“Remember to say your prayers before going to bed and one more thing, never ever forget the family you came from, keep upholding our family values and focus immensely on your studies okay?” Okay mum I’ve heard you. My mum would never seize to call me every night reminding me to always be a good girl, always read my bible blah blah blah…for Heaven’s sake I am 18 and I am old enough to take care of myself and know what is right and wrong but my mother doesn’t seem to agree with the view that ‘I am old enough’. Sincerely speaking, I was already getting tired of her frequent calls, always checking up on me every minute of the day like I was still the 5 years old Susan who ran around the house demanding for ice cream.
Being the only daughter of the family who came after 4 boys, my parents always looked out for me and ensured I lacked nothing but often times, I felt like mum was overdoing hers, I felt like she was way too caring and she was always getting into my space. But then, she’s still my mother, the love of my life and I cherish her a lot. My dad only called twice everyday to check up on me unlike my mum who would call more than 6 times a day (sigh). Daddy would always tell me “Your mates are there without their parents so I do not see the reason why you should not cope, remain a good girl my child.” I loved my parents dearly and all I ever wanted was to keep making them proud.
Just so you know I came from a Christian home, my parents laid a very strong foundation for us in Christianity ensuring that God came first in whatever thing we did. Ever since I got admission into the university to study Medicine and surgery, I made sure I never missed going to church every Sunday and I always attended the students’ fellowship every Wednesday. I say my prayers and read my bible every day, I don’t have a boyfriend, I don’t stab lectures so yes! I am a very good girl. I stayed in the school private hostel and I had 2 roommates Simi and Praise and just like me, they were also from rich homes. Simi was an only child and her parents provided everything for her ensuring she was extremely comfortable. Praise as well lacked nothing. In fact, we lived a life of luxury in school.
Howbeit, the difference between us was the fact that I was a child of God who read her bible every day. Most times, they would call me Sister Susan just to mock me. They didn’t know the way to church and they would reluctantly join me in morning prayers on few Saturdays. Simi and Praise were both studying anatomy and irrespective of the fact that they often stabbed lectures, they were really brilliant and smart. They were party freaks, always attending one night party or the other, sometimes they would return the next morning. Simi’s boyfriend was an elderly man in his mid forties, and he was always spoiling her with money and gifts and sometimes, she would spend the weekend at his house. They tried so hard to get me to join them in their reckless and wayward life but all to no avail.
That sunny afternoon, students were running round the school, jubilating and rejoicing because we were done with our exams. I kept hearing ‘done and dusted’ ‘yeeeey! Another level mehhn’ but then I thought it wasn’t yet time to celebrate since we have not seen our results yet. I gently returned to the hostel, said a word of prayer thanking God for leading me through that session. I grabbed a pack of cereals and just as I was about stepping into the kitchen, the duo stormed the room, screaming down the entire building all in the name of ‘Exams done and dusted’. Immediately, they started talking about going for a party to celebrate our achievement and they repeatedly told me I was going with them whether I liked it or not. I just stood arms akimbo starring at both of them.
By 9:30pm, we were all set for the party and immediately we wanted to step out, mum started calling perhaps she suspected something was about to happen. Simi asked me to ignore it in fact, she put my phone on airplane mode and put it in her purse. I kept hearing this still small voice ‘Don’t go with them, stay back, stay back’ but I chose to ignore it. A little fun won’t hurt I said to myself. Simi’s man was already waiting for us outside in his car. We entered and he drove off, I was so uncomfortable and within me I knew I shouldn’t be doing this but then I promised God and myself that this was going to be the first and last time. Half way into the journey, Chief Dan (Simi’s boyfriend) pulled over and stepped out of the car, I thought maybe he was pressed but then, two men came out of nowhere, one came to the back seat, the other to the driver’s seat and immediately sped off before we could even start screaming, they showed us their guns and there and then I died seven times.
They took us to a strange looking place where they tied up more than 15 girls of my age. They tied us up as well, Simi and Praise didn’t stop screaming and crying, it dawned on us that we were about to be used for rituals or perhaps these people specialized in selling body parts. I had already peed severally on my dress, I thought of my family, I remembered the still small voice, I remembered all the words of my mother, why did I allow the devil to deceive me, God please I don’t want to die. I kept on muttering ‘Jesus have mercy and save my soul’, I started reciting Psalm 23. One by one, they started beheading us, right before my very eyes, they grabbed Simi and slit her throat as though she was a chicken, I felt a sudden rush in my belly, I was so cold inside, I wished the ground would open and ingest me completely. Without mercy they killed, without mercy they shed blood, without mercy oh! without mercy.
The huge looking man came to me and roughly lifted me to my feet, I kept struggling to free myself from his grip, ‘NO, NO, I WON’T DIE LIKE THIS, JESUS SAVE ME, HAVE MERCY LORD, PLEASE SAVE ME, SAVE ME!’ I kept on screaming and screaming and the next thing I felt was a great bang on my head, I slumped and went into deep sleep. ‘She’s moving her hand, she’s moving, doctor! doctor!’ That was my mother’s voice, I slowly opened my eyes and realized I was in a hospital, there was a tremendous shout of joy as the doctor rushed in to examine me. I saw my parents, my brothers and some other people, they were all praising the Lord’s name for bringing me back to life. The doctor told me I’ve been in comma for 3 weeks. I was so confused, but he hit me, I thought I was dead, but they were killing us, they killed Simi, they killed everyone, how did I escape, how is it possible that I am in the hospital, we were in a bush, no, no, no this can’t be happening, how! how! how!, at this point I was tossing round the bed wailing, the doctor sent everyone out and tried to calm me down. He gave me some sedatives to help me sleep.
When I woke up again, I was still in great shock. Then I asked my parents, how did I get here, how? Then mum told me that my body was found in front of the school gate, people thought you were dead but when they realized you were still breathing, they rushed you to this hospital and you have been unconscious for 3 weeks now. It was Seun your course mate that identified you and immediately put a call across to us. After hearing this, I broke down in tears, Lord how did you do it, how did I survive this traumatic experience, why didn’t they slit my throat like they did to the others, how did I…my daughter, my father chipped in, you must have gone through a lot, you’re still recovering, please take things easy, God is in control, when you’re perfectly fine, you can tell us what actually happened to you. Dad this is a miracle, it is a miracle I said amidst tears.
He was about to kill me, yes he was about to, he hit me so hard, it was as if he used a hammer, I felt the bang, Oh God……I don’t know how, I can’t even explain it but that I survived could only be by God’s sufficient grace, that I survived was indeed a herculean miracle, that I survived was because I was yet to complete the task God gave me here on earth, that I survived was just God’s love and mercy, that I survived……I covered my face with my hand and sobbed slowly.
Awujo Onyinyechi Diamond
University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria