Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Human Rights, Go-Slow, Ebola Scare

 Human Rights Watch Report

Human Rights Watch released its report yesterday on Boko Haram and the treatment of those who have been abducted by the group in Nigeria. Their report is based on interviews of “30 individuals who were abducted by Boko Haram between April 2013 and April 2014, and 16 others who witnessed the abductions. The victims, including 12 students of the Chibok School who escaped from Boko Haram custody after they were abducted, provided further details of the abuses they endured.”

At least 500 women and girls have been abducted since 2009 . The Human Rights Watch report calls on the international community and the Nigerian government to take action to protect women and girls. It asks for the capture and prosecution of those involved in all human rights abuses, including government militias and even government troops, applying transparent international standards of fair trial.

The summary I read concludes, “Human Rights Watch urges Boko Haram to comply with the principles of international humanitarian and human rights law and to end immediately the killing, maiming, rape, and abduction of Nigeria’s civilian population including students, which has suffered greatly over the past five years.”

Into the Go-Slow by Bridgett Davis

Into the Go-Slow by Bridgett Davis

Into the Go-Slow

I loved reading about Into the Go-Slow, in this post by Ainehi Edoro in her blog Brittle Paper. She says, “Stories about African Americans going off to Africa in search of things past and lost have become familiar. But Into the Go-Slow (2014), by American novelist, Bridgett Davis, breathes a new life into this classic motif.”

Edoro praises the author for her ability to convey the atmosphere of Lagos and Kano. She says, “The part of Angie’s (the heroine’s) story set in Lagos is a series of intriguing encounters with the chaotic welter of Africa’s most loved and most frustrating city.”

A wonderful description of Lagos – chaotic indeed, but always fascinating. I wonder how Bridgett Davis became connected to Nigeria. Maybe I’ll email her and ask!

I want to read this book. Do you? You can find it at The Feminist Press.

Ebola Scare

I had to call an ambulance on Sunday to take my husband to the emergency room at Norwalk Hospital. He has c-diff, which my daughter could explain but I can’t. Maybe you know of it? He’s recovering well.

Westport EMS vehicle

Westport EMS vehicle

I’m telling you because I want to share the story of the Westport Emergency Medical Services team arriving at our house. When I called, the person who answered asked if he had traveled recently. I answered, “He returned from Nigeria six weeks ago. He was not in contact with anyone related to Ebola in any way.”

I was looking out the window as the ambulance arrived. I was surprised to see not just the ambulance in the driveway but also a police car blocking our small road. I walked down the steps, opened the front door, and walked out to greet them and show them in. “Stop right there!” one of the drivers called out, holding up his hand in warning. “Don’t come any further.” I went back inside.

The phone rang; it was one the Emergency Medical team members calling me. I waved to him as I answered his questions. He said he had to call a couple of physicians and would let me know if they could transport my husband.

Eventually they must have received reassurance. The police left and the EMS people came in to help Clem into their waiting vehicle. The man who had ordered me to stop apologized. “I’m sure you can understand why we were worried,” he said.

These volunteers are a valuable and valued resource in Westport. I am grateful to them. And I wonder if they’ve had other Ebola scares.


Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Dear Cathy,

    thank you for your suggestion to read the book by Bridgett Davis.
    It is available here and I have just ordered it in my local bookstore.
    The last few days have been full of reminicences about he 80s in
    Nigeria, I spent a few days in Vienna with Erika Oshiga – you might remenber
    her as Erika Falk – and at the moment I have Heidi Nnoli staying with me for a few days. Both will soon join your blog as I told them about your nice contributions.
    Best regards

    • Thank you, Brigitte. Let me know what you think about the book.

      Sounds like you’re having a lot of fun with old friends. I do remember Erika Falk’s and Heidi Nnoli’s names. Please pass on my greetings. I look forward to ‘seeing’ them on my blog.

  2. Thank you Catherine for sharing this information.

    In the Human Rights video – “Hauwa” abducted in September 2013 mentioned a very disturbing points that I only hope we, as Nigerians should stop saying to the victims of BH – ‘not to dwell in her bad experience’ How could one not dwell in that horrifying experience? The fact that there are still some people in the hands of BH is enough to give endless nightmares to those that managed to escape. I do hope that these ladies will be given adequate opportunity to talk about what they have experienced rather than ‘move on and look on to God’ mentality.

    Many thanks. FO

    • Thank you, Folakemi. I agree with you. I read in the HRW report that there has been some effort to give support to the women and girls, but it is not adequate nor reaching everyone. We need to keep talking about the need for this and not let people forget those who’ve escaped and those still held.