Victims – Episode 8
A Story By Rosemary Okafor
“Your pikin dey die o, make you fine something do” Mmesomachi said to her with worries
“Pour am water na make the fever come down first” one woman suggested
“No o, him go die o, put spoon for him mouth first make him teeth no close” and so a spoon was forced inside his mouth
She had never believed in traditional remedies as a cure for sickness, Tunde her husband would have laughed at her now as she ran around like a headless chicken obeying these women around her just to see that Ogugua didn’t die
“For my village, na coconut water and palm oil we dey use cure this kine one, na evil spirit dey worry am”
“Maybe na Ogbanje, na so them dey do…”
Her mother would have prayed and bathed the child with olive oil, but she couldn’t remember the last time she prayed or even how to pray any longer. She held the child who was sweating profusely under the many wrappers used as covering for him, shaking her stretched legs and sobbing to the pity of onlookers whom was ignorant of what else to do to help, she was being hysteria;
“Madam, make you go for them Army hospital na, go explain give them, them go helep you”
“Them no go gree, na only those good Samaritan people way dey come give free injections and drugs na dem they helep us here, that Army people hospital na for only people way go fit pay money”
The free drugs by some medical organizations were majorly parasitamol and vitamin c, though it was rumored that most Anti-malaria and serious ailment drugs were being stolen by those in charge before it got to the camp, and were resold to drug store owners.
“Na him make I like as I dey, I no get husband I no get pikin, na so I go dey run around like blind fly, mtcheewww” Joyce muttered as she walked pass the hysteric woman.
Joyce has always lived and fed well in the camp, to the envy of other settlers. It was rumored that she knew almost all the top ranked military officers in the barrack and she grabbed every opportunity to confirm the rumor.
“I could get myself out of this godforsaken place any minute if I so wish, just a phone call and I will be cooling off in any good house in Abuja” she had boasted to one woman on a Sunday evening who was struggling to fed her two year old baby, amidst the mucus running down the baby’s nose into his mouth.
“Linus Mba! (A popular name giving to liars in local parlance)Why are you here sharing the same little space and bacteria infested air with us?” Another woman had muttered under her breath, this had resulted into some exchange of bitter words and blows, leaving Joyce’s clean Okirika gown torn to shreds. It was as if the woman was targeting the poor dress.
Nmesomachi couldn’t stand her neighbor with the dying child, she stood up from her mat, wiped her hands stained with dirty perspirations, grabbed the child and turned to the entrance;
“Make we go try beg them, them no go see pikin way dey die come leave am like that”
“Madam I say them no go gree eh” someone shouted behind her
“I go dump the pikin for their donmot” she stomped out of the tent, he heavy feet frightening the grasses as it made contact with the ground
‘idim idim ’
Ukwuoma jerked up like a dead woman came to life, she adjusted her wrapper which was fallen down her body exposing a bra that the elastics was sagged to the point that it needed to be tied in other to hold the already fallen breasts, she ran out with Mmesomachi,
“Ewo, women and their children, see as that one wan die because of one pikin…”
“I hear say the pikin no be she get am, her pikin them don die tey tey, this one na pick she pick am” Oga Sam replied his wife
“You say watin? So this one no be her pikin and she wan die put? Nawa o” his wife asked
“I believe say that woman don dey kolo, you no dey watch am? The way she dey behave sometimes, me sef dey fear am, chai poor woman, this life fit make person craze I swear” a young man commented, carrying a bucket of water and an old news paper.
“My own be say, if na me, I for don troway this pikin since…ah ah! Why I go dey suffer on top another person matter? I no fit o” Oga Sam’s wife added.
“I wan see dokinta!”
The two women arrived at the military hospital, Mmesomachi dashed in with the dying baby first before Ukwuoma. She shoved people at the reception front desk with her bulky body; others gave way on their own due to the odor oozing out of her body that slapped the nostril, announcing her presence even before one sees her.
“Madam what is it! Can’t you see queue? Please go to and wait till it gets to your turn!?” shouted the angry nurse
“You no see say na emergency? This pikin wan die and you say make I wait!” Mmesomachi shouted back
“Madam go to the back and wait for your turn please and stop increasing our sickness with your smell” a woman with her own child commented, arousing murmurings of agreements from other patients
“Anuofia! Na your mama dey smell you hear? All your generation and village people dey smell! Ewu Gambia, I blame you? mtcheeewww” she turned back to the Nurses at the receptionist, one had her eyes glued on the television hanged on the wall, and was smiling sheepishly at a scene where an Indian woman was being kissed by a man.
“Please mu Sisters, you people should help me, my son is dying of convulsion, I don’t have anywhere to go too, please help me I am begging you…” she broke down in tears
The first nurse looked at her from hair to toe for a while; she stood up and pushed her bulky body away from the counter to examine the child;
“You follow for those refugees them” it was a comment made with disdain
“Yes…yes we are” Ukwuoma answered with anticipation
“We no dey treat una here na, ah ah, you go go see those doctors way dey give free medicine” The nurse said to her with dismissal
Ukwuoma clapped her hands in resignation and places her hands on her head, looking sideways like a drowning woman
“Na lie, you go treat this boy today! No be human being we be? Pikin way remain small make him die na him you say make we go see which person?” Mmesomachi screamed
But the nurse was through with them; she walked back to her seat, pulled her fat short feet off her black flat shoes, and called out a name.
“Madam, follow me, I will take you to a matron who I believe would do something for your baby” someone said to Ukwuoma who was leaning on the wall, with her hands on her head and tears streaming down her face.
When they got to the house, Ogugua was almost lifeless, the three knocked on the door and it opened, on seeing the child spread on the arms of Mmesomachi, the old woman took the child from them and ushered them in without words.
Imam Ali Husayn ibn stood by the window of one of his rooms which he had turned into an office. He checked his watch periodically and looked out from the window impatiently.
If there was any time to achieve their aim and force the hand of this government it would be now. Time is running short and his men are thinning out with the country fighting them back. There was need for recruitment and he has made arrangements for that.
The Jos riot had produced positive results and it was time to push their secret agenda to the parliament, the state and the federal government would have no option than to obey their bidding as the his boys killing and maiming was beginning to bother the government.
“It is either the law is passed or nothing, the will of Allah must be done” he muttered
There was a rasp on the door, Abdul walked in with a file, and his face lit with smiles, Ali Husayn ibn knew that good news was on the way.
“As-salamu alaikum ” Yusuf greeted
“Wa-Alaikum s-Salam ” Husayn responded rubbing his two palms together
“Here are the list of names I intent to recruit for this task sir, we have started already, though some needs more convincing than the others, but they will come around” Yusuf handed the file to Husayn who examined the names and gave it back to Yusuf.
Yusuf, the only son of the Imam’s elder sister, has been a faithful ally to the secret sect since he was twelve, his grandfather, Husayn’s late father, the previous Imam, was stubborn and believed that Allah fights his own battles if need be.
Husayn has been impatient with the old man; he was too slow for his liking and always preached peace with the infidels, these infidels that took over the state, dating marrying their girls, and erecting their churches with impunity. He was now in the position to change these things and he would.
He started raising Yusuf even before his father died, Yusuf and some other young boys, with the help of other faithful who hated the late Imam’s reluctance.
“What about our men in the Army and in the government” Husayn asked
“They have been taking care of sir”
“It doesn’t look like they are helping us, their men are killing our boys”
“that has been discussed sir, and General Ali said he will do something to delay orders sir”
“Good, do the needful…Allah will be pleased with you” Husayn dismissed the young Man
To be continued
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