Hadiza Jubrin, a 34-year-old mother of three lost her husband on Nigeria’s Independence Day in 2015 when a female Boko Haram suicide bomber blew him off.
She is one of the many wives of the members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), a volunteer vigilante group in Borno State, who were killed while helping the Nigerian military fight insurgency. They left behind wives and children.
Hadiza told HumAngle that she no longer looks forward to Independence Day the way she used to, because “it constantly brings back sad memories.”
“My husband was killed by a female suicide bomber who hugged him on Oct. 1, 2015, when he tried to stop her from invading a crowded place in front of our home,” she said.
The October’s multiple bombings followed after dozens of Boko Haram suicide bombers invaded Maiduguri and attacked several locations in the city’s suburbs, killing over 100 people and injuring as many as 97 others.
HumAngle reported that on that day, explosions thundered and echoed around the city at about 7.30 p.m. and did not cease till about 10 p.m. Soldiers of the Nigerian military continued to fire their rifles all through the night.
“I never knew that my husband, who was a member of the CJTF, was killed by the closest explosion that happened near our house until much later at night when I waited for him to return, but he never showed up,” she recalled.
At the time, Hadiza was four months into the pregnancy that produced her third child. “I nearly lost the pregnancy after they broke the sad news to me, but God intervened, and I was able to carry on till I delivered Ali, who is now seven years old,” she said.
Hadiza had to cope with the trauma of losing her husband in such a cruel manner and the difficulties of parenting her three children — Abubakar, Halima, and Ali.
Her experience is just one of the many unreported stories of young women who became widows during the not-ending insurgency in the northeast.
Now, Hadiza had to shoulder the responsibility of caring for the children on her own. But all she can offer doesn’t go beyond feeding and clothing them.
She had to join her parents in Biu, a town 185 km south of Maiduguri because none of her late husband’s relatives was willing to support her.
The woman said her greatest concern has been the future of her children. She faces challenges paying for their education.
“Sometimes, I cry and even question why my husband would go and offer himself for such a thankless job that ended up taking his life and leaving his family in a state of penury,” Aisha lamented.
Recently, the Borno State government rolled out a support scheme for the orphans of slain CJTF members and hunters who lost their lives in the course of helping soldiers fight Boko Haram.
A total of 300 boys and girls were selected from bereaved families of slain auxiliary soldiers to benefit from a N300 million grant from Borno State. This will support the children in enrolling on primary school and through the next five years.
Governor Babagana Zulum, while flagging off the scholarship scheme, said the 300 selected children form part of the first phase of the scheme and his administration would ensure that the children, who are willing to be educated, would get government support up to the tertiary level of education.