Experience In Kaduna Crises: From A Journalist’s Diary
By Temitope Mustapha
Passing through Kaduna State on Sunday 21st of October 2018, to connect to Kano State for a two day Media Dialogue on Equity for the Girl Child Education, I never thought would end up bloody for me..
About 4:35pm,Two times this gentleman who was in the same car with me woke me up and said “Madam stay awake”.
“see, I had written stories previous nights, before I embarked on this journey, I replied him.
Again this man woke me up and said “madam pls stay awake”.
Then I opened my sleepy eyes very wide and clearly I saw Miltary officers seated on their vehicles.
Suddenly, a fellow passenger like me said, “Madam, we have been making calls to know the safest road.”
“You mean this road is safe for us all?” I asked.
They responded in the affirmative.
Suddenly, at Kaduna By- Pass, I saw a trailer blocking the road and traffic was building up and the driver of the same car I boarded( public transport of ofcourse) beckoned on one of the youths holding a fibre of an iron; of course he responded in Hausa language.
Another passenger translated the conversation to me that he wanted to find another rather safe route out of By- Pass.
Suddenly, a number of the young men sighted me in the car & my driver started pleading with them, (telling them in Hausa language to spare our lives their spears and not to despise us, we shouldn’t be dispossessed and that they should not be disposed to depositing us in the hands of death)
“Da Allah ki ya kuri” crudely interpreted to mean, “exercise restraint, for God’s sake,” he pleaded.
I was the only female in the vehicle and extremely unusual of me, I wore what you saw in the pictures above with an headtie ( turban)that I had on me.
RACE OF MY LIFE
The young men best described as miscreants, were more than fifteen. They started hitting the side of the vehicle I was.
Actually, my head was blank. I couldn’t say one word of prayer. I didn’t panic and I was ready to run the race of my life.
Immediately my fellow passengers took to their heels from the front door and the left door side, then I summoned courage, opened the right side door, which was already overwhelmed by men, holding all manner of irons and stones.
My turban ( headtie) fell off And I started running towards an uncompleted building. However, immediately I realised I could be finished in the building, with heavy stones landing on my back and long metallic objects hitting my body from mob running after me,
I retreated and eventually decided crossing the Gutters on Kaduna by – Pass.
O Yes, I fell down with the heaviness & marathon of stones landing on my body.
I then watched myself being LYNCHED with all manners of iron rods, clubs, and sticks. I was being catapulted at the same time.
Nobody dared stop these mob from stoning me, neither was I rescued from their hands.
I actually saw one of them videoing what they were doing to me and I sincerely was running within me to catch up with breathe. Death is Painful.
I suddenly didn’t feel the hitting of the irons on my body anymore, and the stones were no longer making sounds to me.
I was hearing, “Jesus is Lord” inside my head clearly, as if with a mega phone. I was seeing my mother’s, my son and my daughter’s faces all at the same time and some how, I kept hearing in my head that all they were doing was not up to labour pains.
I crawled inside the gutters. Of course, I was already almost inside the gutters by the by-Pass.
I felt peace in my body & I found solace inside the gutters. I saw the mob gathered on the other side. I blurringly saw a crowd of men watching me.
I saw clearly, one of the killers carrying a stone with his two hands right over me. I raised up my hand making gestures, suggestive of pleading to him against the savagery. That was the last I saw.
HEAVY SLEEP OVER POWERED ME
Heavy & Deep Sleep came over me inside the gutters. The thing overpowered me and I watched my hand threw away. From that moment, I didn’t know what happened again.
I couldn’t tell what, where and anything about me again. I didn’t know what switched me off. I was completely switched off.
Till I woke up at AMRULLAH Hospital (also along Kaduna by-Pass ) on a stretcher, I started talking telling them I am a Journalist with Voice of Nigeria and I was only passing by Kaduna state to attend a Media Dialogue in Kano State.
I attempted standing from the stretcher. However, my body didn’t respond. I was asked for phone numbers, Heaven helped me to remember my younger sister’s number & the father of my children’s number.
AMRULLAH Hospital …
Totally to my rescue, about six drips including flagyl and other procedures, were set into my system. I was revived; Head suturing were done.
The young Muslim doctor was crying while suturing my head, joined by the hospital attendants who were cleaning stretcher stained with my blood.
Everyone was put on guard. The Miscreants traced me to the hospital and demanded that the lady brought in should be released by the hospital to be killed.
This Muslim hospital saved me. The hospital management couldn’t surrender be to the barbarian lords.
