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Ekong A Usua

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YASHMAK
by Ekong A Usua   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, August 13, 2010
Posted: Friday, August 13, 2010

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Two people wanted to get married but the circumstances won't permit. A Christian and a Muslim. Funny enough, the man was a "worker" in Church and would have a negative answer of support from his Church officials and members but eventually they did get a married; how?

Early in the morning a voice began to speak. The voice seemed to be that of someone who had authority to command. He glanced briefly at his wristwatch that was on his bedside stool. It was 5.00 am and it got louder as seconds ticked by. It became obvious that the voice was that of an Imam; one who had the empowerment to wake his adherents up. He tried but couldn’t continue sleeping as the voice went on and on, particularly louder. As it became louder, it definitely was the handiwork of an electronic loud speaker. “This God forsaken people have started again. This is Port Harcourt City and not Mecca. God, can’t someone sleep”. Apparently, he began to wonder how the forthcoming day would be, so much so that he didn’t realize that he could do something so important and that was to fall into a deep sleep which started “round two” of his wonderful sleeping saga on Tuesday, the 30th day of September 2008, a public holiday…..

He expected her to return back from work. It was around 6.30pm that she usually came back presumably from work. She didn’t have a known friend on the street or so it seemed because at no point in time had she ever been seen talking or saying hello to another person on the street. Perhaps, may be to her immediate neighbours but she definitely had a one way return trip, going to and coming back from work. None of his co-tenants had an idea where she worked. That was uncommon. He however noticed that she always stopped over at Eka Phillip’s residence, a one room apartment to buy domestic necessities very close to his residence. Eka Phillip’s was an Ibibio woman and such women were known to be gentle but something seemed to be gravely wrong with her. Identifying what her problems were would definitely neither be of help to him nor even her husband who seemed to be okay with whatever it was and was always silent as he was neither seen encouraging nor discouraging her. At least she did quarrel openly with some customers and many times in his presence. She was such a cantankerous woman who exchanged hostile words with almost everybody on the street. Some how, may be magically or otherwise, customers still patronized her little shop.

It was 7.25 pm and this evening seemed perfect to approach her as there were few people around. As she passed in front of his unfenced house he whispered semi loudly, “hi”. She looked around and discovered the greeting was obviously addressed to her there being no other person around. She replied “hi”. “I’m Notunde and you are…” “I’m Aisha”. He quickly strolled forward towards her and extended his hand for a handshake with her. “I hope work hasn’t tired you so much”. “Not really”. “I myself just got back from work only to realize that the National Electricity Corporation seem to be doing their work well”. “Well…?” “Yes, they work well by not giving electricity”. “Oh! That’s funny. Perhaps one day we shall have a good and responsible leadership in Government. Elected government officials or rather members of the different States Houses of Assembly’s should remember the people who elected them and then seek to meaningfully represent them and not think that being elected is simply the time their own poverty has ended”. Their conversation continued for about 20 minutes before Aisha realized it was close to 8 pm. It was very revealing that she was interested in their country and what happens to it. Unlike so many other women who were very much interested in fashion, she was quite articulate in other issues. She excused herself and promised to see Notunde again if he was outside like today. Notunde wanted to ask if that was a commitment from her but suddenly opted not to ask as it would seem as if he was asking too for much at an early stage. It took over a month to see her again and this time it was on a Saturday evening. He was extremely delighted to see her and said “Long time no see” She replied “I seem to have forgotten your name. I’ll remember it in a jiffy; em em” “Let me help you” “No. I don’t forget things easily. Okay, it’s Tunde” “Nice try, but it’s Notunde” “Yes!” “So how are things?” “Fine” “By the way, you haven’t told me where you’re from, the schools you attended, where your folks are, you’re brothers and sisters, what they do and …” “ you know we’ve just met and I can’t tell you so fast” “ Then, can I have the permission to invite you out for a treat at the Pumpkins Fast Food & Restaurant so that we’ll talk and get to know ourselves better” As she was about to say no, Notunde added, “Pleeeease” “Okay but could you give me another hour to go home and freshen up” “No problem. I’ll be waiting or should I come to your house to pick you” “No, but you’re sounding as if you know where I live. Just hang on; I’ll be back sooner than expected”. As she left Notunde wondered whether the money he had would be okay for the expense on the treat he had gotten himself into. He had just N2,000.00 Naira to spare. The other money he had on him was for a brief that one of his clients had paid for. Yes, paid for. He was a Lawyer and first thing on Monday morning, he had to begin to prepare court processes and file them in the High Court’s Process Registry. “Kai, which kind wahala wey I don put for my head oh”. At least he’d be careful in spending the money tonight.

