SOLJA MAN

SOLJA MAN

As we drive through the 1,400m River Niger bridge, in Onitsha, our luxurious bus goes on a higher speed.

The chants of different morah fills the air, as the voice of fellow soldiers blend with the sound of the wind coming from open windows.

They continue to sing at the top of their voice, using hands to beat the roof of the bus, as they also stamp their foots alongside, giving more melody to the morahs

With smiles, I join them also in singing, celebrating victories shared in time past. Above all, we are all happy to return back home to see our families and loved ones again.We have seen battles; we have seen blood.

Here in the bus is just a quarter of the battalion transferred to to the North to counter against the insurgency parading the regions for years , caused by an Islamic sect called Boko-Haram. 

We defeated them after forty-eight hours of combat on the field a month ago. To cap it all, we caught their leader, Shekau. It was one of my toughest combat experience as a soldier, we lost lives and recorded casualties without numbers, of which I am one. We still have some soldiers on admission in hospitals recuperating.

I lost my left leg – which was later amputated completely- during combat to a grenade that was thrown at us while we were busy firing bullets against fleeing enemies. I now walk using  crutches, the Doctor said I would eventually use one, when I’ve mastered to walk with the two.

I’m not the only one who have lost one or two body parts; we have those without a arm, one eyed comrades, loss of hearings of both ears and so many among others.

The more reason we have been placed on an early retirement to spend the remaining part of our lives with  families. The joy present in the bus only shows how excited we are to be alive, which cannot be compared to anything.

I cannot wait to see my wife, Simi and my daughter, Annabelle, after months of being away from home. I can still remember the night before I left, Simi won’t stop asking with tears in her eyes.

‘’ Segun, do you have to go again this time? I’m too young to be a widow, and Annabelle is just three years old. What do I tell her happened to her father if you don’t come back?’’

Planting a long kiss on her lips, I reassured her as I did previously since I got the letter of transfer.

‘’Babe, don’t worry I would be back whole, just like always, I promise you that. Just take care of our child, and keep reminding her of my love for her.”

I bent low to hug my beautiful daughter with the hope that this wouldn’t be the last time I would see her. “Little one, remember Daada loves you, right?”, I told her. “Yes Daada, I love you too.” She responded as our hug tighten.

This time around I didn’t keep my promise, I’m coming back an incomplete man.

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