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AISHA EDWARDS:The Fighter (part2)

 

I then got a job as a Teacher

I ran away from Enugu and followed somebody to Lagos. It was an Army officer I followed just at least to see Lagos for the first time in my life and to stay alone and work. My thoughts then were that my family can not fight the army officer and they won’t be able to know where I was. Because GSM was not even in circulation that time. When I went to Lagos, I started teaching. I applied to teach at Command Secondary School, Oshodi. As God would have it, I was employed, though as a temporal staff. I explained to the Commandant then of my plight and that I was a student of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, though, I didn’t tell him of my background, because that would have scared him away. I just told him I was looking for a job and I had my people staying in Lagos. Then again, I was always breaking down due to the stress of the job and my salary was just four thousand naira. Then, how was I coping because I was an expensive child already and my medical bills were forty to fifty thousand naira. So, I had to do something to augment and survive. I started taking children on private lessons, charging each child five thousand naira. So, monthly I made fifty thousand naira from ten children.

When it became too bad, I relocated to my brother’s house in Lagos. My brother then, was so supportive. At a time, I broke down again when there was bomb blast at Ikeja. I went for an activity and the incident took place, so I scaled over the fence and had scars, that I bled badly. My brother was so angry that he said I wont work there again. I was hospitalized but the Airforce and Military officers came to see me and paid my bills. After then I told my Commandant, that my brother was no longer happy with my job and wants me to resign because he had already resigned just to take care of me in the hospital. The Commandant said they can’t release me just like that because I was good at what I did, and I had exposed the school to a lot of innovations and competitions through my youthful exposures. The Commandant then said he would take care of my medical services and accommodation but my brother said no! He wanted me to go continue with my education. My Commandant agreed and said he would support me through my academics. So, I had to take my transcript to Unilag. When my brother disagreed over all the offer, they gave to me, I had to rebel against him and went to the transit camp where my military bosses kept me.My neighbors were medical Doctors and they took care of me.

My parents saw me on National Television

So, I went on with my job and I organized a competition for the old students of Command School. I made a presentation which got me awards from five state governors then. It was that event that exposed me to National TV, which made my parents to know I was in Lagos all the while they were looking for me. Even the Bishop got to know then he took a flight to Ikeja to trace me where I was. Thank God we had a successful reunion with my family. I then had the nerve and opportunity to tell them how I felt. That they never allowed me to be what I wanted to be, never had the freedom to be myself and I would have been better if they had given me the chance. I think everyone became sober and they promised to be of help if I needed that.

So, that’s how I survived working in the military. The Directorate reached a decision to promote me after that event, so I was redeployed to Army public relation, my salary started rocketing from forty to fifty and from that to hundred thousand. From Public Relations, I went to Directorate of Military Intelligence to do some investigative work on crime. I also worked with the Military Police, as their PR Person, Watchdog Magazine. I think I was the one that started Dragon Magazine, Eighty Division, Villain Magazine. I went to Nigeria Defense Academy too in Kaduna. The people in Defense sought for me, so the three Tri service can gain from my work. I was posted to NDA. In NDA, I was posted for peace keeping operations in Sudan and Liberia. I was then paid in foreign currency. When I was there, I did a magazine on my trip to Liberia.

In Sudan, it was tough. That was where I had the gun shot that affected my leg. You can see I walk with a stick. I was with my camera trying to capture events and suddenly a stray bullet got to my legs. Well I survived that through a surgery and afterwhich I was flown back to Nigeria. I tried to settle down then, because if I had died, I was not married, no child, my life would have ended just like that. So, I went on with that, and I met my husband in the course of doing my job. I went to Kano to interview the then Governor of Kano State, Shekarau, because Sharia was at its peak then. I had to interview him on Sharia Laws and how it affects other religions. It was during the interview I met my husband. He was a first-class Emirate ruling council, the grandson of the Emir. The way I was challenging the Governor with questions caught my husband’s attention and he sought to know me.That was how we started and we got married. So, I started living in Kano barracks not only because of my husband but my job. Not so long I lost my husband by then I was pregnant, and I had my child in Armed Forces Hospital Kano, they took my child back home and I continued with my job. Although I passed through a lot of depression when my husband died, the pregnancy, delivery, my health challenge. The church was no longer there for me. Even family and friends were not there for me. I was alone in depression.It was one of the most challenging moments of my life, my father sometimes send my Mum to come take care of me.

Well, after that, I got back to NDA again. My legs were getting bad and my health deteriorating and I was far from my daughter, so I had to go back to my parents to get attention. So, a friend of mine who is a military officer helped me and I started Dragon Magazine in Enugu under the Military at eighty-two Division. My workplace at NDA then were still calling me to return but I declined because of my health. During that time another call from the Army Headquarters to come investigate an issue and write, so I finished with Dragon Magazine and started investigative reporting of Watchdog Magazine and after that, I had it published and decided to throw the towel and go attend to my medical need. So, that’s how I left the Military, because I was becoming a stranger to my daughter  who is my biggest treasure in life. I chose to pay more attention to my daughter and live a normal life.

And then I started coming to Anambra to investigate and write on kidnap raids at Ora-Ifite. I made my own contributions and after the kidnappers were raided, I decided to take my own rest from there. Though, the kidnappers attempted to go kidnap my daughter from her school and after the shocking experience I relocated my child to an unknown place,so we could continue our lives quietly.

HOW DID YOU START APLWSCD?

Having enjoyed all the first class and queenly treatment given to me in the Military, I came out as a civilian and saw how people were making money out of the Sickle Cell scourge, I felt bad.Every crisis episode,especially that of the missionary hospitals is nothing less than one hundred and fifty thousand naira. I have written a couple of petitions to the Bishop about that and I think he is doing something about that. Those days Sickle cell patients are detained in the hospital when they cannot offset their bills and they become beggars, this I think is a crime against humanity. These Sickle Cell patients are not the architects of their problems, the society is doing nothing to sensitize people about this. These children don’t get the average care, they should have in life. Recently I toured the 21 LGAs in Anambra state to visit widows, the wife of the Governor gives them machines, foodstuffs etc annually. But every year, none of these widows come out with something substantial, they only receive. Most times, these widows are the ones that gave birth to the sicklers, and they do nothing to make them better. If widows are that impoverished, how much more a sicklers? So, no provision for people living with sickle cell in all stands of life. The abuse is even more in the religious institutions (churches, mosques). The marriage institution starts from the Church. It’s the Church that has sentenced us in the first instance before the torturous journey of our birth and after our birth. It was the Church that witnessed the day we were sentenced to death through all kinds of marriages. There is no Church today that has a genotype testing machine. Today the Children of some religious leaders  are sicklers, why? Are they not the ones that are supposed to educate people on this? Moreso, Doctors and Pharmacists don’t send interns or Corps members to teach people about genotype, blood group etc., because the birth of Sickle Cell children gives them more money. That is why they have opened more private hospitals. Sickle cell patients consume hard drugs just like Cancer and critical accident patients. When you take this drugs for a period of time, you become addicted. Without these drugs you can’t live.

 

TO BE Continued.

 

 

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Mercy Hill

Mercy Hill here, join me on a vast and interesting journey to explore hot gists, people, places and cultures. I am a Journalist, writer, traveler, a level 5 Google Local Guide, a member of the Nigerian Google Crowdsource, a Film editor and a photographer.

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