In 1999, I was standing at Ojoo in Ibadan waiting for a taxi.
Just behind me were some people going about their business, Mallams selling suya, a Mai tea, attending to his customers and all
Suddenly I saw in my peripheral vision a guy taking out a black object and drawing an Object out of it
A sudden fear fell upon me and I began to run
I ran and ran I was out of breath!
My eyes saw something but my mind interpreted it as something else
I thought what I saw was a gun and I was running for dear life
What I saw and what I felt I saw were two different Things
It felt like I was running mad
When I paused for breath, I realized I didn’t see a gun, what I saw was a transistor radio and the guy was pulling out its antenna!
It was crazy!
A few days before that I had decided out of the blue to go home and see what I could scrounge Up from the family
I was a student of the Univeristy of Ibadan, staying at Mellanby hall!
My family lived thirty minutes away if I took a cab and an hour away if I walked
Lectures finished at 6pm and I walked all the way home
When I got home, I saw a man standing by the gate of
I greeted him and walked into the open gate
Our apartment was an eight flat affair
The landlord ensured that the gate was always locked and if you had to come in you must press the intercom and invite a member of your family to come open the gate for you
Seeing the gate open was not normal but I lacked Sunesis at the time and I didn’t have any form of quickness in my apprehension!
A stranger was standing by the gate and I didn’t suspect that anything was amiss!
Well, once I walked into the compound, a guy pointed a gun at me and told me to Walk
So I did
He led me straight into our flat where my family was getting robbed
There were many strangers in our flat
The armed robbers were directing everyone on the street to our flat and robbing them there
Unknown to me, my mother had gone to Lagos to see my Daddy’s uncle And the man had given her 100,000 naira to start a business
The armed robbers couldn’t have known this but they chose that very day to rob our house
I got into our flat and met people everywhere lying facedown shouting “Please don’t hurt us”
I laid down too, petrified!
The oddest Thing happened a few minutes later
The robber in my mother’s room was asking her to open her wardrobe but my mother couldn’t find the key so the man hit her with the butt of his guy right on the face!
I went berserk and threw myself at the man
He got a nasty head butt and
Staggered against the door
I foolishly began to wrestle the gun from him
His comrades rushed to the door and pulled it open
I remember shouting “You don’t have bullet and you dare come to this house”
Folly can make a lot of noise!
When the comrades came in, they rescued my victim
Then the guy I head butted took bullets out of his gun and inserted them into the gun
I was done for
He said “You’re a ninja right, Mr Fighter!”
My mother began to beg
All my siblings too began to cry and beg
The man said “I don’t have a bullet abi?
I will kill you to Prove it!”
My mother opened the wardrobe and they took the money
The one I fought told me to lie face down and stomped hard on my head
My jaw got broken! Blood was everywhere but I didn’t feel any pain! I was too scared!
He said “Woman, choose which one of your other children I should
Kill to teach this idiot (me) a lesson!
My mother started begging them in the name of Jesus
God heard her cry
The robbers told all@of us to keep quiet as they were going to another flat
We did and they left
Thirty minutes later, I stood up and walked to through the house from one room to the other
I realized they were gone and the strangers in our flat had gone too
I locked the door!
We counted our losses
The next morning, I was taken to the hospital with my mother
My jaw was sutured and so was her mouth
I thought the ordeal was over
Three days later, Another set of robbers or perhaps the same set came again
This time, we heard the gunshot before the landlord’s housemaid came to knock in the door of our flat
She called my mother’s name and asked her to open the door
My mother did and voila, armed robbers flashed light into my Eyes and said “everybody cooperate and nobody will be injured”
We had nothing at home, not even food
We told them we were just robbed and had nothing
They ransacked the house and left
for other flats
It was a terrible day but I didn’t think anything of it until that day when Began to run when I saw a transistor radio
Fear had taken a huge space in my heart and the trauma was unbecoming
The worst aspect of it all was when the landlord arrived
He worked with a tyre manufacturing company and was often at work during the week
Guess who his primary suspect
He said I am in the Univeristy and the school is close to the house and he suspected that I and my cult friends came to the house to rob everyone
I was never a cultist and I had never seen a gun before except in American movies
I don’t have such friends and wow!
He said this with his chest!
My mother couldn’t believe it
I remember that meeting and how my mother and siblings fought to protect me from the accusation
What killed the man’s story was the fact that I didn’t know my mother traveled and didn’t know she came back with money
I had no prior knowledge and therefore there was no way I could have led robbers to the house the day she came back with the money.
The arguments he had in his favour was my character
I was a loner, an undergraduate, a smoker and I had some friends in the neighbourhood who smoked
And drank like I did at the time
For him, that was more than enough reason to accuse me of being an armed robber!
We moved out of the house a few months later
People believed what they wanted and I was the culprit
Nobody cared that I was having nightmares everyday and even in
real life I was so traumatised that I was running at the sight of a transistor radio
It taught me a lot about human nature
How we love to accuse others without any shred of evidence or proof just because they fit into a particular mould that we have considered to be evil!
It Took me years to heal
Till tomorrow, I find the sight and presence of guns unsettling regardless of who was carrying the weapon and I distanced myself from such people!
A lady wrote to me about her recent ordeal in a one-chance bus and how she was unable to sleep or function As a consequence
I told her this story
I totally understand her plight
I also assured her that she will heal and the nightmares will cease
The physical pain or wounds heals quicker while the injury to the mind takes some time but by the power of the Holy Spirit, she will be Totally restored in a few days
Let us be kind to victims of violent crime, let us show empathy and love
Even if we think it is their fault or they are suffering from the consequences of their actions
Love helps the broken to heal while condemnation festers the wounds!