This morning I heard of the murder of an embattled chief of defense staff of the Nigerian Air Force during the GEJ’s era. It brought to mind a vivid description of grand lax of security in the land. I was driving through the woods in my LX 570 with my pretty granddaughter down the lonely country road of Maiduguri that beautiful morning, to get the abscess on my little girl’s gum after a tooth extraction treated. The weather, well, not sunny, like other days.
The beauty of the rising sun,not yet at its eternal intensity was sufficient motivation for me to undertake the arduous task of having to take the girl who had a sleepless night, and kept the entire household in her vigil.
The weather contrasts the weather – lady forecasts of “There will be rain over all parts of the country.” The entire fields, woods and the village became one with the weather. It was like the whole country was on holiday. It was like time stood still, but looking at the LED clock on the dashboard, it was nearly eleven o’clock in the morning.
A bee flew in the Jeep’s window. The little girl who was allergic to bee stings,was terrified. I quickly reached out, grabbed the bee, squeezed it into my hand and then released it. The girl grew frantic as it buzzed by her. Again I reached out my hand, but this time pointed out to my palm. There stuck in my flesh was the stinger of the bee. She looked into my eyes, yet, couldn’t comprehend the sequence of events.
Driving on, we met a gory and bloodcurdling scene. There were five bodies on the road with four of them lifeless. With no help anywhere in sight, the motley crowd looked on helpless. Some of them screaming and sighing “WO yo Allah!” A number of cows were straying nearby in the distance, chewing cud and oblivious of what was happening or had happened.
When I offered to help, one elderly man in the crowd looked at me with a sneer of disdain. I spoke to my legs. But before moving away from the spot, my whole body shivered and tears streaked down my cheeks at this unnecessary waste of life, for two reasons:1) for whatever the justification, I know two wrongs don’t make a right; and, 2) a government that appeared stooped to such infamy, by its ineffectiveness in dealing with the situation.
I learnt the assailants took to their heels. The young man on the ground pushed himself to avoid stretching the torment of his excruciating pain, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless throbbing pain. With these cramps and searing pain come the inability to breathe.
Minutes of the limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps. Then another agony began: a deep, crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium slowly filled with serum and began to compressed the heart.
It is now almost over: the loss of tissue fluids reached a critical level; the compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues; the tortured lungs made frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He couldn’t feel the chill of death crept through his issues – became lame and lifeless. It was all over in a moment.
I mollycoddled the little girl with me whose blonde hair cascaded down her back, as she took one last look at the scene and fell into hysterics. She was now thrice terrified in one morning and not to forget the combat coming next at the Catholic mission local dental clinic.
The mountain was sharply defined against the eastern sky when we made our return journey. Still with the memories of the incident of the morning on my mind, I was bent on putting the scene on paper, but was struck by the sudden realization that writing is, almost by definition, a lonely profession; but the picture of the dying man stuck with me and kept preying on my consciousness.
I remembered my grammar professor’s lesson, that, ‘Slay’ is synonymous with ‘kill’ though it is more forceful and rather dated. I winced! This types of killings were indeed quite outdated and abominable.