(18th april, 2011)
We have lost all jurisprudence. Abused sanctity, loved hatred and sinned for sin. Is there not a way to see the good in worship? To think before condescending and approach intolerance with thought. I would like to see, to see reason in dying for no reason. I understand that my belief might be ridiculous, faith inane and hope unyielding. But is that not what keeps all of us going irrespective of tribe, race,religion, creed, or political standing?
The tension, the terror, the thought of been killed, the lust for blood, hunger for revenge and wish for sanctitude all have a similar cause- IGNORANCE. Would it be wrong to think that religion should be physically innocuous? Why would I want to fight for my God? Or kill in his name? Should we think of a remote cause- let’s say democracy!. But, doesn’t democracy give the individual the right to be his or her own oppressor?
It was a day for continuity, a day to live and let live. I was doing my laundry when a cry from outside the compound woke up the fear in me. ” Them they come o, make una run, them they come o, blood of jesus“.. I kept the soap down, locked my mother and my grandma inside the house and ran out to what was going on. We had heard of the possibility of a riot occuring last week, I thought it was imminent. At this time, I could only deal with emotions, thoughts where not welcomed. it was an amalgam of fear, indecision, doubt and utter confusion. On getting outside, one of the youths, threw a weapon at me and said- ” e don do, we don look this people reach, their father“. I grabbed the piece of heavy metal, not sure what to do with it, stared into nothingness for a second and followed him as we ran into the street with no regards for life and death and approximately 100 other youths.
The frenzy continued, “kai, kai,0 God! Dem don burn chapel of redemption“. The news of this ‘statement’ got the youths angry. To us, we were fighting for our lives. To them, they were winning, 4 churches had already been burnt. They were advancing to the fifth one, which was a stone throw away from my house when we heard another cry- “make una come o.. Kuuzo anan, them de hear” we turned, ran to the deeper life church and forced the infiltrators to withdraw. It is important to note here that while all these was occuring, the security men were no where to be found. They looked terrible, holding make shift bombs, painted their faces black and had seriously looking knifes. Knifes that for some strange reason where looking at me. My fear that went through the roof was slowly obeying the laws of gravity. I was now thinking, wondering, gasping for breath and frowning as if I had all the strength in the world, in the middle of individuals who had lost one important virtue- TOLERANCE!
At approximately 5 minutes later, the security men came in their van and took over. Begged us to calm down and go back to our houses. That did not sound right- we started screaming randomly-” go back go do wetin? Where una dey wen dem de burn churches? Aiigh, u people are very useless… Mcheeew” others where saying “we no de go anywhere, una de feck up, idiots, make we enta our house, make dem come meet us kill us inside like dem do for jos abi? Una no get sense“.
We ran back to our various ‘door mouths’ and waited all through the day, it was exactly 12:35pm and the sun seemed to be laughing at us but we barely responded. there were talks on the causes of the problem. I heard someone saying- “this big fools, na to de kill christian naim dem sabi, wetin consign us consign election? Wetin consign CPC consign burning of 4 churshes? Make them go burn INEC office na, ahn ahn” another replied- na idiots dem be na, all d pesson wey dem de fight for, de house na de drink juice de fork e wife” we all laughed at this point. The third guy came in-” today na today o. No sleeping o, everybody must come arside take pozishun, dem go feel am today, banzan aikee, shaygeh dan iska dan ubanka“.
And so it began!
Its 2;30am, today, the 19th of april, 2011. I have 2 cutlasses in hand, a fulani manufactured stick that I have considered not using because I have realized the cutlasses are kinder. The patrol teams have passed, talked to us and urged us to be vigilant. According to them- ” you people are doing very well, thank you for this, ar ma, pls be very kiaful“. This encouragement came after they almost shot at us. They were on foot, quieter than a grave yard, moving very swiftly and had almost got to our check point when we saw them. Everybody took cover.” Who are you?” They inquired, One of us named lucas replied- “kai, dan ubanka, who r u feefle, we r youths safeguarding our selps and pamilies” they replied “oya, tell ur leader to come out in the open”, lucas replied- “why?“. At this point, we were afraid because they all had cocked their rifles and where ready to shoot. After further dialogue, lucas did come out, talked with them and ‘whistled’ at us to come out. We did and they exchanged pleasantries with us and went on.
We went back to sit with our ‘partners’ and continued gisting – ifeanyi said to me – “guy, ow dat yor babe na” I replied- “ you be monkey o, u de reason babe for dis kind of condition? Kai, u be big goat!“. Uche interrupted-“abeg, una de disturb me, I de reason ma babe… Ifeanyi cut in and spoke in a low tone- “guy, who be that wey they come?“, we abruptly stood up, signaled the others and took our positions.
The person came close, stopped and wanted to take off, joe immediately seized him but before he could strike he realised that it was one of us.”Guy, y u de run na, u de mad o, u wan die”? The guy replied and said- ” I nono say na una na“.. “Oya go back ur post, e go be later” he did and so did we. We talked and abused each other all through the night, others where making calls to their girlfriends who hated the idea of a vigilante, others where struggling not to sleep… This went on until 5:30am when we all agreed to go to our various homes and retire to reconvene at 7:00pm. We had agreed to this because we knew the military presence would be mean during the day, plus it was a 24 hour curfew so nobody should be ‘seen’ outside.
At this point, I am sleepy. I just want to say that I live in a place where 99 percent of us are slaves to ignorance and can barely understand the concept of standard of living. If you can live on a dollar a day here you are a king! Am not sure if I would wake up alive, or if this sleep is my last. And am sure we all feel the same way. But for most of us… The lack, is a blessing. We would rather fight for our lives than die. We still like the reÀssuring taste of hope!.
***Austin Grey Ikazoboh***