Bring Back Our Girls


When you meet Fatima Habib   you would think she is in her late 30’s because of her wealth of knowledge and go getting spirit, The 19 year old undergraduate from Borno state is the founder of of Advocacy for Human Value Foundation. An initiative she started when she was just 14 . Fatima has organised over 15 projects across Northern Nigeria, Impacting lives and giving voiceless women a voice. She is also the first Girl to work on the Fight Against illiteracy in the North and the First to lead the Bring Back Our Chibok Girls in her state.

Fatima shares her story with me in this interview as she expresses her passion for Northern women and the need to help them find their place in the society

Childhood Influence

My parents were my first teachers. Things they say and do, their way of being and relating to me and others, laid the foundation for many of my beliefs, values, attitudes and respect to people around me.

I attended my Secondary School (Adeola International School Abuja) also contributed in some of these after my parents laid down the basic foundation for me to Startup life.


I was born in the year 1999 September 23rd. I am Kanuri by tribe and hail from Maiduguri, Borno State. I had my Primary and Secondary Schools at Adeola International School Abuja and later moved to Maitama Model Secondary School Abuja to complete my SSCE in 2015.

I am the Founder of Advocacy for Human Value Foundation (a Non-Governmental Organization registered by Corporate Affairs Commission in February 2017). I am as well an activist who is advocating against the negativity of child sexual exploitation and promoting girl-child education and almaJiri education system in Nigeria. I am currently studying Political Science at the University of Maiduguri  (year 3) and also an alumni of Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali)

Touching lives

About thousand of people’s lives have been impacted and shaped with my foundation as we have been able to give children their right education by enrolling them in schools and funding their education. We have done a lot of fund raising on social media platforms and also television in providing hospital expenses to the people with special disabilities ( Vulnerable members of the society). Periodically, I visit the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri and hold discussion session with some of our targets where we talk out the problems faced by them.  This leads to curing of trauma and depression amongst the vulnerable members in the various camps we visited.  I recently started the advocacy on Sexual exploitation. We advocate to make these victims become more stronger, well-informed so despite the daunting challenge they could be able to speak up and change the face of the world.

Work challenges

Combining school and charity work,I will never advise others to try this because this is the worst way of taking the risk. It’s so challenging. Sometimes you are at work and an important class is going on and sometimes while in school and an important meeting or conference of Humanitarian nature is going on that may require your attention.  Another challenge I face is lack of an office accommodation which would have emboldened me perform and achieve better than what I am doing at the moment.

Starting at age 14

 During our secondary school, as students we were taken to orphanage homes on excursion several times by my school Adeola International School and in most cases the way and manner the orphans positively behaved and acted made me emotional. The thought of what the future held for them and given the minus of not having both parents spurred me to develop the interest of helping the orphans and the less privileged members of the society.

Supporting Northern women

I am trying to make women get access to capital and also empower them in collaboration with some entrepreneurs so they learn entrepreneurship because Women run 30% of all registered businesses worldwide, yet only 10% of women entrepreneurs have access to the capital they need to grow. Partnerships are crucial: mobilising the skills and resources of public and private sectors creates a bigger impact than working in isolation.

 Other Projects

As my religion preaches humility in giving, also advocates feeding the hungry, regardless of race, religion or background. It is such an important part of the religion that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said a person is not really a Muslim if he goes to bed satiated while his neighbor goes hungry. In line with the above I have initiated and executed the following projects and programmes so far in 17 states to my credit:- Fundraising workshop, Outreach to Christian and Muslim widows , Community awareness on HIV/AID, sponsoring 20 children through school and many more.


My greatest reward was my recognition as the Youngest humanitarian of the year 2017, Nigerian Goodwill ambassadors award.

