My name is Usman Abdul. I'm a Northerner, from the Hausa Tribe and I am not a Boko-Haram.
I was born in the North over 30 years ago. I spent most of my adult years in the North before all my family members were killed in a bomb blast. All my relatives were nowhere to be found: no friend or family. I was on my own.
I was fortunate to join some travellers going to the Southern part of Nigeria. I lived there for a while before relocating again.
Now, I am a cobbler here in Bodija, Ibadan, the Western part of Nigeria.
Over the years, I've seen people look at me with scorn on their faces. They treat me as if I was personally to be blamed for the destruction of lives and properties going on in the North.
How do I tell them that I lost my parents, siblings and newly married wife and son to the same upheaval? How do I tell them I'm also a victim of circumstance. But they won't hear me out: they think because I'm Hausa, I surely must be one of them.
An average brother of mine in any part of Nigeria other than the North, also wants peace. We want a happy neighbourhood. We want our fathers and mothers back. We didn't ask that our mothers be raped by greedy and selfish men. We didn't ask that we be raised on the streets.
We want to live and be amongst people.Most of us are bike riders, beans, fruits and onion sellers, suya sellers, cobblers, cloth menders, kiosk owners or security guards in several communities in the South, East and West. We are as important in any part of Nigeria as the indigenes living in it, simply because we are Nigerians.
I love my country passionately. I dream of a time when the outside world will stop looking down on us. I dream of a time when they won't think nothing good can come out of us but, bloodshed & corruption. I look forward to the period when my brothers and sisters will stop begging and asking for alms in Nigerian streets. I look forward to a period when the outside world will start respecting my brothers and I simply because we are humans & we can bring tangible solutions to our nation.
I've been mending shoes for years now. My dream is to own a shoe factory where shoes of different kind can be manufactured. I have always dreamt of owning my own company where people can come to have their own kind of dream shoe being manufactured.
Unfortunately, the insurgency in the North makes people think we are worthless, valueless & irrelevant. My people are victims of terrorism and blood shed. We should not continue to pay for it. Our ancestors are part of the story that birthed this Great Nation.
Yes, I'm black. Yes, I'm proudly an Hausa man from the Northern part of Nigeria. But I'm not Boko-Haram.