Truly, Aisha came back and it appeared that she was truthful to her word. However something popped into Notunde’s mind. She may have come back because of not been out on a date for a long time. May be, she lacked dates on her agenda, may be not. In any case he had a date with her and he hoped to make the outing one to remember. So they boarded a taxi, though it seemed like they spent about 15 minutes to get one. As the taxi moved and probably about two minutes thereafter the Taxi driver stopped to pick another passenger by a popular junction called Woji junction. This passenger was more than normal size. Infact he was a ‘Yokozuna’ and everyone in the Taxi probably wondered where he would fit in. It was a usual normal practice for Taxi drivers to carry four passengers at the back seat of the car but this passenger was indeed fat. Thank God that he and Aisha where in the front seat. He wondered for a few seconds how he would have felt if he was that size when suddenly Aisha pricked him and indicated that that the driver had indicated that they move to the backseat of the car so that the man could seat in front. Notunde disagreed and refused. Apparently it seemed that time was being wasted so the man opted for another coming Taxi. It was not long after that they got to where they were going to and they got down. As they entered the Pumpkins Fast Food & Restaurant it seemed a very busy place. In his mind, “Saturday night out; it ought to be busy”. It was people oriented and service by the servitors seemed like they had very important guests. They were led to the seat-in section that was apparently for diners, couples or families. You could see a section of the restaurant having an in–house playing ground that had a toy playhouse apparently for little kids. Even at that time they got there, were quite a few kids playing and it was such fun, at least to them. Unknown to Notunde, Aisha had her own thoughts. She wondered when she would have kids who would say, “Mummy, mummy we want to go out for some ice cream at the Pumpkins”. She would reply “okay, but go and get all changed up. You all need to look smart”.

A female servitor then took their order and went for it. She however brought a large plastic bottle of water and two servings of pineapple juice while they waited for their ordered food to arrive. It then struck Notunde that he ought to be careful about the way he went about asking questions before he seemed like a “fast brother”. So he began by asking her “it’s a nice evening; from your name Aisha, are you a Moslem and which State are you from?” “Yes, from Nassarawa State” “You hardly look like a Moslem” “And how do they look like” “All dressed up in their caftans or like the women, all covered up allowing only their eyes to show” “You see Nigerians have a distorted view of Moslems. By the time you get to know a real Moslem family you would discover that in Islam there are so many sects that you’ll begin to wonder about the little you know. There are over 7 sects in Islam. We have the fundamentalist or Shuwa or Shiites or even Sunni… ”. The servitor came and informed them that their order would be served in a few minutes more. “Funny enough, I didn’t know that. To me, all Moslems are the same, usually finding Christians to vent their problems on. Sometimes the impression that I have of them, especially southerners like me is that they all are troublesome people, most especially the impression I had when I was doing my Youth Service Corps scheme in Kano State…” “When did you do your Youth Service?” “Between 1990 and 1991” “That’s quite some time now, why aren’t you married?” “Because you haven’t agreed” “Me…we’ve just met and most likely your folks would never approve you and a Moslem” “Says who, my folks would only probably find out our seriousness and what your own folks would say. I should be on the asking side, won’t your parents and close relatives say something’s wrong or out rightly disagree?” “No” “why” “because my mum was a Christian from Ogoja in Cross River State before she married my dad” “Do you know the circumstances in which they met before getting married” “Yes. Initially my mum never wanted to talk about it but when my senior sister and I were very curious she hesitatingly told us that she met my dad when both of them were in the Hopkins University in the United States of America. They had met in the student’s African Union Headquarters when she escorted a friend who had gone to find out if she had any letter from home. After some weeks thereafter they met again and subsequently started seeing each other until it became a relationship which later became so serious and ended up in a court registry wedding attended by a few of their colleagues” “It seemed that they didn’t seek their parents consent” “Yes, because they knew that their parents would not and still don’t approve of it” “But it’s a long time now” “ Their parents, I mean both of them are still in anger with them for not only getting married without their consent but that my mother was over 7 months pregnant when they finally returned to Nigeria”.


