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Monday, 7 February 2011


The journey started trouble free enough. It was getting fairly dark. As I looked out of the window from the front seat beside the driver, I shivered at the sight of the
darkening forest on both sides of the Lagos-Benin express road. I wondered what time I would get to my parent's home in Benin-City. The driver drove as fast as any impatient passenger could have asked for...until we faced a huge tree trunk lying across the tarred road.

It was about 9p.m. Considering I'd always preferred to start my journey early in the day, this unfolding scenery was alien to me. The tall, hefty, male passenger sitting beside me said calmly, 'It's armed robbers!!!'. The same comment was echoed by another passenger in the bus.

What would any passenger have expected a responsible, caring, commercial bus driver to have done? He should have applied his brake, made a 'U' turn and driven back to where we were coming from - Lagos. Is that too much to expect? Yes! it is.
What did the driver do? He applied his brake alright, right in front of the tree blockade. We could see a number of touch light rays shinning in the the dark night.

I quaked as I heard the word, 'armed robbers'. I'd never encountered the dreaded men in my life. Before I could shout, 'What do we do'? Other passengers who had obviously encountered men of the night previously, were already jumping out of the bus window in droves. I sat down there thoroughly and totally petrified.

My brain couldn't transmit the simple message of 'run for your life' to my limbs. The co-front seat passenger slid down and joined the hordes of fleeing travellers. When I looked left I was confronted with the frightening site of the vast jungle. And when I turned right, it was the same black, horrific spread of forest.

The fleeting thought of how awful it would be to be eaten alive by jungle animals
wheezed past my mind. The first picture that filled my frozen brain was a big-headed, hungry, roaring lion tearing my limbs apart. Instead, I sat put in the bus ALONE and afraid.

I wondered why the other passengers hadn't hesitated about fleeing into the fiery jungle. I told myself I couldn't risk being bitten by a poisonous snake. For a few more seconds, I sat alone in the now deserted hiace bus. When I sneaked a look at the approaching touchlight rays, I finally plucked up the courage to get down. I clutched my black, rucksack bag to my chest like a shield. Forcing my feet to move, I walked fearfully to the shrubs at the start of the forest, along the side of the express road.

I laid quivering on the floor hoping that I wouldn't be found by the approaching
marauders. For a few minutes or seconds, there was absolute peace and quiet. In that precious, quiet, few minutes I tried frantically to remember the first verse of Psalm 23. The sound of my fast thumping heart and my inability to breath properly made it impossible for my brain to work as it should have. My lips could only mumble, 'Goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever, Amen' over and over again. I didn't remember the fact that the Psalm started with, 'The Lord is my Shepherd...'

As I struggled to say another prayer, I felt a loud blow and a brutal slap on my head. As I was lifted up like paper weight by four ruthless men, I felt a blow to my shoulder (which turned out to be a machete cut!) and a rain of crushing slaps, more bitter blows and fierce kicks to my body.

I remember thinking that my end had come. My only consolation was that at least, I'll get to see God and have a joyous stay in Heaven. As I endured the thorough beating at the merciless hands of these men, I never for one moment thought I'll survive to recount the horrifying experience.

When the rush of blows stopped, I was dragged like a dirty sack of potato to lie face
down on the coal tar express road. To add flavour to my experience, the ring leader of the gang placed his filthy, booted leg on the small of my back as I was sprawled flat on the unfriendly, warm tar...

Watch out for the mind bogging drama unleashed by the heartless, ruthless men and our night in the forest...!

Our to deliver an intensely emotional experience you'll never forget.

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