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You cannot stay here

Father Raymond Tumba, a Nigerian priest serving in the UK, talks about the difficulties of life
in his home country

You cannot stay here

‘MY SON, HOW LONG ARE YOU
here in this village?’ my
mother asked. I told her, ‘One
month.’ Disappointment filled her face. She
said, ‘No my son, you cannot stay here
more than seven days. After seven days you
have to leave.’


I had taken time off from my work as a
priest in the parish of Crawley to visit my
home in Nigeria, but although at first she
was very happy to see me, my mum did
not want me to stay. Why? Because of an
encounter she’d had and what had
happened in the diocese, especially in my
village. This diocese was where Boko
Haram set up their headquarters. Boko,
meaning ‘book’, and Haram, meaning
‘forbidden’: ‘Western education is taboo.’
They believed churches and education go
hand in hand so they targeted where the
church was and devastated the diocese.
Quietly, a lot of terrible things happened.

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