A 33-year-old man, Ikenna Nzeribe, a survivor from the church massacre of 2012, that was orchestrated by Boko Haram sect, on Saturday said he can still remember the incident like it was yesterday even though its been three years now.
He said the scars on his face, neck and arm would ensure that he remembers that fateful day.
Nzeribe said that, himself and 13 other Christians hit the floor when the dread islamist sect stormed the church, and started shooting sporadically, and shouting “Allah Hu Akbar,” or God is great.
He said that the islamist came for them while they were mourning how the terrorist had earlier killed three of their church members.
According to him, the insurgent members shot 13 of their church members in the head, and it was now his turn to be killed.
“As soon as I saw the man, I knew it was over for me” Nzeribe said. “The only thing I could do was say a last prayer, which was ‘Blood of Jesus cover me.’ And that was it for me”.
The survivor, who is a banker by profession said he was shot in the face with an AK-47 rifle, which blew off his jaw, lips and part of his tongue.
He said he had no other choice than to fake death, until the jihadist finished their mayhem, adding that he was bleeding profusely.
“I would say I died in the process” he said. “But God brought me back to life.”
Nzeribe further revealed that he was taken to a local hospital in Mubi, Adamawa State, before he was flown to London, where surgeons reconstructed his face.
The survivor recalled that when he looked at the mirror after the surgery, all he could see was a different person as zigzagging scar runs up his chin to his upper lip.
His mouth too is disfigured, but at least he can talk, in soft tones, and has a great laugh, although he can’t smile.
Nzeribe, who disclosed that he had undergo more than a dozen surgeries, said more were still pending.
He is currently receiving treatment in Houston, where he lives with his wife and baby, though his immigration status is being worked on by his attorney, Frank C. Onyenezi.
“We’ve come a long way” he said of his surgeries and reconstructed face. “It gives me confidence. It gives me hope.”
Nzeribe, whose tale has been publicized in the religious press, said he has forgiven the assailants.
“The first thing I did was to forgive them” he said. “Had they known better, they couldn’t do that”.
He, however, warned against Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leaders’ atrocities and impunity.
“Everything he says he will do, he does them” Nzeribe said. “It gives them a sense of fulfillment and makes them want to do more. Just like al Qaeda, they are very, very destructive”.
Nzeribe prayed for the over 234 abducted school girls in Nigeria.
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