Voice of Nigeria (VON) Journalist, Temitope Mustapha, recounts her near-death ordeal in the hands of miscreants in Kaduna.
MY EXPERIENCE IN KADUNA CRISES.
Passing through Kaduna State on Sunday, October 21, 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 4.35 p.m, two times this gentleman who was in the same car with me woke me up and said “Madam, stay awake,” I replied him, see I had written stories previous nights before I embarked on this journey. 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” and I said you mean this road is safe for us all? They all answered yes. 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 course) beckoned on one of the youths holding a fibre of an iron. Of course, he responded in Hausa language and another passenger translated this to me that he wanted to find another route out of By- Pass.
Suddenly, a number of the young men sighted me in the car and my driver started pleading with them, telling them ” Da Allah ki ya kuri,” I was the only female in the car 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 youngmen best described as miscreants were more than 15. They started hitting the side of the car 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 confronted by men holding all manner of irons and stones. My turban (headtie) fell off. And I started running towards an uncompleted building 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 people running after me. I turned and thought of crossing the gutters on Kaduna by-Pass.
O Yes I fell down with the heaviness and marathon of stones landing on my body then I watched myself being LYNCHED with all manners of iron rods, sticks and I was being stoned at the same time.
Nobody dared stopped these youths from stonning 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 breath. Death is painful.
I suddenly didn’t not feel the hitting of the irons on my body again 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 somehow 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 by-pass. I felt peace in my body and I found solace inside the gutters. I saw these youths gathered on the other side. I blurringly saw a crowd of men watching me. And I saw clearly one of them carrying a stone with his two hands right over me, I raised up one hand pleading to him and making gestures appealing. That was the last I saw.
HEAVY SLEEP OVER POWERED ME
Heavy and deep sleep came over me inside the gutters. The thing overpowered me and I watched my hand threw away. From this moment I didn’t know what happened agai ,I cannot tell what, where and anything about me again. I don’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 my body didn’t respond. I was asked for phone numbers. Heaven helped me to remember my younger sister’s number and the father of my children’s number.
AMRULLAH Hospital …
Totally to my rescue, about six drips including flagyl and all manners were set into my system. I was revived, head suturings were done, the young Muslim doctor was crying while suturing my head. Hospital attendants were cleaning stretcher stained with my blood. Everybody 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, hid me away from them and I realised I was kept in a 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 & two nurses were given access to where I was.
I asked the only face I saw when I woke
up from the “deep sleep”, I said Pls who brought me. He looked at me with tears filled in his eyes & said A JTF Member brought you life-less. He said “we rejected you because you were not breathing and demanded he should not drop your body with us”
The AMRULLAH Hospital Manager said, when we refuse to take you the JTF Man dropped you on our stretcher and said you could come back that we should try.
AMRULLAH Hospital treated me and stabilised me. Then a thousand plus calls came on the Hospital Managers’ phone. They said my family members were dead alive and 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 even the DG I heard all sets 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 wheel-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 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, ‘mummy what did she do to them?” Her family owned me straight up.
AGAIN MY BOSSES & COLLEAGUES TRIED
Aisha John Mark, Gloria Essien and Omolayo Alabi all pinned Prof. Dr Ogrimma down, owner of SKILLS HOSPITAL. He was there for VON. Of course curfew did not allow X-tray operator to be at work. But Dr Ogrimma tried for me. He ensured the fractured hand was well tied and he 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. Of course UNICEF contacted Kaduna State government. Lo and behold! Commissioner For Health Kaduna State visited the following afternoon of the attack. He later sent an ambulance which took me to Government Hospital on ” KD State government’s demand” though no bed space and everywhere was already filled with victims.
44 MILITARY HOSPITAL & 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 carried me to 44 MILITARY HOSPITAL to attend to my dangling fractured and dislocated hand. The army medical doctors insisted on thorough X-ray 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 crisis 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 @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 which God used to stabilise me after coming out of deep sleep and yet not delivering me into the hands of the hot headed miscreants. 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.