The Journey to Kano had taken many unexpected turns. It is quite challenging to move around these days, with the killings that were still ongoing, especially when you are seven months pregnant and expectant. I never understood the purpose of this war, and as usual, I took no sides. The lives of millions of people were being gambled by men in high places who fought for their selfish interest. I hated that we had to be subjected to their decisions, but what choice do you have when refusal to run and hide could have you been eviscerated by a mortar. This had been my reality for the past months since i had been in Enugu.
Colonel Ojukwu had recently given a speech at Enugu, stating why we were at war with the Republic, but to me, the reasons were pointless. None could justify a thousand lives lost to the fight for power? Lives destroyed from the deaths, breadwinners, and hustlers killed for the crime of being born to an Ibo home. All this ensued while I was on the run for my life.
I thought back to a time before the war, about five months ago, when I travelled to Enugu for a business trip. I still remember how I spent my last day in Kano, tending to my daughter’s wounds while my husband played a game of chess in the parlour. We weren’t billionaires, but we were happy and could afford a decent life.
Fleetingly, I remembered my husband, how his smile warned up whenever I got back from the market. He always welcomed me with a warm hug which calms my frayed nerves from the day’s stress. He never complained about how i usually got home late in the evening, long after he did, and that endeared him more to me. He was always understanding, and i miss every bit of him.
My trip to Enugu was for a business trip and would i say regret it now. Ngozi, my daughter has cried while i was leaving, but I felt it was all a childish tantrum. Maybe, children, had the ability of foresight as a lot of people have opined. Now i was caught in a warzone, stupidly trapezing to see my family who was stuck behind enemy’s line. My husband would have been worried sick if he heard about my plan; he would have gone on about how I intended to cross over with a seven-month bulge. I wouldn’t have cared anyway, I am an Ibo Amazon, and didn’t they say we were descendants of elite female warriors.
For the past two months since the war, I tried to get in touch with my family all to no avail. My husband was still in Kano, hopefully hiding with our daughter at Alhaji Kambi’s mansion. Alhaji Kambi had always been kind to us and took us in when we got married some years back. Luckily enough, we didn’t have the predominant ibo look, as my flared nose and caramel skin gave me off for a Fulani.
A few days ago, I started this suicide journey, equipped with no more than my little possession and my steadfast faith in the safety of my family. I had expected so much danger, but none had been life-threatening except for the constant scare of gunshots in the distance and some soldiers who tried to peep into the water tank that transported me and eight others. Apart from the snoring of other occupants of this enclosure, I was fine; I wished I could have hit them with something, but we needed to keep the noise at a minimal level.
A week later, i could hear the cry of the muezzin calling for prayers. When i peeped out a hole in the tank, i could see that the city was unperturbed by the happenings of the war. I only wondered what must have happened to those who were at the Sabon Gari when the pogrom started. A few hours later, when it got dark, the driver opened the latch to the tank, i half expected to be faced with the barrel of a gun. The driver smiled at us and helped us get out. We bid each other goodbye and all set on our way, after a few minutes of walking, i was at the gate of Alhaji Kambi. The security guard answered my knock and stared at me in shock, he screamed my name, and i almost ran until i saw Ngozi running towards me in her Niqab. Tears streamed down my face as I saw my husband and little girl for the first time in five bloody months. Alas! We were together again—a tear-filled reunion.
– Ajibade Miracle