The servitor returned with the Rice Shimanski and Salad they had ordered for and they began to have their meal. Thinking about what Aisha had just said, he wondered whether his own parents would have done the same thing. Well, his father was from Akwa Ibom State while his mother was from Lagos State. These are two geographically far apart places in Nigeria, the south far-east and the south far-west. His parents met at Cuba in 1960 when both of them were still students of the University of Ibadan. Cuba was a ballroom dance that every student attended at least once in his student life time. Notunde thought that where you are from doesn’t matter but your religion does, but it seemed that it was an issue not yet resolved at least in the world. Only time would tell. “ You seem to be in deep thought” “ Yes, because I really didn’t think of it but it does appear that it may be a problem for me despite coming from a schooling family there will be some issues in the long run. If I told my dad, the first thing he would do is to mention it to his younger brother, my uncle and he is rather on the difficult side” “What do you mean by difficult side?” “Anyway, let’s forget the issue for now and may be I can tell you some simple jokes” “Jokes?” “Yes” “okay”… “A judge in giving a court order said you have been accused of bombarding God with prayers! You are hereby sentenced to long life and prosperity, no bail, no appeal. You have also been classified blessed and hereby detained in Gods custody forever. Amen! You have been destined to make it and you shall surely achieve all your goals this year!” “Ha ha ha” “...Again a lawyer defending a man accused of burglary tried this creative defence: my client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few trifling articles. His arm is not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offence committed by his limb.” “Well put,” the judge replied. “Using your logic, I hereby sentence the defendant’s arm to one year imprisonment. He can accompany it or if not, as he chooses.” The defendant smiled and with his lawyer’s assistance, he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench and walked out. They continued with the hilarious times until about 10.30 pm. What a day!

When he woke up the following morning he immediately took his bath and got dressed up to attend church service at the Glorious Latter Rainmakers Church. He was a worker and particularly the Head of Department, Publications Department. He was off to Church at exactly 6.30 am as the Church’s work force usually met at 7 am which meeting usually ran till about 7.45am when the Church Service would have started at 7.30am with Sunday school. The Church’s Parish Pastor, Pastor Edij Imaludo that Sunday did not preach as visiting Evangelist Demi Dagundudu did. He was based in Abuja who greeted the Church and extended his greetings from his wife, children and members of his Church, New Life Covenant Church International to the Church members before starting to preach. Those who felt a spiritual push to repent were close to a hundred brethren. By the time he got home it was 4.30 pm that Sunday. Hardly did he remember that he had to attend a house fellowship by 6.00pm that night because he was extremely tired and fell asleep as soon as he lay on his bed. On waking up he checked the time and found out that it was 3.00 am the following morning. Realizing that he didn’t have any job he brought home on his mind then obviously he decided to do only one thing that came into his mind which must have been the reason that woke him up…Aisha. God! He was sure that he had met his better half. It wasn’t the peace of mind or even happiness that he now had. No woman had ever made him feel so internally joyful. Yes! He was so joyful but he had to keep the feeling in him. He could hear the bells ringing. Was this the beginning of a dream? Only time would tell but he remembered the words of the bible in Proverbs 18:22 which says “whosoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and gets the favour of the Lord” Without realizing it he began prayers in an unknown spiritual tongue “… re-ma li ko ri baca ton-gi la rimon dila bi-la-ga-ribaba-tongui-san- tariba-liquo prilongwe da afor ori me lon so ke ce tifamigogo lepronske nsidie ma ligo nebraski monvina cetifalimposima-remoli ma fa ri sa ni poka de-rali hu sika limbro limbasa pro ke mashi kea dit moprokes ka simke no rilon dilashi ma fra si no bo shi laga fri dami logo si fa re le fasi ngola nimasi frafi longila poroskeimama lepraski fatu neracpe gontee per sim belasi pofimkeke vi lambrese je meme ki ra sim polego inana rimbo lamasi ko nimbarasimlepishke … He did not know how long he continued praying only that when he woke up he noticed some external early morning movements by the sounds usually made by his neighbours. He checked his timepiece and it read 6.30am. He quickly went to the bathroom to get prepared for the day.

