For Marian Shaka, Osato Osaro & 24 Nameless Girls

I bet your ghosts were not stunned into surprise
when bulging and lifeless, your bodies emerged
from the sea to mourning:
‘who asked them to leave?
Prostitution was their choice.
May their bodies be ushered into hell fire
giving our country a bad name.
All this na the cause of suffering from our leaders.
Na government send them follow water?
They knew the risk.
You people should start asking God’s
You can call them anything,
but the fact remains
they were our daughters and sisters.’


We filed a missing persons report
for the official delegation to the funeral. If 26 of you
could fly to London to pose with Anthony Joshua, we
were sure at least two would fly to Italy. Maybe drive
down the road from the consulate in Rome. We were there
with the Italian woman who laid roses on the unmarked
coffins, the Africans who touched each coffin with tears,
we the diaspora stuck behind screens worldwide, there
to show last respects, hoping evidence of your attendance
would surface. Surprise us. When independent sources
confirmed your absence, we showed up again. With prayers.
‘May God punish you all. May the hottest parts of hell
be reserved for all politicians who budget billions
for their Kitchen Expenses but nothing for the welfare
of the common man. May the wheel of judgement fall
without mercy on each and every one of you. May thunder
blow you in pieces and may your days be dark. Let the souls
of these young ones cry out and pass a death sentence on all
who caused the economic hardship they were fleeing, all
who continue to lie, by saying:
It is well.’

* The quoted text was gathered from comments posted online in response to the deaths of 26
Nigerian girls drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and the government’s response to the tragedy.