It was afternoon and the scorching sun raged endlessly. Abigail Danjuma with four young girls could be seen engaged in their daily business under a tiny tree outside her house in Dama Bazhekpa, a village in Bosso LGA of Niger state, north-central Nigeria.
Some of the girls were making their hair while others were molding crumbs of cassava, pouring them lavishly into the hot pan of groundnut oil as they stirred and directed air to the weak flames heating the frying pot.
Abigail looked like she was enjoying the work. She smiled sheepishly as she responded to questions from the reporter. The 16-year-old girl started living with her uncle after the deaths of her parents. Her father died a long time ago; she couldn’t recollect the date. Her mother died in a car accident when she was returning from a church convention in December 2017.
A year after Abigail lost her mother, she dropped out of school. She said she could not comprehend the lessons taught in the class. At that time, she had just completed primary six at the Government Primary School at Gidan Kwano — a village about 38 minutes trek from Dama Bazhekpa.
school because I was not just getting anything taught in the class. It was very difficult for me; so, I thought I was not just knowledgeable and I had to stop going to school,” she said.
“Before then, I repeated class many times. No, my teachers never stressed us or took us to farms to work. I dropped out of school because I was not intelligent. I felt like my uncle was struggling too much and wasting money by sending me to school.
“I think about my mother every day. I am still very sad about her death. Every time I see other students answering questions in class. Some are friends with the teachers but I felt like nothing. I don’t think school is for children like me.”