That Monday evening Notunde expected to see Aisha as she returned from work but met an envelope fixed in between the door and the mosquito netting. Opening it he discovered it was from Aisha indicating that she had to travel to Kaduna for 3 weeks with some of her colleagues on a field- trip for her company and would stop over in Abuja to say hello to her parents on her way back. All Notunde could do was to pray and hope that the 3 weeks would be over soon. At least he had some Church activities to partake in especially the Word Conference starting in a few days time. His Church Minister in charge of some details of the Conference delegated the front and back entrance registration centres to him to supervise, so he had much to do as he was in charge of ensuring that registration was done without hitches. About a minimum of about 3 thousand people were expected to attend and this registration activity would probably go on for at least four days of the six days the conference was to last. The first day was opened by the State Pastor, Pastor Josiah Effe while the next two days were very interesting as the Guest speaker was a well known Minister, Reverend Victor Ayemi, the General Overseer of the Grace Changers Ministry International while the following day Speaker was a Motivational Speaker/Businessman Brother Elef Eyotorud. The Conference was jam packed with examples and situations of lack of purpose, misdirection’s of purposes, getting into the proper state of mind and striking out even though not seeing what you hope for in life. Abraham and Apostle Paul were given as role models but they were made more realistic when proper models especially recent Nigerians were mentioned and explanations given. Notunde personally learnt a lot and definitely would keep them in a safe brain that is in his heart. This was so, particularly because such information could be lost later on even if you had an exercise book to write them down.

When Aisha returned back from her trip, it seemed like a year had just elapsed. He felt like he had found a lost part of his body. For so many years he had not worried about his single status but just when he started to worry about his still being single, God had helped him to find his wife to be. He definitely would mention it to Aisha for a proper discussion. He prayed to God to give him the confidence and stamina to do so. This to him was over sixteen years, yes, sixteen years of waiting on God for the right person. For a second, he wondered “was she Gods allocated choice or his choice?” What would his elder brothers or sister say? He didn’t have to worry about his friends or particularly his uncle. He was convinced in his spirit man that she was God’s choice. He prayed over the matter on a daily basis and had related the issue to his closest friend and brother in Church, Lasisi who demanded that they both have late night prayer sessions separately in their various homes every day for a fortnight before going any further in this matter because the Pastorate of the Church would never approve the marriage between a Christian and a Moslem.

Within five days of late night prayer sessions something miraculously happened. On Saturday night in front of his house Aisha offered to come to his Church for service the following day and as she did so she subsequently gave her life to Christ. She however changed her first name to Eunice and started attending the New Believers weekly classes on Wednesdays for 2 months. Her parents were well aware of the changes and wished her the best. It did not affect their relationship as parents/child nor did it change her brother and sister’s attitudes. Things seemed to be working out as Notunde wanted it to be. They however kept their relationship very secret and particularly apart because it definitely would be construe d by the Church Pastorate and the Church members as a deliberate ploy to confuse them as to the truth of the matter. If they knew that she had even visited at his home once talk less of several times then their relationship was suspect. Notunde knew the actions of the Church Pastorate could be frustrating so to avoid them he opted to stay far away from Eunice for as long as possible. He knew that all things work together for those that love God and are called according to his purpose. He loved God and was called for his purpose so why won’t he wait!

Six months thereafter, Notunde and Eunice decided that they were ready for what they had in mind. Notunde approached Pastor Edij who in the usual official manner postponed the meeting till the next two weeks. He further postponed it for another two weeks thereafter until he claimed he now had time to listen to him. After listening to him, he wrote down the encounter in a big note book and said he would contact the sister. This was the Church policy and had to be strictly followed. On the next appointed day he pushed their meeting again on the matter until 2 weeks from that day. Notunde had to continue praying. He had to because he had come into many spiritual attacks which manifested in the many challenges he was facing. Some of his client’s were not servicing their retainership fees, official business debts and personal challenges were also there. He wondered, “Things were rough generally but is this how being married is going to be. The good Lord is in control.” A debt which he had forgotten suddenly came into focus. He had pleaded with his creditor to unfailingly postpone the collection of the debt until say some six months thereafter. He was thankful to God for the postponement, as this debt was incurred three years ago when he was a “play around” unserious person who as at then seemed like he had no plans for the future.