In five years…

I see my organisation Successfully deep into Humanitarian Activities; done with strata of schools having equipped myself to face challenges of life and established orphanage-home and college inshaa-Allah

My Inspiration

Let me start with the man whose character, intellectual milieu and philanthropic gesture to whosoever approaches him in the day, middle of the night or at whatever condition you get to him are very rare in our world of today. He is Dr. Mohammed Kyari Dikwa mni, a Permanent Secretary designate in the Federal Government of Nigeria, also Dr. Zainab Bagudu (the Kebbi state First Lady) whose Medicaid Cancer Foundation similar to my Foundation’s objectives remains dear to my heart as a woman. I also had the opportunity of meeting Hajia Laraba Shuaibu (a barrister who works with my dad in Corporate Affairs Commission) in 2014 with my siblings. She had a cupboard-of awards displayed in her sitting room which I believe was as a result of her versatility, network and consistency towards her work and profession.

Being a Woman of Rubies

 I am very ambitious. Supporting and encouraging people to pursue their own goals and dreams, I make my own as well. I have a vision for my future and chase after it with voracity.

Advice to women

 Try to stay positive by being a positive thinker so I positively shape the lives of the vulnerable members of the society for them to believe in positivity too.

Rebecca Sharibu, mother of abducted Dapchi Girl Leah Sharibu, is suing the Federal Government and demanding the sum of ₦500 million in damages.

Leah Sharibu remains the only girl in captivity after 119 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, were abducted in February, 2018.

The abduction was carried out by Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP), a faction of the insurgent group Boko Haram.

The Cable reports that Rebecca, in a suit before the Lagos High Court, is suing the Federal Government and asking that they secure the release of her daughter.

Also named in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami and the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris.

The suit was, according to The Cable, jointly filed with Daniel David Kadzai and Lift-Up-Now Incorporation, a US-based organisation.

Part of the suit, made available to journalists, asked for an order “directing and mandating the defendants to secure the immediate and unconditional release of the plaintiff from the custody of her captors forthwith.”

The suit also requested for an order “compelling the defendants to employ every means in securing the plaintiff from the custody of her captors; an order compelling the defendants to pay the plaintiff the sum of ₦500 million being compensation for the indignities and human deprivations suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the defendants’ dereliction of statutory duties in securing her release from her captors since the month of February, 2018 till date of this action”.



Source: Bella Naija

When Bukky Shonibare, the Group CEO for the 555 Group, heard that the Chibok girls have been abducted, she could have decided to move on with her life and mind her own business; instead she decided to be part of those championing “Bring Back Our Girls Campaign”. It’s been emotionally and psychologically zapping for her, but instead of just ranting, she has dedicated every day since the abduction of these girls to advocating, writing articles, tweeting about the abducted girls, patiently waiting for their return. What makes this amazon remarkable is the fact that she has dedicated her time, money and resources to lend a voice to the plight of the victims of terrorism.

The Genesis

I was scrolling through my timeline on social media when I saw that girls had been abducted in North East, Nigeria. I didn’t know a place called ‘Chibok’ existed until the news started unfolding. For Bukky, the task of bringing back our girls is non negotiable and has to be done no matter the cost.

Identifying with the Chibok Girls

The first march of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, held on April 30th 2014, was one that gathered all agitators on this issue, of which I was one. We marched in the rain to the National Assembly to table our grievances. For me, joining the march on that day was my way of identifying with every girl that was abducted in and outside Chibok. I am a mother – what could the mothers be possibly going through? Fathers can be close to their daughters – what could these men be going through? Besides, I can relate with abuse and molestation, and how it can possibly turn one’s life around. So, the knowledge that they are with heartless miscreants with capacity to perpetrate just any inhumane act, including sexual exploitation and senseless killings, made my resilience stronger. I just want the relevant authorities to keep prioritizing the issue so as to ensure prompt action and result. Bottom line, that sheer sense of empathy that made me go out the first time still fuels me, and other campaigners, till date.”

Giving up on the cause? Never!

