why Davies is deceptive.

            Thank you and God bless Nigeris

          • Wale

            Don’t sell arms to Nigeria.
            They know that the arms are being used against Nigerians.

            Don’t give them zmapp
            Its no secrets that top military homos are members of Bokos.

            Don’t buy their oil
            Where’s $20 Billion dollars of our oyel money?

            Don’t give them admission in our schools
            We all have ideas of those that can afford fees at expensive schools in the western world.

            “enemies of Nigeria” because with rulers such as we have, who needs more enemies, unless you are referring to the rulers, (Kay Soyemi esq.)

            My point is you don’t have to be a Physicist to realize that Nigeria is under unannounced international sanctions.
            Similar to Iran and North Korea.

          • prettyriversgirl

            r u saying there is no cause for alarm? All is well? Then we deserve our leaders bcos we r as bad as they r by supporting them in their selfish ambitions.

  • Bode Osanaiye

    I totally agree with Ubong. Dr. Davies is not altruistic in his pursuits in Nigeria. He is simply in it for self-serving, egotistic, and above all, pecuniary expectations. He has done more harm than good with no visible results to show for all the moneys he is getting from government and international aid organizations. Nigerians should develop the habit of believing in themselves and stop belittling themselves in the face of the problem-solving challenges and opportunities that is currently staring us in the face

  • Ali Ajao

    This to Stephen Davies, arresting of Social workers during war like situation is accepted in WAR front, this people are known to you but you don’t know 100% there motive, They may be arrested to be question and if they are found not guilty they will be release, In the past we are aware of Red Cross vehicles use by terrorist to float weapon to the RED LINE, please we should not be too sentiment about issues, Nigerians want the Insurgent to be crush and the Police, Soldiers and Civilian have been casualty.

  • Jyde

    I notice that not a single comment here has focused on the thrust of this article, which is, “Is it right or wrong to feed widows and children of men who were Boko Haram members? Where others are feeding them, should they be encouraged as humanitarian workers, or Boko Haram sympathisers?”

    We must learn to comment on issues under discussion, rather than focus on the people bringing the issues up for discussion. Our national discourse will be very mediocre if we insist on dismissing important issues raised simply because we don’t like the people raising them.

  • NoSpinEd

    With all due respect, your analysis lacks context. The US and its allies did not start this war, the jihadists did. The war against terror is a reaction to Islamic terrorism that is relenless and global in scope. There is a difference between deliberate targeting of diffenceless “infidels” and accidental killing of civilians in the pursuit of terrorists using them as human shields.

  • Pause

    Th “Law” has been stated. But the people make the laws. Long & short “turenchi” cannot save Nigeria. Nigeria must restructure in the line of 2014 National Conference or perish. A word is enough for the wise. Igbos may b protesting peacefully but for how long; other groups are also watching. There would be anarchy. Again, Nigeria must RESTRUCTURE alongside the 2014 National Conference or PERISH.

    • Du Covenant

      If Nigeria were to perish as you have just mentioned, the so called biafra will be no more and we shall all rest from the insults so, bring it on!, for 1966 will be a child’s play if you think you are they only people aggrieved in this country. Others are just not as greedy and self centered but more tolerant.

  • Egbu Yugo

    Will the agitators listen?

  • Armel Clau

    WHO IS IGBO????? WE ARE BIAFRAN. SO STOP ALL THESE SCRAP. WE DON’T NEED POLITICIANS BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL CORRUPT AND LOOTERS. OUR LEADER IS NNAMDI KANU AND HE IS THE ONLY ONE THAT WILL SPEAK FOR BIAFRAN’S.