In that thankful spirit his mind drifted back some years ago and he remembered some other issues he had gotten himself into. He had been a semi-drunk who always had daily drinking sessions with some of his boon friends at another friend’s pub at the close of work. He recalled one occasion which was very unforgettable…it was a Wednesday evening at about 6.30 pm when he was about to close for the day, a man walked into his Law Office and wanted to see the lawyer in charge of the office. Initially, Notunde wanted to postpone him as he wasn’t sure why he came but the man seemed to read his thoughts and said that he was referred to the Law Office by Mrs. Apiafi Sontarunti, a lady who had such an issue which he was to reveal and was handled by one Barrister Notunde. After introducing himself as Chief Demimore Pepple, Notunde corresponded by then introducing himself properly and asked the man to relate the issue he had. For the next two hours he talked about his legal problem which was about the proprietary of the Rivers State Government seeking to cancel an allocation of land issued to him by the past civilian government which he had already registered in the State Government Land Registry. When he finished talking Notunde asked him some questions and then decided to take up the case. He charged N350, 000.00 for his legal services in handling the case. Chief Demimore Pepple agreed and without any form of hesitation brought out N150, 000.00 as a deposit for the legal proceedings in the High Court that was to be filed. After receiving the brief and the pertinent documents involved, he asked the “Chief” to come back on the following day late in the afternoon by which time he would have been back from the High Court premises for a continuation on the matter. As he left Notunde was sure that the night was going to be a loud and noisy one as he now had money to spend.

Indeed, it was; as he and Hajile, a close friend went out to two different Night Clubs. They boozed themselves, made noise, laughed the night out and ended up both taking two girls of the night to his home. The following morning at about 6.00 am he and Hajile woke up to discover that the girls were nowhere but gone. Hajile was of the opinion that the girls of such a trade usually went home early but Notunde was felt that something was wrong. Suddenly Notunde got up from his bed and decided to check his pocket for his cash, only to discover that it was empty! He had been robbed. The girls had nicked all his little cash. He was annoyed but Hajile calmed him down as they both were careless. It was painful because he lost about N20,000.00 in N1,000.00 notes. In any case he was thankful that the he had not taken all the money he was given by his client. He thereafter took his bath and went to work. Ah! Notunde presently came back to reality and realised that God had saved him from such a life. He remembered Hajile, they were still friends but not too good friends again as he refused to give his life to Jesus. All he could do was pray and hope that his friend would come into the saving grace of the Lord.

The next day at about 8.00 pm Notunde had just had arrived at home from a meeting he attended with some Senior Police Officers and representatives of Brokama at the Rivers State Commissioner of Police Office Complex in respect of a case which he represented his client, Furgirole Nigeria Incorporated that was involved with some natives of Brokama in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. His client handled a Lorraine Petroleum Development Corporation road construction sub-contract which was later abandoned midway by them because the natives of Brokama waylaid some of its staff personnel and thereby forcing an abandonment of the completion of the contract. The natives had insisted that they must be given all manual labour jobs or the contract will be stopped from continuing. The company was thus ignited to seek the intervention of the Nigeria Police Force. He thus missed the Thursday night weekly Power Heal Service in church; he surprisingly met Eunice waiting for him. “Hi. How was your day” “Fine and yours” “Great. Hope no problems” “No” “I was just returning from work and decided to stop by and see how you are faring. I bought you some snacks” “Thanks, you’re one in a million but it’s a great risk as our intentions have not been officially been announced” “I know but I had to see you. Anyway Pastor Edij sent for me and…” “Asked you some questions about marriage and some other things” “Yes” “Like I told you we got to be careful about our movements. We don’t want anything to spoil our intentions. It’s a great risk you took. You know in other churches we just need to be sure of our intentions before it gets to the Pastor but in ours it’s the opposite, more cumbersome” “okay, but we’ll see later. Let me not take up more of your time but…” “Darling, we’ll see. You know a lot of brothers and sisters are self appointed custodians of the church policies, so let’s not make them happy”.

