I am Aiamatu. I hail from Bagama area of the Northeast. I am thinking of home and my parents – the agony they are going through of my absence from school and home ever since my mates and I were abducted from our school by these gun-toting men.
The weather is hot despite the morning rains. For days, we have been subjected to gruesome state moving from one makeshift camp to another in this swamp of a forest. Night is approaching – another night of terror and misery. I squat here in supplication to Allah to protect and guide my steps all through this. Among us – the abductees, we were cautioned not to utter a word, that going contrary is a call for trouble.
Now one of these men is coming, clutching his Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947 rifle, he stops abruptly and grabs me by my right wrist and drags me behind him off to a truck. And the truck disappears. This is a tedious and long journey.
I am dragged off the truck to this massive edifice surrounded by a high concrete fence, and placed before this other man – whose face is a rough stony surface. I do not like the way he is staring at me. This man, the age of Baba.
‘You’re now in a new and different territory,’ he says, moving closer, ‘and here, you live according to our directives.’
I stare at him not sure what to make of it save his voice piercing through like a hot lava.
‘Are you a science or art student?’ Answer me!’ he barks.
I hesitate for a moment, and reply tremulously, ‘Science.’
‘I wish to study medicine?’
‘Meedisine. . .why meedisine?’
‘. . .to care for the sick children in Sub-Saharan. . .’
He narrows his gaze and utters, ‘You don’t need that. Don’t worry, you will take care of the needs of my men in the battle field.’
I wonder what ‘needs’ he is refering to and why we should be the ones to do their bidding when we should be in school or with our loved ones.
We were threatened that should we try anything by escaping that that would be a cul-de-sac for such a dissident.
I put on this dark veil that he gave me. He says we are going out – to the local market.
Now, this place is strange and everyone appears bizarre that none seems to take note of this man walking behind me. They cannot see how agitated I am in my veil. We are approaching the market. I can see more people now with their wares displayed. They are bargaining – buying and selling. We are here to get some stuffs for the upkeep of his foot-soldiers, so he says.
He stops at a grains’ shop and orders I go into the market to get other items with a stern warning, ‘Meet me here. Don’t try anything funny. My men are everywhere!’
I am alone now heading to the heart of the market. I look over my shoulder, his eyes are on me. I walk down and turn right to the centre of the market, I assume. In the midst of the crowd – they cannot see my face. Everyone is enmeshed in their affairs. I do not know this place or these people. What do I do now? Where do I run to? My heart is racing beyond normal rate. The faces meeting mine are far from my plight. I look over my shoulders again – right and left and turn round; I bump into someone. He holds me and asks, ‘Are you okay?’
‘Rescue me out of this place.’ I whisper. . .