Thursday, June 25, 2020 7:43 am
– HOW WE SHIELDED THE CHIBOK GIRLS FROM RACISM
In light of current events in the US, it is expedient to reveal more of my personal experience related to the subject of racism and policing in America and how the police killing of Eric Garner helped save my life during an ambush.
In December 2014, less than two weeks after the last batch of CHIBOK girls I sponsored arrived from Nigeria to school in the US, I flew down to their school on closing day.
I was supposed to have a Parent Teacher meeting about one of Borno orphans I had placed in the school previously so I reached out to the teacher. I was surprised when she texted me to meet her at the Principal’s office Instead of the dorm where we usually met to discuss in the past. I didn’t know it was a trap.
I left my hotel and drove to the school which is in rural location. Upon approaching the parking lot, I immediately noticed police cars strategically positioned around. As soon as they sighted me, I saw one officer jump out of the police car.
Once I parked and came out of my car, I was immediately surrounded.
The following transpired as I journaled then:
IT HAPPENED TO ME PT1:
My close shave with murder by cop in America (I first posted this on Facebook six years ago):
It is exactly 6 months ago today that I had my personal encounter with White Privilege. I had never heard of it before. I brought a dozen black kids to America and put them in schools.
At Christmas school break, I traveled all the way up to the school. Upon arrival, I was ambushed by a total of nine police cars.
“Are you armed?” one of the officers asked.
“No,” I replied.
“Well, your hands are in your pocket,” he insisted. This was December, it was winter and we were up in the mountains.
“I have no weapons, officer. May I bring out my hands?”
He checked with the band of policemen who surrounded and got a nod of assent.
“Yes,” he said.
“I am bringing out my left hand, officer,” I said.
“ok.” My hand came out slowly. Very slowly.
“I am bringing out my right hand now.” Again slowly. Very Slowly.
I stood for a while in the cold surrounded by these nervous policemen. This was a big deal in this small town in the south.
I could bear the cold no longer. My fingers were numb. Frostbite would kill me if the cops didn’t get me first…
“Officer, I need my gloves. My hands are cold. Can you get them out of my coat pocket?”
He drew near. I opened my jacket and he removed my gloves and handed them to me.
Finally someone came and told me what my crime was. “We were told you are not authorized to be here.”
Something in me got stirred up. “What do you mean I am “not authorized” to be here??? I brought kids and put them here. How can you tell me I am not authorized to see them???”
Everyone was kinda confused. A black guy surrounded by 9 police cars was not supposed to be talking back to White cops.
“You need to leave now sir.”
“Sure. I can do that but first I want you to take my statement of what just happened here that you denied me access to the children I put here in this school.”
“We don’t have anyone to take a statement. But since you are talking all lawyer-like let us see,” he offered.
I raised my hands to my neck and said, “I can’t breathe.” I was encircled by these armed, all-white police team and I needed this to deescalate quickly before anyone did anything really stupid.
Several hours later, I was finally freed. The cops did not kill me.
But what just happened here?
I was as close to death as I have ever been in my life, But this was not at the hands of the dictator General Abacha or the jihadist group Boko Haram. This was good all-American Christian folks. Friends…
The reason I speak is that I have been critical when dictators and terrorists do stuff like this. Should I stay silent when Christians do it too? If I must be consistent, isn’t what is bad for the goose, bad for the gander?
I do not want to get drawn into America’s race war. I have a religious genocide on my hands already. However seeing myself – not a certified thug by US standards yet (no skittles, no hoodie and not walking in the middle of the street) about to be extra-judicially executed, made me realize that even though I don’t live in the hood, I am not immune from this epidemic of black male killings. I may not be in the hood but someone put me in the hood because that is where I belong. The same way someone can view a church bible study group as hoodlums and blow them to bits after praying together for an hour…
I am thankful to the cops for not pulling the trigger on this negro. But I want people to know that the people who tried this before could try again – just in case anything happens to me. Shootin’ is the new lynchin’.
I have not forgotten December 18. It was my daughter’s birthday but I was in a small town in the South surrounded by 9 police cars set up by people who knew exactly what they were doing and what they were hoping to achieve. Thank God, I am still around for Father’s Day…
The white lady who set me up tried to deny it but all the white males who she conscripted into her plot confessed that it was her once it failed.
She offered me to sign an agreement not to disclose what happened but when I refused, she launched a campaign to discredit me so that no one would believe what she did to me.
Till today she’s still at it and of course being a white woman against a black guy, I don’t stand a chance – But God!
So today when I hear George Floyd saying, “I can’t breathe” I am reminded of that day when I too said those words to the police. It wasn’t because I couldn’t breathe physically but it was to send a message to the police to back down.