While my optimism was somewhat legitimately threatened in view of a protracted period of silence and inaction, giving up has never, and will never be, an option. I believe in the power of consistency. The same motive for continuing the day after the march (May 1, 2014), is the same that has kept me coming out; after all, it’s yet another day. Or how’s that day different from now if truly the motive is to have our girls back? Undeniably, hope has been severally dashed, with numerous failed expectations, but for me – and other campaigners, who know that for us to record a closure that is not only logical, but also worthy of a writable history, we must push and drive ourselves until a sensible outcome is reached. The numerous botched phantom ceasefire agreements, the ‘we-know-where-the-girls-are’ hype without actual rescue, the dashed hope that ensues after excitedly hearing or reading that another western government has pledged support, etc, are all sufficient reasons to think it is not worth it; but when I consider what is at stake if I give up; I realize that I would rather stay on the path of continuity and doggedness.

500 days without the Chibok girls

The sad reality that we hit 500 days without the girls returning was a very harsh one. I recall when we commemorated 30 days of abduction and then 100 days. That reality is rude! It slaps the very essence of humanity. How did we get to the point where young, innocent, and naïve girls – who have become a symbol of Nigeria’s systemic and institutional failure, would be abducted for months! I mean, it’s so sad. And now, we have had to experience those 100 days for 5 times. How long do we still have to wait? How much can a heart take?

Some Nigerians believe abduction never took place

The inability of several Nigerians to be empathetic in such a critical matter that bothers on our shared humanity is one that still beats me. To excuse or validate that sense of dismissiveness, several Nigerians have tried to interpret and box this abduction into a narrative that fits their stance. Unfortunately, that one thinks in such manner, and finds one or two more to think same, does not necessarily make that skewed narrative the truth. Till date, several Nigerians believe that abduction never took place. I find that heartbreaking because the more a large percentage of us denial or dismiss the possibility or the actual abduction, our ability to rally round – with one voice, one mind, for one cause, is eroded. And that is what happened to us. Several narratives in this direction emanated from blinded loyalists to the then ruling party and immediate past President. The abduction was, and still is, seen as politically and financially motivated. Some say we do this for political positions. At what expense? Lives of innocent girls? How cheap and sad! This same understanding caused slowness in taking relevant actions that requires urgency. Experts say that the action or inaction of the first 24 to 48 hours after abductionis a major determinant of the eventual outcome, positive or negative.

Handling criticism

I understand the power of focus! One reality I had to come to terms with is that not everyone is on the same page with us, and that alone is sufficient reasons to ensure adequate room for their opposing tantrums, lopsided interpretations, and baseless narratives. So, I have had to adjust expectations. However, as time goes by, my emotional immunity quotient is increased with the frequency and strength of these attacks. Truth is, it can sometimes get at me, but the picture of the anticipated future is worth bearing anything for. Besides, there is absolutely no mud thrown at us that can match what we have, by our dismissiveness and denial, caused the Chibok girls. No price, if any, is too much for this cause. Any of the Chibok girls – Hauwa, Kauna, Deborah, Amina, could have been my daughter, sister, niece, or cousin. If it were so, I would still be standing and waiting in anticipation for their return just as I do with the Chibok girls.

Looking back

I have always been drawn to the plight of others. 10 years ago, I started an NGO – The Light Foundation as a platform to cater for the plight of the downtrodden, based on different categories. Now, the campaign for the Chibok girls led to my desire to assist other victims of insurgency, especially the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). As a vehicle to drive support interventions, I conceptualized and birthed ‘Adopt-A-Camp’ (www.adoptacamp.org.ng).


Being a Woman of rubies

According to the mandate of the ‘Woman of Rubies’, three things are critical – virtue, value, and verve. I try to combine these three, even though I am not yet there. I am, like we all are, a work-in-progress. I am an imperfect being. However, I believe that exhibiting vigor in the face of the challenging advocacy for the Chibok girls is one that makes me a ‘Woman of Rubies.’ At some point, to guide what we do and don’t do, we developed a set of core values, which we all try to live by, consistently and unwaveringly. So, I am a ‘Woman of Rubies’ because I am consciously grooming myself to be virtuous, one that holds on to guiding principles, and one with vigor and a deep sense of enthusiasm.