A book authored by a 16-year-old Nigerian girl, Maadiah Johnson, was on Saturday launched in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The book, Clawed to Death, is a fictional prose about a boy who lost his father at a tender age and had to struggle all the way, against all odds.

“We (women) are not meant to be raped, butchered, murdered and trafficked,” Miss Johnson, an SS2 student, said at the launch, apparently denouncing the rise in gender-based violence in Nigeria.

The 26-year-old female job-seeker, Iniubong Umoren was raped and brutally killed in April in Uyo by a 20-year-old man, Uduak Akpan who had lured her with a fake job offer.

Nigerians have been putting pressure on the police to bring Miss Umoren’s killers to justice.

Women in Nigeria should be treated as “queens” and assisted to grow their talents, said Miss Johnson who informed the dignitaries that turned up for her book launch that she started writing the novel when she was just 10.

She said she lost the motivation to go further at some point. Five years later, during the COVID-19 lockdown, she picked up, finished her work which is on sale on Amazon.

The book launch was part of the activities for the monthly reading of the Uyo Book Club, and was graced by several authors, including Anietie Usen, the author of the award-winning novel, Village Boy; Ekong Sampson, and Udeme Nana.

Miss Johnson’s mentoring project, Raise them Queens, was also inaugurated.

Her parents, family members, and friends attended the event.

“I had a talent, I had a story. I had something that is going to motivate other children to keep writing. If I kept that story without showing it to the world it is me deliberately reducing value from society,” Miss Johnson said.

She said she was delighted to see the number of people who came around to show support for her work.

Mr Usen, who chaired the event, described Miss Johnson as the ‘youngest author in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region’.

He said, “There is something about this kind of event. It is the realisation that writing is a gift. It is a dash from God.

“The good thing about Maadiah is that she discovered this gift in time which is something parents must do to help our children discover what God injected into them in time.”

Mr Sampson, a lawyer and author of several books, described Miss Johnson as “a future Nobel Prize winner”.

Mr Nana, the founder of Uyo Book Club and a journalism teacher, pledged to ensure that Akwa Ibom, Nigeria and the world celebrate the young author.

A senator and former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, who participated in the event via zoom, congratulated Miss Johnson and promised to host her in Abuja.

“Every girl child should be seen as an honour and a solution to society,” the young author said proudly at the event.

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