I had two weeks to my departure date, booked DAN flight from Abuja to Owerri. I was in high spirit because I am going home. Of late, I crave home. But the ikoro sounded, DANA has become insolvent. My heart snuck within me.
Should I cancel the trip or go by road? My liver started cutting, fear gripped me. How safe are the roads? Will I get to Azaraegbelu my home in good time?
After inquiring from a cousin who just came from Owerri, we decided to use GUO. To Utako, my wife drove me to.
The bus was comfortable and roomy. The driver, mischievously cautious and exceptionally patient, particularly to a pregnant woman in the bus. The woman worry and we were stopping almost after every 2 hours for her to go into the bush to do one thing or the other. She was consistently craving for abacha.
Each time the bus stopped, my heart starts racing and my eyes darting into the bush but the driver reassured me that he doesn’t stop anywhere but only close to where there are security men.
I asked him, how do you know that these security men are security men? We say men not dressed in any security personnel outfit but were carrying guns, mounted road blocks between Kogi state and Enugu state. He told me they are Vigilante people. I further asked, how sure is he, he said he knows them, being a regular user of that route. So how will a first timer on that route, know that they are vigilante and not armed robbers or kidnappers? Why is no policeman or soldier attached to these vigilante men on federal highways? Do citizens now have right to bear arms, block federal roads and collect toll?
Seeing my discomfort, he tried to calm me down and the story started.
My brother, not all men on uniform on the road, are policemen or soldiers. Some of them are bandits, armed robbers or kidnappers.
That was how the other day, I was coming from Owerri to Abuja, after Abaji, at a soldiers checkpoint, a soldier came to my window, pointed AK 47 at me asked me to come down. I knew immediately that wahala dey as no soldier will point AK-47 at a driver. He asked preliminary questions like normal soldier, asked me to come down to open my booth and the next thing, he commanded me to enter the bush.
My brother, liver cut me. Na small boy self and couldn’t speak English, was shout orders at me with a Fulani ascent.
While he was herding me into the bush, a Sienna was coming and they diverted their attention to the Sienna and I ducked into the gutter in between the to and fro lanes.
They robbed my passengers., took their phones. While I was in the gutter, I saw my bus zoom pass. I died, thinking that they had kidnapped all my full load of passengers.
I was in that prostrate position in the gutter for about 20 minutes and after they had gone, I crawled for some minutes from the scene and got up. I flagged down a coming car, lo and behold, it was that same Sienna. All the men in the care were stark naked and I was told that two were taken away by the kidnappers.
With the passengers in the Sienna, we went to Kwali police station to report. There we saw other cars that had been robbed, with bullet wounds in the chassis of the car. The policemen told us that one of the driver died on the spot and the other, is in the hospital.
To my joy, I saw my bus and passengers. While the kidnappers were distracted by the Sienna and other cars, one of my passengers entered the driver’s seat and drove off.
My brother, this is not what you would wish to experience. A lot happens on this road, but nobody hears the story, except when a big man is kidnapped, robbed or killed.
Few moths ago, they kidnapped our bus. I was the one, who drove him home after he was released. He sat in front, just where you are sitting.
The driver is a tall huge guy. After 4 days in the bush, he was released; a ransom of N800,000 was paid. If you see this man’s back? They designed it with flogging.
According to the ransomed driver, the women they kidnapped, were raped daily until their relations raised N2,000,000, each to bail them. There was a married couple kidnapped. My brother, they raped the hell out of the woman and when she was released, she couldn’t walk. These boys have school children kind of bags (roc sac I believe), in these bags, there is no uniform that is not inside. Every now and then, they will air them. They had black nylon full of weed and other hard drugs were seen by the ransomed driver.
Seeing that I was losing it, he started reassuring me that it is not our portion and chanting prayers that the God that made him to escape the first time, will always be with him and protect his passengers.
I am safely in my father’s house, happy to be with my ancestors. But my fresh fear, is ESN and Unknown Gunmen. Today Monday 1st August, is sit at home and nobody is sure, whether it is ESN, Unknown Gunmen, Ebubeagu or DSS that enforces this sit at home order, given by IPOB.