Eric Garner had just been killed in New York saying the same words. I do believe it was the activism around his death and the officers’ responding to my use of those words that saved the situation and my life because unlike random killings of unarmed black men, I had been set up and ambushed by the white woman.
When the police checked the records and saw that I was the guardian on record and the one who brought the Chibok girls to the school and not her, they asked the school head to settle with me and they left peacefully.
Although the town is a largely racist town in the Deep South of America, the school ironically had an 80% black African student population so we felt the Chibok girls would feel at home there.
Unfortunately as the Black Lives Matter movement picked up, one day a racist in the town drove to the Mountain Mission school and was parading the Confederate flag which stood for enslavement of blacks.
The police were called but refused to come for the white man trying to terrorize innocent black kids but ironically they came in their full force to harass me a guardian to six Nigerian students in that school. That is racism and White privilege for you.
Later they started spreading lies that the police were called because I brought media to the school.
There was no media with me when I went to the school for a scheduled Parent Teacher meeting – I drove there alone and was surrounded alone – but when they want to cover up their evil deeds, they will concoct all manner of stories against you.
The other school I put another six girls in was also in a rural place in Oregon state was a disaster.
Oregon is the only state in USA that actually banned the presence of blacks in the state. We were not aware of this ignoble history. As at 2013, the year before the Chibok girls arrived there, blacks constituted only 2% of the population!
After the girls arrived the school, we learnt that when they went to the store to buy things, people were staring at them strangely. Their local paper even published a story about them.
The school head turned them into a zoo and camera men were flying from all over the US to the school to come and record them. I was somewhere in Washington when one Hajiya Jamila Fagge or so who the school hired as interpreter for the girls again without my knowledge told me that there were being recorded on campus that day.
It was so bad that the school head Doug Wead actually announced on Voice of America that the girls lacked toiletries and that his staff had to sacrifice to provide for them! It was shocking and demeaning.
The worst part were some of the racially insensitive comments he made which I documented in my letter to him and in my report to US and Nigerian authorities. It is an Exhibit in my defamation lawsuit against Wall StreetJournal ( Wead sponsored the attack.) EXCERPT FROM PLAINTIFF OGEBE’S EXHIBIT:
“D. ILLEGAL SURVEILANCE/VIOLATION OF PRIVACY
Which leads me to the reason why I am now responding to you. I saw the display you made of the girls in Cosmo magazine, stating their names, pictures and locations. As if that was not enough, you provided personal details of the bath habits of the first girl I entrusted into your hands to the media. What kind of person snoops on a teenage girl’s bath?
When you returned from taking Mercy to school you told me that you went into her hotel room and saw a ring of dirt in the bathtub. According to you, “well I suppose if I had been captured by terrorists and held in a forest, I would probably leave a mark in the tub too.” From the pained expression on your wife’s face I could see that even she was uncomfortable with these highly inappropriate remarks by you. As troubled as I was by this incident, I reminded myself that your wife was in the hotel with you and Mercy during the overnight layover so that gave me some comfort.
To now see that you had the total lack of decency to repeat those remarks to the media and publish to the world that essentially you were spying on the girls’ bath time is disgusting to me on many levels. You have completely invaded her privacy and desecrated her personal space at the minimum and I regret that I trusted you with this girl. Seriously, who goes and times the shower time of a newly arrived foreign girl in her hotel room??? I can understand how you recorded President Bush but this one beats me silly!
Of all the odd things you have done, whether trying to ask money from the Moudys even though you had concerns about them hosting, asking money from us even though you “gave” a scholarship, trying to hijack our children, project and website even though you had no role in the development of this project, this is the incident that indicates to me that you may be in need of professional help.” (SEE PLAINTIFF OGEBE’S COURT EXHIBIT – Response to DIA Part 3 attached.)
The irony is that Wead is still parading two of the Chibok girls around the US for money till date. He used them as an excuse to go to visit the Trump White House from where he had previously left disgracefully after betraying US President Bush for profit.
In conclusion, the long and short of the American experience is that racism is real and thriving. However the good news is that the George Floyd episode has sparked the most massive spontaneous global human rights movement of our time. Hopefully the lesson of the 2020 lockdown is that mankind must combat airborne viruses as well as human borne viruses of racism.
I thank God for delivering me from the evil expectations of those who tried to set me up. If it’s not your time, God won’t allow them take your life.
The beauty of America is that members of the oppressive class or race will themselves advocate side by side with the victims for justice. In Nigeria, it is the poor whom you are advocating for who will attack you and even betray you. That’s one thing I love about America.
However I cannot in good conscience condemn human rights abuse in Nigeria and keep mute about similar acts in USA simply on the basis of race. The universality of human rights means fundamentally that what is bad in Greece is bad in Uganda. For the sake of intellectual integrity and moral consistency, the truth must be told.