The month of June began on an exciting note for us as the Oxbridge Club of Nigeria (Alumni Association of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge) and the United Kingdom’s Shadow Secretary of State, Diane Abbott MP (the first black woman to be elected to the UK Parliament) came to spend some time with internally displaced persons in Lagos.
Ier Jonathan-Ichaver welcoming everyone while Sesor’s Habiba Bakare interprets
Some of the IDPs present at the event
On hand to receive them were the displaced, who told their amazing stories of survival and hope, the Sesor team and Sesor’s Advisory Board Member, Soni Irabor.
It was a sobering time as we heard from a young man named Peter*, whose family members were killed by Boko Haram and how he has been dealing with the loss as well as surviving in Lagos.
We also heard from a resilient and fiery young woman named Hannah*, with 5 children on her struggle to survive in Lagos and how she manages to send her children to school and work.
Fela Akoni (President of the Oxbridge Club), Nkiru Asika (Vice President) and Uju Idigo (Secretary) held discussions with the displaced as to how they were managing to survive in Lagos and onhow they could get more sustainable educational support for displaced children to be in school.
When asked by Diane Abbott what the government could do to help, the IDPs responded that they want faster and stronger government action to completely tackle the insurgency, equip the military efficiently to conquer the Boko Haram terrorists and secure education for their children in state schools in Lagos as they cannot afford private schools.
Sesor’s Executive Director also called for more support from the government for displaced persons who have fled outside the North East to cities such as Lagos
The one thing that struck us was their apparent readiness to forgive the terrorists and their strong faith that they would survive the difficult period with God’s help. That, according to Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, is without doubt a show of uncommon compassion.
One of the displaced men sharing his story
Another displaced man sharing his story
(L-R) Uju Idigo, Nkiru Asika, Fela Akoni, Diane Abbott MP & Bell Ribeiro Addy
Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, Soni Irabor, Diane Abbott MP, the IDPs and the Oxbridge Alumni
Ier Jonathan-Ichaver and Diane Abbott