Suleiman walked to and fro of his room, muttering to himself. His stomach grumbled, he was hungry. He rubbed his eyes with his hands, yawning loudly. He had not eaten a proper meal for two days. The sack of garri that he had drank helplessly finished yesterday. He sighed. Could Nigeria get any better?
There were no new jobs, everywhere was locked down and enough economic issues to send one out of Nigeria. A church rat was properly better than him, he thought.
The bang on the door startled him. He wasn’t expecting anyone. He tiptoed to the door, silently praying that it won’t be his Landlord, who already threatened to give him a quick notice to vacate the house. He looked through the hole on the door. It was Ahmad. He sighed in relief.
He unbolted the door, letting his friend in. Ahmad was clad in a black top, black jean trouser, a slipper and a cap over his head. Sulieman looked his friend all over. The black tops complimented his dark skin but he wondered why he was dressed like a man invited for a funeral.
“Ina kwana.” Ahmad greeted, as he hugged him.
“Ina labara.” He replied,wondering why he had visited so early in the morning.
“You hear about that protest?” Ahmad asked.
“I dey house since morning. Wetin dey sup?”
“Make we reach that side.”
Suleiman hissed. “I no get strength jare.”
“Dem go share food for there oo.” Ahmad replied, his face curving into a smile.
Suleiman’s eyes lit up but he held a blank expression on his face. He didn’t want to look cheap before his friend.
“Your mate dey go fight for good government, you wan chop. Na Allah go save you.” He replied.
“Abegii.You dey go?Abi make I comot?”
“Wait na.” Suleiman chuckled,as he ran outside of the apartment to take a quick bath.
Konduga Town, Borno State.
He watched with tears brimming down his face. He swore revenge against the people that had taken his mother and sister away, against the Government that had failed them.
The sky was tick black and the wind chilly. They surrounded themselves in a circle,wrapped in wrappers with bowls of hot pap in their hands.
“ko kana shiry?” Fatima asked her children, Zainab and Ibrahim. They both nodded with a huge smile on their face.
“The story of the boy and the old woman,” she waved her hand as she illustrated the story, a chief gave permission for the bush to be burned, they went all round for an animal to catch before the grass was to be burned. Then a certain bad boy saw a hole and dug there. He did not see anything. But an old woman came out and..”
A bang on the door interrupted her. She quickly wrapped her hijab around her. She looked at the wall clock,it was 10pm. Her heart skipped a beat. It could be them. The bandits the villagers were afraid of.
She swallowed nervously, standing abruptly to her feet, she led her children into the inner room. She had dug a hole under the floor for emergencies. She dragged them inside and motioned them not to talk by touching her hands lightly in her lips.
The banging on the door continued, her heart was pounding louder than a drum. She walked towards the door to open it but it crashed down. Two men dressed in black dirty boot, a black jean and dirty singlet stepped into the house. The first man had a cigarette stuck in his mouth and a gun draped around his neck. He walked over to her and grabbed her hair. She winced in pain.
“Bari in tafi! Bari in tafi.”She screamed. He threw her over to the second man, who gave her a slap on her face. She fell down writhing in pain.
“inasuke?” he asked. His eyes blazing red. He bent down towards her, using his fingers, he pierced her skin. She moaned in pain.
“I have no children.” She murmured.
He smiled. He motioned to his partner. He nodded his head and brought out a sharp knife from his back pocket. he grabbed her hair, cutting her flesh slowly. She screamed out in pain.
“taimako!” Zainab screamed at the man. Her hijab loosely tired around her face. Fatima’s eyes filled with tears as she saw her 10 year old daughter out. Her heart shattered. She knew what was next.
The man left Fatima quickly, as he walked over to Zainab and carried her over his shoulders.
“leave me alone!” she screamed, hitting his back continuously. Their mission was complete.
She ran after them,fighting to get her child back. The gun shot filled the whole house.
Ibrahim came out from the hiding place, he ran towards his mother, eyes brimming with tears. He knelt beside his mother.
“uwa!” he screamed in pain.
At the Protest.
SAY NO TO POLICE BRUTALITY! END SARS!
Citizens carried their placards, praying and shouting as they marched round the major roads of the state. Sulieman and Ahmad searched the streets in search of the people who were so kind to deliver food to patriotic citizens like them.
Sulieman smiled to himself, he was patriotic indeed. His stomach was dancing in joy and he was so happy for the first time since the lockdown.
He tapped Ahmad on the shoulder, “When are they sharing again? ” He asked aloud.
“I don’t know. Let’s wait.’
A woman walking at the front, stopped when she heard their conversation. She turned to look at them properly. Her arms folded together.
“Are you just here to eat? or for the government we all want to change?”
“My dear, it’s to find what my stomach can hold.” Ahmad replied.
She shook her head in disappointment.
“That’s not all that matters. Do you want your children to see the same system? To go out for protests before they get a plate of food to eat?’ NO! Then let’s focus on this protest.”
She walked away immediately. Still shouting. “END BAD GOVERNMENT!”
The President rested his head on his chin. His wrinkled face deep in worry. He removed his cap and placed it on the table. He ran his hands through his hair. The youths have refused to back down on their requests. He sighed. If it was a military regime, they won’t dare oppose the government.
The police chiefs were seated on the chairs, waiting for his instructions.
“Mr President.” The I.G,P of police called out.
He raised his hand, signaling him to speak.
“Why don’t we deploy the military? After all we can always use the excuse of the pandemic.”
He thought for a while. Yes! The military have been sent to direct the disruption of the protest so to avoid the spread of conoravirus.
He smiled happily. It was a military civilian regime after all.
At the protest
Suleiman, Ahmad, the lady who had corrected them earlier, (Anita) and other protesters sat on the tiled road. They were going to hold a candle procession, then say prayer on behalf on the country.
The wind was very cold against their skin, the birds sang away as if they had a secret to tell. The noise of incoming vehicles arriving, alerted the protesters who looked towards their direction.
Finally! The government had come to hear our plea, Some thought.
They were startled, when they began to hear the sound of gun shots directed at them. The citizens ran for their lives.
Sulieman,Ahmad and Anita ran swiftly. Their hearts about to explode.
Sulieman felt a tug on his stomach. His mind was trying to run but his body was falling hard on the ground. He gasped,realizing what had hit him. A BULLET.
He blinked his eyes repeatedly. He thought of his wife, Fatima, Zainab and Ibrahim. What would happen to them?
Anita and Ahmad rushed to his side. She placed her hand on the wound, trying to apply pressure.
He clutched Ahmad’s hand immediately. He’s eyes were getting weak.
“tell..tell..fati..ma..to take care ..of the.. children. Everything..will be fine..inshallah.”
He smiled to him weakly. Ahmad held his pale hands, crying loudly, Anita watched with tears brimming from her eyes.
STORY MOTIVATED BY THE LEKKI PROTEST AND SECURITY PROBLEMS IN NIGERIA.
Cover and Story Photo from Google.