Elizabeth Elijah was in the farm when death came calling.Unlike the proverbial August visitor, it bore no gift of courtesy or the perfunctory knock. On Friday, September 28, it arrived in the guise of the Nigeria Air Force (NAF)’s F-7Ni aircraft, crashing like a winged tenant of the sky, few metres from where the 15-year-old tilled the land.
According to Elizabeth, she arrived on the farm around 11a.m accompanied by her younger brother and a neighbour. “After working for some time,” her “brother complained of being thirsty,” so, they went to drink water at a nearby stream…But while they returned to work on the farm, they saw an aircraft charging towards them from afar.
“We tried to run but the breeze of the plane pushed us and I fell. I noted that some fragments of the crashed plane has injured me in the leg. I could not stand to work and I started shouting for help. My brother and the girl had to come to my rescue; they struggled to remove the object that entered my leg,” she said, in an exclusive chat with The Nation.
According to the 15-year-old, she was bleeding profusely and her sibling and neighbour’s child, who were younger, couldn’t lift her and take her home.
But just before she yielded to despair, “a man came around who claimed he knew my father and offered to carry me home. Then my father took me to a nearby hospital. They cleaned the wound and my father brought me back home but the pain was still much.
“After few hours the owner of the hospital came to our house and told my father that the chairman of Bwari Area Council has given an instruction that I should be taken back to the hospital to get my leg stitched. So they took me back and stitched the wound and after a while, I was taken back home,” she said, adding that apart from her leg, she also feels great pain in her hand and at her back.
Elizabeth’s travail would go unnoticed by the government but for a man who heard her mother, Victoria Elijah, narrate her ordeal to someone at the market, where she (Victoria) sold goods.
The man, according to Elijah, offered to help.
“Immediately, he called the Human Rights Radio and narrated everything to them, and the management of the radio station came to pick me at home around 11pm alongside the management of the Maitama General Hospital,” said Elijah.
However, it took the intervention of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) FCT Call Center and it’s head, Jummai Ahmadu, in bringing the incident of the 15-year-old to the attention of the FCT Administration, two days after it occurred. The FCT administration immediately rushed her to Maitama General Hospital, for proper medical care.
Soon afterwards, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, awarded her a scholarship “to any level” and ordered that her medical bills be taken care of by the FCT administration.
The victim, who hails from Kachia area of Kaduna State, but resides with her family in Chikoko village in Bwari Area Council of the FCT, was handed a scholarship form by directors cum representatives of the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC), the FCT Scholarship Board and FCT Call Centre for proper documentation, immediately after Bello’s declaration.
“The FCT Administration has decided to take care of all expenses for her education. The scholarship will take care of all her schooling. As soon as she is discharged from the hospital, the scholarship will commence.”