I realised that I was secured in a secluded ward; locked with a nurse who was given instructions not to open the ward to anyone she possibly didnt know the voice.
Only the Hospital Manager, the doctor on duty and the two nurses were allowed access to where I was admitted.
I asked the only face I saw when I wokeup from the “deep sleep”
Please, who brought me here?” I asked.
The face full of tears said it was a member of the JTF.
“A JTF member brought you life-less. We rejected you initially, because you were not breathing and demanded he should not drop your body with us.
“When we refused to take you, the JTF Man dropped you on our stretcher, saying that you could regain consciousness in God’s name. We should try,” the face said.
The face was eventually turned out to be the medical director of the AMRULLAH Hospital. I was managed impressively at the health facility.
Then a thousand plus calls came through the medical director’s Phone. They said My Family Members were dead alive & Colleagues had sleepless night.
MANAGEMENT OF VOICE OF NIGERIA STOOD FOR ME
In the Midst of it all, Mr Ahaziah Suleiman my Exe.Dir. of news, Mr Ben Shemang, Hajia Sani, Hajia Hauwa and even the DG I heard, all set contacts in motion for my proper care.
VON KADUNA STATE CORRESPONDENT SUDDENLY BECAME A MOTHER
Her name is Hajia Asmau. She was the family I saw. She was the colleague on ground. She wept uncontrollably and was still the one consoling herself. I watched Asmau wiped tears several times.
Above all, this lady risked her life to identify with me in the hospital and practically, carried a wheeled chair colleague to her house to ensure my safety.
Baba, we all call him. Hajia Asmau’s Husband was there to carry me from the vehicle to the hospital stretcher. He was there all through, right beside his wife fixing my neck, most times carrying me on wheel chair.
Hajia Asmau’s children all cried uncontrollably and kept asking their Mother what went wrong
“Mummy, what did she do to them?” the asked.
To say the least, Hajiya Asmau and family owned me straight up.
AGAIN MY BOSSES & COLLEAGUES TRIED
Aisha John Mark, Gloria Essien & Omolayo Alabi all pinned Prof. Dr Ogrimma down, owner of SKILLS HOSPITAL, He was there for VON, of course, curfew did not allow radiographer for X-tray. However, Dr. Ogrimma tried for me. He ensured the fractured hand was well managed. He equally gave instructions that further saved me.
UNICEF TEAM & KADUNA STATE GOVT ALSO CARED
I Sincerely hail Mr Geoffrey Njoku, UNICEF Head Communication Officer, who I learnt contacted his colleagues in Kaduna State and informed them of my attack the same night I was revived at AMRULLAH Hospital. UNICEF contacted Kaduna State government as well.
Lo & Behold! The Commissioner for Health Kaduna State visited me at the hospital the following afternoon of the attack. He later sent an ambulance to transfer me to government hospital on “Kaduna state government’s demand,” though there was no bed space as everywhere was already filled with casualties of barbarity.
44 MILITARY HOSPITAL AND MY FRACTURED HAND.
My bosses didn’t sleep nor take a nap over my situation in Kaduna. The third day of the incidence, my ogas contacted Gen.Burutai’s Men to save the situation as there was still curfew and I almost couldn’t walk.
A very calm Army Boss reported at Hajia Asmau’s residence with his men, the third day and conveyed me to 44 MILITARY HOSPITAL to attend to my dangling fractured and dislocated hand.
The army medical doctors insisted on thorough x-tray including that of my head. At the end the Army left me better.
VON DELIVERED ME WHOLE TO MY FAMILY
Spending three days in Kaduna State at the heat of the crises wasn’t easy at all for my family.(Though Hajia Asmau’s presence created relief for my mother) VON sent an official car with the office nurse and armed men escorted my scattered body with my breathe intact out of Kaduna town . I was exchanged into VON official car at Kaduna toll gate.
I do have a lot to say about Kaduna State October 2018 crises. While recuperating and being on bed rest, I think when my Nurse ( My mum’s eyes ) are few times away from me) I think about being carried from the gutters by an unknown possibly Muslim JTF Member, I think about AMRULLAH Hospital ( a complete Muslim hospital that God used to stabilise me after coming out of deep sleep and not surrendering me into the hands of the hot headed miscreants in spite of the threat, I think about the safety of Nigerian road users; TRAVELLERS in the midst of CRISES across Nigeria???
So many thoughts feeling my sutured head but I sure must put all these thoughts down…
That I am alive alone for now, I am grateful to God Almighty.