Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Dark Clouds

The father has always been paranoid about security, as is expected with his military background. Give or take, I must have been about 15/16 years old, maybe younger. We had this house fellowship which churches organize in houses every 2 weeks on Sunday evenings. I kinda hated it because I felt; why have another service after attending one in the morning on the same day? We weren't really forced to attend but we did. My younger brother and sister were under 10 years old at the time.

House fellowship had just finished, and mum sent me to put on the lantern, the local one (with thread and fire) as we dint know how long the rechargeable lantern would last. I sorted that out after trying to turn on the "generator" and that too ended up not working. So we had to sort out lamps, gen and the whole works; my dear Nigeria. Mum and dad went outside the building, most likely to say their goodbyes to church members who came over. The gate must have been open and the house, very accessible.

I saw some people walk in, and one grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, slapped me, one even hit me with his gun then told my siblings and I to lie face down while they pointed guns at us. Maybe it was the slap, but at first I thought it my dad who sent people to prove a point about always locking the gates and shutting the kitchen door. The stars from the slap obviously got my mind twisted. They asked for my dad, they asked for money and threatened to shoot my baby sister if she looked at them... Everything happened in about 10 minutes. I'm glad they didn't meet my parents, father would have tried some James Bond bravery stunt which may not have gone right. Fast forward some hours later, the police came in, told us sorry and that we should thank God no one was hurt. The end. As in, that's all. Finito.

Same year, two other members of my family had personal experiences with armed robbers. A few months later, some thieves were caught in Makurdi where we lived, tires were thrown in and they were burnt to death, their bodies left on the road for 2 days. Some more thieves were caught and the same thing happened. Crime wave was high, ASUU/Nigerian Universities were on strike (industrial action) and so I concluded that because school was on "break", cultists were bored or broke and that explained the crime wave.

Fast forward about 15 years after my personal experience. On 1, October 2012, over 40 students in a school (Federal Polytechnic Mubi, Adamawa State) were murdered by fellow humans, this is something most people know almost nothing about. A few days later, some students were beaten up and burnt to death by the people of their host community; they called the students thieves. NOTE: I am 100% against how those students in Mubi and Aluu were killed. More people are being killed in all sort of ways these days. Flood and natural disasters too is another story. I don't have to go on about how sad this makes me feel.

In summation, I tried not to comment on it. In my head I compared the killings to the one by Anders Breivik in Norway, the Colorado movie theatre shootings, the high school shooting in Ohio and many others... The killers got CAUGHT and PROSECUTED. I try not to expect or blame the government or police for everything, but I wonder if ours don't see efforts made in other places. I thought about the students who got burnt and ... Well, even though I had a personal experience, here is what I think: Jungle/vigilante justice is never the answer. It won't stop crime, may reduce it for a while but it didn't stop it when thieves were burnt in Makurdi years ago, it won't stop now. But we don't have to be animals, what's the point in "robbing Peter to pay Paul"? Being judge and jury? As for the rest of us, may these things never happen to us. Experience isn't the best teacher if it happens to you or someone close. Learn from others. Apparently history still repeats itself...

I look up and as much as I want to see hope and a bright future, feels like all I can see are Dark Clouds...

Randomly yours...
October 2012