Five months thereafter they got married in their Church and decided to spend 4 days each consecutively in their parents’ homes in Calabar and Abuja before going on their honeymoon. They both moved round getting to know each family member well. They had such nice times with their parents after which they proceeded to the Central African Island of Sao Tome & Principe where they wished their times could be made longer. It was such a beautiful time out for a newly married couple. On their return Notunde moved in with Eunice as his residence was unfenced. He wanted to look for another place but Eunice pleaded with him to settle the debt to his friend which was incurred many years ago and which he had promised paying after his wedding. Their joy continued until something slowly and stylishly happened that took Notunde out of town. Notunde had a brief to transact for a client, Mr. Patrick Etim in Nassarawa State. He was not just a client but a friend, businessman and an excavator who he negotiated on his behalf with an indigene to lease a quarry site to excavate Barite stones. Four months thereafter the indigene felt that the contract be re-visited by the payment of more money which obviously meant a sharp increase of the financial terms. Initially, the indigene was not taken seriously but when he caused many of his fellow indigenes to block the only road to and from the quarry site and prevented 15 loaded trucks from moving out of the quarry for onward movement down to Port Harcourt, was the issue now taken seriously. The issue which Notunde hoped would be resolved in a month and for which he went to Nassarawa to arbitrate with the man but it seemed that the one month of talks was of no effect. It was a complete and total loss for Mr Patrick Etim because he had hired the trucks and had to begin an unending settlement packages with the various owners. He however had a bigger loss to consider; the Company that needed the consignments of the Barite stones, Zimpasi Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited which gave him a job order for 20 thousand kilograms of Barite stones valued at N60m and for which he had consequently taken out a loan from his bankers indicated to him through a warning letter that he had two weeks more to supply the second batch of Barite stones amounting to 5 thousand kilograms failing which the job order expires and his company will be officially warned.

The matter now had to be handled by the Assistant Inspector General of Nigeria Police Force Zone 7, Jos, Plateau State. Notunde then pleaded with Mr Patrick Etim that while the matter is being handled by the Nigeria Police Force he should make quick alternative arrangements to get other supplies probably reduced profits by sharing the job order with another excavator. This will enable him to still remain in the good books of Zimpasi Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited. For myriad of minutes Mr Patrick Etim was silent and when he spoke he readily agreed. “Okay. I have to make a few calls and probably make a trip to Benue State to negotiate with one or two excavators” “I’ll see the Assistant Inspector General of Police tomorrow morning and see how far we can go. Don’t call him to tell him you’re travelling. He’ll know through me in the morning and I’ll tell him that you’d probably be back in say… four days time.” “Before I go tomorrow morning I’ll drop a cheque for N100, 000.00 to cover your official expenses for a few more days. I had hoped that this project would move on smoothly and take me to another level.” “Well, that’s the Nigerian factor”.

Later that night, just before going down to the restaurant section for his dinner he called home and spoke to Eunice “Hi, Pum Pum, I hope you’re alright?” “Alright…, I’m missing you seriously. I can’t even sleep well. Just come back home now now” “I’ll be back soon as the matter is now with the Police. I’ll be seeing the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 7, Jos tomorrow morning” “That even reminds me. Call my dad and find out which particular indigene is involved. I hope you’ve not forgotten that were he is from” “That’s true , I forgot completely” “Anyway, just take care and sleep well. Love you”. After his dinner that night, Notunde called his Father in-Law and related the incident to him particularly that he’d been in Nassarawa State for about five weeks. He’s Father -in-Law promised to look into the matter. The following day, Notunde got into a chartered cab and was driven out of town to Jos, Plateau state for a meeting with the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 7, Jos. On getting there he was informed by his Secretary that last night he received a message from the Inspector General of Police to come over to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and had to leave first thing in the morning. She wasn’t sure when he would return.

