This is a brief story by Nancy Nweke recounting her experience and journey to Minna titled “My story”
I did not think dawn was going to fall, it seemed endless. I have rolled from one corner of the bed to another. Sometimes I slept with one of my eyes half open to check for the morning sun was penetrating into the compound. I have smacked myself a thousand times to know if I was alive, if morning was going to come because I was tired of staying in the village, prepared to start a new life in town, and only a cockcrow was going to get me off the bed before we head to Niger state.
Early last week brought an end to my WAEC exams and I was excited about leaving home. Like every leaver who has just gotten to a new stage, I would normally leave my hair on a low cut, but this time, I decided to die it brown so I could flow easily with everyone without anyone noticing that it was my first time in the city. I’ve seen that in the movies and wouldn’t wait for the last straw.
When I finally woke up, it did not take me long to scrub myself. I realized I had parked my things even three nights before my journey, and my undies lied beneath so I would have to repeat the struggle of unzipping and fearfully zipping back my old bag my brother had disposed on one of his recent travels.
I finally left when Mr Uche came complaining that we were already late. This is the beginning of my story.
The Journey to Minna – My Story
“Minna is a very far place that sometimes take days to reach if your car doesn’t break down. I thought you should have been ready.
‘I am ready, I…’
Oh, my mother’s hush wouldn’t let me complete my endless complain. We finally left and I watched my mother waving her hand tiredly telling me to be a good girl.
At the bus stop, people were already anxiously waiting. We have got our ticket at a very expensive price and I wondered why a lot would be charged for conveying one to Minna, we had no much luggage on. When our car sped off, I thought it was the conductor who was standing before us. Second time I thought he was a warden.
He had first started with prayer. I did not think it was necessary to join him in prayer because I had prayed at home before setting out, and I knew my mother’s prayers got me. Knowing I was sitting away with Mr Uche, who was taking me to Minna to stay with my Uncle, I rebutted the Pastor’s authoritative order that everyone should be in the mood of prayer. And I bored the insult of how he thought I was possessed, how he hauled several castigations on my person because I have not pulled down the earpiece to join in the hustling prayer he was engaging us. To be, it was the things I could have to fight knowing I was going to a new place. Everyone could disguise as pastors, and wear the garb of religion to do tremendous things, and other time, surprising things.
The Sad Part of the Story – Preacher turns to an Armed Rubber
I was going to support the ministry before the car would pull down to a corner for the pastor to alight but then he pulled a short gun and asked everyone to alight. The driver pulled safely and the man who we thought was a God’s servant began to search our pockets. A woman’s child was crying and her mother was screaming. She had a new baby.
I had pulled my earpiece down and was shivering, I never knew I could feel hot the next minute when he cocked the gun and shot the woman’s baby. So shocked, I put my two hands on my head to express shock and before now the passengers began to scamper for safety leaving their belongings.
I looked out for Mr. Uche who was ahead of me sprinting unconsciously. Immediately, I dived into a ditch inside the bush and couldn’t explain how I got out quick and ran past under passengers. Luckily enough a stray bullet had fiercely buzzed past my ear and I lay on the floor to take cover. The sound of a police siren brought back hope as every passenger began to come out of their hideouts back to the car.
We finally set off again and as a woman started to sing praise and start another round of prayer, other passengers hushed her but she wouldn’t stop. I did not bother much because I had to increase the volume of my music.
My Experience with Security Personnel
On the road we passed so many short trees and Rocky Mountains. Military personnel were policing the roadside and were at all corners. We stopped at so many checkpoints to get searched. We have drove past Benue and switched to the lane to Kogi when at a check point, our driver was questioned. He had no driver’s license. During the check of his license, some of their officials had raided our bus in a gangster style to check for drugs. There was a man who had a black brief case. He was sitting next to me, so that I got confused when the police officer asked him to come down. He came down and was asked to open his brief case.
Inside the brief case was a drug the police officers declared illegal. Meanwhile the driver was still making phone calls to get his manager talk to the officers to release him. The driver finally paid a fine of 2000 naira and we were allowed to join the bus except for the poor sleek man who has box that contained ‘illegal’ drugs.
‘You think you are smart, they are going to continue the journey while you follow us to the station’ one of the police men insisted.
‘Please sir, it was my Doctor who prescribed it for me’ the sleek man begged.
‘Don’t worry, you will explain yourself when we get to the station’
It was still in our presence and the bus has not left when the police officers emptied the content of the brown bottle into their mouths one after another. They demanded the culprit paid some ransom or get him arrested for good. He gave them some money which he tossed into their hand, he joined the bus before we finally set off.
It was at Lokoja that our bus broke down, it was getting dark and according to Mr Uche, we are nowhere close to Minna. I began to bite my lips. Maybe we would stop another bus, I suggested to Mr Uche who didn’t say a word. Our driver tried stop several motorists to borrow their spanner but they were all afraid to stop because some rubbers applied such tricks to rob passersby. A car finally pulled and helped our driver before he veered off.
We were scared, the driver inclusive, so we continued the journey. But before then the atmosphere was already thick with darkness and it was beginning to rain. Car were seen whisking up and about, splashing water droplets on pedestrians.
When we finally pulled through a park, I thought that was it, but some passengers who were heading to Jabi and other areas of Abuja alighted and they were seen dragging their luggage after them. I had no words in my mouth to ask, and Mr Uche was fast asleep. He snored heavily in his sleep. I thought all the noise the passengers made while pulling their luggage would wake him up, but all to no avail.
The Journey Continued – This is my Story
After they have dispersed, we set off. I now had enough space to sleep. I was growing annoyed, I thought my Aunty that I was going to stay with should have called me. I overheard her, only one time before the journey set off, call Mr Uche. She had not seen us in her place at the time of the night and she did not bother about calling. I wondered if she ever wanted me to come to her place in the first place or if it was my mother’s consistence plead to take me out of the village that persuaded her.
I did not let that bother my peace of mind. I tried calling sleep what I got as an answer was purge. I had held it enough. I had started feeling dizzy from the inception of the journey and I knew I was going to throw up before the journey ended. I felt ashamed at myself and our car had to pull to a corner so I could clean up.
I threw up again after the car set off and at a junction, the bus driver had stopped so they could get me bitter kola. I wagged my mouth to chew it. It did help matter but my mouth felt bitter.
We should be close to Minna because feet were beginning to shuffle and our driver whispering excitedly. We approached a bus stop that was boldly written Minna and I gave a sign of relief. Our car finally pulled to a corner again, the driver had always been warned to park well but he would always say he knew the road more than we do. Perhaps he did not see it coming because a fast moving luxurious bus was pulling behind, maybe then we reached our destination that she was going to hack us, to death.
But we survived! This is my story again as told by me.
Thank you for reading My Story By Nancy Nweke – My journey to Minna.