#Article (Archive)

A horrible experience, returnee narrates how she lost her womanhood on ‘backway’ journey

Mar 13, 2020, 11:54 AM

(Thursday 12th March 2020 Issue)

Since migration has become one of the trending issues luring youth in embarking on such a perilous journey, many youth especially women have had horrible experiences that they could never forget.

International Organisation for Migrants (IOM) in partnership with the Women Journalists Association in recognising International Women’s Day, organised a day workshop on how to report on migration issues.

The training brought together 20 female journalists from various media houses.

During her journey to Nigeria, a Gambian woman (name withheld), a returnee shared her experience on how she survived on her way with the aim of going to Europe.

“I needed a better living to help my mother,” she explains. A Nigerian woman came to her and told her there are many Gambians in Nigeria and “I can help you,” which she agreed to.

Then, she said she took the bus from Banjul and went through the ‘backway’. “When we reached the entrance to Nigeria, our bus was attacked by rebels and some died and some of us were raped. That is where I lost my virginity.”

From there, she stayed in Nigeria and got a job where she was selling credit cards, magazines, and novels. However, a man came to her assistance and enrolled her in a school where she learned catering.

The man went on and opened a bank account for her. “The money was huge that I had to take half of it and sent it to my mum to renovate the house they live in.”

Furthermore, she stayed at the man’s house with his family and one fateful day the man went out with his children living the wife and her in the house. Later, the wife took a knife and threatened her to leave the house.

She continued that the wife drove her in her car to a bush she didn’t know.

Her journey, continued with a lady she met around the bush who assisted her.

Meanwhile, she said from the little savings she had, she helped her brother from The Gambia to come to Nigeria so she could help him cross over to Libya.

In Libya she said, her brother was imprisoned three times then she tried to go and find out what had happened.

She said they were imprisoned in Libya and a Nigerian man came and bought them.

She added that the Nigerian told them he bought them with a lot of money and so he was going to have something in return which is to involve them in prostitution. The man expressed his feelings to her and then got her pregnant which she later aborted.

“I suffered, she said. I met a Senegalese man who asked me to live with him but I declined and told him you have to marry me before I live with you and that’s how I married him.”

That was not the end of it, she said. “I found my husband with another woman in my matrimonial bed three times but I had a baby boy with him.”

At this stage, she concluded that she is struggling for her son and not the husband because he didn’t marry him for love but the conditions she was in.