On his return to Nassarawa State at about 2pm, he received a call from his Father-in- Law that he should seek the company of a Hausa speaking lawyer and go to the indigene involved as he discovered that the man was his maternal uncle. So at about 7pm he was in the village where site was to see the indigene with some of his close relations. Luckily for him he was in the company of two other Hausa speaking lawyers and they began a long talk. It seemed that they were getting on fine with hope in sight until two young men probably in their early thirties came into their midst and started speaking a dialect which even the Hausa lawyers didn’t understand. It wasn’t Hausa but definitely they could understand a little bit. Apparently, the boys were the man’s children and it was obvious that they didn’t want settlement in a gentleman’s way. Sooner than later the Hausa lawyers said they should go because the manner in which those two young men were speaking it was obvious that they seemed to have trouble around them. From their speeches which the Hausa speaking lawyers could decipher, they were asking whether we were the people who took them to the Assistant Inspector General of Police in Jos, Plateau State and that we can’t thereafter come to see them. Before they knew what was happening, a crowd had started forming and we consequently had to rush to our cars and out of the village very quickly. The next morning, petty news filtered that trouble had brewed up on an excavation site and that some heavy duty trucks had been destroyed. Notunde then received a call from his Father -in-Law and he told him every thing that happened. He advised that Notunde leave the hotel immediately and get out of Nassarawa State because the man’s children were at best hoodlums who would locate me and only God knows what their plans may be.

Notunde then decided to fly out of Nassarawa State. He quickly got dressed and was on his way out of town through the Airport. As he got on the plane he thanked God for the relief. He couldn’t imagine that such an incident would become a serious conflict. By the time the plane arrived in Port Harcourt it was all busy as usual. He called Eunice and informed her that he was back and they’ll talk in the night as he was on his way to his office. On getting there he received a call from Mr Patrick Etim on his mobile phone that all was well as he’d been able to get another excavator to supply the Barite stones. Notunde briefed him on some issues but postponed the rest until he got back to Port Harcourt. He left to go home at about 4pm and on reaching there slept off till 8pm when Eunice came back from work. Funny enough he slept off again almost immediately that Eunice realised that he was extremely tired. The following day, unconfirmed reports had it that there seemed to be a quarrel between Nassarawa and Akwa Ibom people in Nassarawa State that was heading towards a blood bath. While waiting for confirmed reports via the news reports, Akwa Ibom people started slaughtering Nassarawa people in Akwa Ibom State based on unconfirmed reports of the killing of Akwa Ibom people in Nssarawa State. Before anybody could get confirmed reports of any news, different reports of the various bloodbaths in the two states became common. Tales of the death of Akwa Ibom and Nassarawa people now seemed to be the breaking news. Police officers in Nassarawa and Akwa Ibom States had taken up positions in strategic positions. Notunde decided to call Ibrahim, his Lawyer friend who assisted him and he was told a more pathetic story. There were scores and scores of dead people in Nassarawa state obviously from Akwa Ibom State. The news reports were mild. In Akwa Ibom State a good number of Northerners and not Nassarawa indigenes were killed such that the trouble seemed to just start. Police officers definitely were doing the best but it seemed the trouble was getting messier, so much so that soldiers had to be brought in. The President of the Federal Government of Nigeria had to go on air to make a national speech to calm things down. He imposed a 7am to 6pm day time movement and threatened to impose a state of emergency if the need arises in both Akwa Ibom and Nassarawa states.

Thereafter it took over 8 months of public enquiry that the truth was identified and established. During the investigations of the panel set up to look into the facts of the ethnic disturbances, many other issues came out. Apparently many of the so called educated or literate people within the two states involved came with so many issues which were generational. Some were personal issues which the disturbances were used as an overriding reasons for contracts to be abandoned or cancelled. However the real issues came out when Mr Patrick Etim, Barrister Notunde, Barrister Ibrahim and the indigene were summoned to the panel based on the papers presented by Mr Patrick Etim. Of note, Mr Patrick Etim particularly insisted that he wanted a compensation package of N5m to be paid to him…

“Daddy, daddy wake up. It will soon be time for us to go to the Zoo and see those wonderful animals. He again wondered, this time where their mother was. Anyway, his beautiful girl and handsome boy’s disturbance was a usual and welcome development. He had forced himself to have a break from official work and come to Abuja with his wife Eunice and family, to correspond with the two day public holidays which ran consecutively on a Monday and Tuesday but particularly Eunice’s mother’s birthday. It was good to bring the children also; as they hadn’t been seen by their grandparents for over 5 years save by pictures. There was so much of joy. Eunice came right into the room and informed him that breakfast with the whole extended family was ready and that he should be ready soon. He allowed himself to be harassed by his kids after all, what God has put together let no man put asunder…



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