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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Pandemonium-Brother Killing Brother! Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by nina, United States May 16, 2009
Human Rights , Peace & Conflict   Short Stories
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The day was Monday, February 28th 2000, the very dawn of the new millennium with millennium fever still in the air. The day started for my mother and I like the day before it, very ordinary. If only we knew what was to happen later that day. My mom had gotten up very early that morning for her usual daily trip to Cemetery Market Aba, [South-Eastern Nigeria] to buy fresh fruit, especially fresh mangoes. I love mangoes, it doesn’t matter what type, and the very soft and mushy ones were my favorite. I was nine months pregnant and was craving mangoes like never before, so my mom bought as many as twenty different kinds of mangoes and the two of us (I should probably say three of us) sat down and ate all throughout the day.

Today was different; she was uncharacteristically back from the market earlier than usual, which surprised me and when I asked her, she mentioned that Cemetery Market was empty, that there were rumors about some type of trouble between the Hausas [Nigerian Northerners] and the non-indigenes brewing in the North. We quickly put that thought out of minds and conversation; it has become the norm for our brothers in the North to kill non-indigenes for any reason they deemed fit. The news media referred to such killings as “sectarian crisis in the north,” and such news was no longer shocking to us or worth dwelling on. Everyone in the East knew that that’s what was obtainable in the North and has learned to cope with these disastrous outbursts without retaliations.

At that point in my life, I was living in the Eastern part of Nigeria where most of the fruits and vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, lettuce, cabbages, cucumbers, etc., were obtained from the Northern States on a daily basis. If you visited Cemetery Market around 4-6 in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon, you would’ve seen tons of trucks from the North with all kind of goods being off-loaded by strong men often wearing tattered T-shirts and faded trousers. The men picked up these heavy brown or white sacks and placed them on their shoulders and ran from one corner of the market to another yelling “Out of the way,” to fellow marketers. Sometimes they passed the sacks to a fellow “Onye Oburu” [Carriage Men] shoulder to shoulder. Everyone quickly got out of their way as the men sped by grunting and sweating profusely.

Around 6pm that day, my water unexpectedly broke and we headed off to the Women’s Specialist Hospital Aba. When we entered the hospital, the gate man- Abubakir [Northerner] whom I have come to know during my frequent visits was in a company of men dressed in a similar caftan outfit as him. He waved to us and my mother said something in Hausa and he yelled something back. We went inside and that was the last time we saw Abubakir. The baby was born around 8pm without any incident and the mom and baby slept off until we heard the thumping on the big black Iron Gate.

An angry mob had gathered at gate yelling, “bring Abubakir out now! Or we will burn down this hospital.” All the patients in the hospital were confused; we didn’t know what was going on. The doctors were nowhere to be found and the nurses came in and turned off the lights. They simply told us that the Chief Medical Director was on his way and would explain everything once he arrived. We were also told that no one was allowed to leave or come into the hospital. My mother held my hands and told me that whatever was going on out there can never be as bad as what she experienced during the Biafra/Nigeria Civil War few years back. I closed my eyes and prayed to God to give me the strength like my mother’s. The banging and clanging in the main entrance subsided and it appeared the mob had left. I closed my eyes and thanked God again; at least I can get some sleep now.

The visitors that came the next day brought with them the evil news on the killings all over the nation. The rumor about the killings of non-indigenes in the North was indeed true and the news coming from the North by word of mouth indicated that thousands of Igbo men, women and school children have been killed already. Those who escaped swore they saw the charred bodies of Igbo [Easterners] men, women and children loaded in the trucks bound for the East. The mental image of trucks filled with Igbos corpses triggered an unprecedented outrage by the Igbos and many took laws into their hands and sought out Northerners living in the eastern states. Many were killed and burned, women and children included. The news spread quickly throughout the eastern state and by Tuesday’s evening, the major streets were filled with charred bodies of men, women and children of Northern descents.

One of the images of that day has haunted me for years. I was discharged on Wednesday and while been driven home by kind and wonderful family members, I saw a body of a pregnant woman, lying on the street killed by an angry mob simply because she was an Hausa woman. I couldn’t help myself but cried as our car drove by her face .The child’s life has been snuffed out because the wrong woman was carrying him/her. She was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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My name is Eucharia Nina Chika Igwe; I'm a citizen of the world. I love to write, among many other things.

I currently reside in the USA and would one day like to be a Minister for Health. Health and Wellness-related issues are my passion. I strongly believe that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

High self-esteem is one of the things that has sustained me. Love starts with oneself and then flows out to the rest of one's environment.

I am a spirit-filled individual determined to make a whole lot of difference in this generation and in generations to come.

I do ask one thing of you: Always give your honest opinion about my writings. It is truly appreciated. Make each day a memorable one. Ndewo!!!

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