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My uncle said we’ll die wretched, Aisha Yesufu recounts childhood trauma


Aisha Yesufu Remi Tinibu

Human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu, says she suffered emotional and psychological abuse, as a child, at the hands of her uncle who, ironically, is now a pastor.

The co-founder of #BringBackOurGirls movement, who relived the experience in a lengthy Twitter thread, further disclosed how her maternal uncle told her she will die poor.

She wrote, “My mother’s immediate junior brother told my mother and myself in the presence of my grandmother, his mum, that we will die in poverty and wretched. He said a lot of nasty things to my mum that he had been saying to me that I never told my mum. I was living with him then and in JS3.

“I will never forget how my mum wept bitterly. This was a man my mum practically raised. When he got married, he couldn’t afford rent and lived with us. When he started a daycare centre and school my parents invested in for him.

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“When poverty struck us he became nasty! Poverty is a canceller!

“I lived with this uncle for a year because his house was close to my secondary school and will relieve my parents of the burden to pay transport fare. My father reluctantly allowed me to live with him after much pressure from my grandmother, his mother-in-law.

“After the dressing down my uncle gave to my mother and I, my grandmother told me to go back to my home, that God that provided a way for my parents to pay school fees will provide a way for the transport fare. That was how I went back ooh.

“I saw hell in my Uncle’s house and I never said a word to my parent. It was years later I told my parents some of the things I went through…

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“The one that gives me the chills today is how he and his wife used to lock me out and I was forced to sleep at the main entrance into the house and this house had two men who were students at BUK (Bayero University Kano) and also his wife’s brother who was serving. What if?!

“I used to be the one to sleep last and I will wake up very early. I didn’t want anyone to know I was sleeping at door leading to the house. For me, it was the shame of anyone finding out. I never thought of rape. Today I wonder what if?…

“…Poverty is a bastard! Dem no dey accuse rich man pikin of witchcraft na only poor man pikin dem dey say na witch.

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“…Those people showed my grandmother pepper. She was sick. They will be blasting music and when she will beg them to reduce the volume, they will increase it. My uncle neglected his mother – a woman that gave her all to her children.

“My grandmother vowed never to return to Kano. Indeed, she never did. She died not long after. She collapsed in the toilet and became paralysed. My mum had to go take care of her. This uncle, even when he finally did go home to visit his mum, it was to berate her and my mother

“Anyway, my grandmother never recovered from that sickness and she died on the 30th of August 1988. 33 years ago. I was 14!

“That my Uncle? He is a man of God today, preaching to people. God is merciful!” (sic.)