Three Nigerian students who once were kidnapped or had a family member killed by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria have graduated from American universities this spring. Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu recently earned degrees from Southeastern University in Florida, while Zion Faye earned a master’s degree from Keck Graduate Institute in California.
These educational achievements represent a new milestone in the life of the Nigerians whose future seemed all but shattered not long ago when Boko Haram terrorists — who have an avowed hatred for Western education and a desire to create a caliphate in Northern Nigeria — stormed the residence and school of the girls and left their trademark sorrow, tears and blood on their trail.
Assassination and kidnapping
First to swallow the bitter pill was Zion, the daughter of Umar Pama Faye, a Borno State-based pastor and secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria who was assassinated by terrorists in May 2013. The pastor was killed despite the pleading of his daughter, Zion, that they spare his life. They shot him and injured Zion in the process, leaving her with a bullet lodged in her head. That put her own life in danger, but the young girl came out of the hospital stronger.
A year after that tragedy, Joy and Lydia had a taste of Boko Haram’s viciousness when their boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, was invaded at night by the fearsome militants who rounded up the girls with more than 270 others and drove off in a truck. As the vehicle roared off and began its journey to who knows where, Lydia and Joy summoned courage and jumped out of the truck. They were not the only ones, as more than 50 of the girls reportedly either escaped that night or in the days after.
After those tragic incidents, Joy and Lydia later found their way to the United States with the help of the Jubilee Campaign, a Virginia-based human rights group. They went on to complete high school at Canyonville Christian Academy in Oregon and have now, against all odds, graduated from Southeastern University, a private Christian school.
Dana Davis, chief communications officer at Southeastern University, confirmed that Lydia and Joy earned their degrees from the institution. “I can confirm that both Joy and Lydia were students at Southeastern University. They graduated in April. Joy earned her bachelor’s degree in social work, and Lydia earned her bachelor’s degree in legal studies,” she said. The university also published a photo of the women on its website.
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SOURCE: Baptist News Global, Anthony Akaeze