Three of us were walking back home after school one day in 1989. We decided to change route; instead if going to Marafa Estate through ABU Teaching Hospital by Dendo, we took the Doctor’s Quarters.
Those familiar with this area know to access the ABUTH, you’ll pass through Tafawa Balewa Girls Secondary school. That area, towards Dendo, that’s where notorious boys occupy and ‘obtain’ boys of their monies, shoes, bags and co. They sometimes rape girls who stray or are left behind.
Whichever route you take, you’ll run into gang boys. Your passage is dependent on who you are or the mood the boys are in.
Back to my story…
On our way while plucking mangoes, we heard this chilling cry. Followed by an appeal for help.
We looked at each other and without any plan went in the direction of the cry. We searched for a few minutes when we ran into 5 mean looking boys trying to rape two girls who where fighting and resisting them.
“Leave them alone,” Wale barked.
“If we don’t?” Said the smallest of them 5. And they advanced towards us.
I saw them draw different weapons; a suya knife (the long type used to skin rams, cows or goats). Another wrapped a huge chain around his hand, one held a handkerchief.
Now, if you know weapons well, for one to stab you or hit you with a chain, they’ll have to get close to you. At least a few feet. But anyone holding a handkerchief sure can reach you ‘before really reaching you’.
Boys usually wrap pepper in handkerchief to spray in your eyes while another will stab you multiple times…
I knew this and asked my friends, “hold on, let them move towards us”. They did.
I let go my ram skin bag to draw out a ‘long neck axe’ and a 7 inch double stick with machine clutch cable twisted head. I handed Ayo the axe and asked Wale, “take this”. He refused.
Wale is huge. He used to box while in Lagos and even while we were in school, he was a bouncer at Crown Club, Rock road.
He packed some sand in both hands and ran towards them, against what we agreed. Pouring the sand in their faces, catching them on counter.
They stopped in surprise and wanted to beat a retreat but we had caught up with them.
Blood mixed with sweat and sand; the ladies who initially ran away returned with some other boys-their home boys.
That day passed. These same boys got back to their abode and told the story. I was identified and they decided to launch a counter attack.
I left school and parted ways with my buddies; Wale, Ayo, Nnamdi and Henry at the St. John’s college (aka Rimi College) gate. I noticed after passing by the last building block in Tafawa Balewa that I was been trailed by 3 gang boys so I increased my pace. Close to Dendo, one emerged from the tree he tried to block my path, I shoved him off and moved even faster up the road and past late chief Sunny Okogwu’s house and cornered to my area. They pursued until they saw me take that turn and backed down.
I told my friends at school and they decided we find them. Especially the main leader Barnabas. We met him at the Kabala Doki football field and Wale roughened him up; him and a few boys.
They swore to hunt us down one by one.
We were at the Prison’s football field behind the prison yard and the boys made to stab me. I dodged and picked a plank, chasing the culprit.
Basquet sent for me later to inquire what happened. I explained. So he asked me to return the following day in the evening before the football training at 4pm.
I did and met 3 of those boys we’d beaten close to Doctor’s Quarters. I relayed what transpired again and they were asked if its true. They deny but said, “we dey mind our business when him and Jim gang attack us…” GOC stood up, slapped them one by one, kicking and hitting them. He matched them to the police station from there. They spent days before they were bailed.
Basquet got them released but with a stern warning; “if anything do Segun, even if una eye am and he report una, even ‘Tincos’ no go save una”.
Everybody went their ways.
I told my friends about it and and that was how a vigilante group was formed to patrol those areas to ‘arrest’ purse/bag snatchers, rapists, gang members, etc.
Wetin bring this story? I ran into the gang leader a few months ago, 30 years after at the airport, he was on his way to Lagos. He’s now so fat, with a protruding tummy and he recognized me first. We exchanged pleasantries and after one or two questions, I identified myself, he did same. We sat for a few more minutes to chat and remember the good old days.
” I wish I can undo all I did way back men. I really goofed. You know I didn’t stop then, I only changed base. Until I was caught and sent to prison for 7 years for rape. I suffered but I think it was God trying to straighten me. I didn’t just start raping girls. I learned to do this from my uncle who’d rape girls in our compound them and use thread to shut the women up. He was eventually caught too and jailed where he died. I’m really sad I towed that path. I’m glad I ran into you. Please forgive me for everything I did to you. I am deeply sorry.”
We talked some more until his flight was called. Shook hands and hugged as we parted ways.
I got news a few days ago that he died in a motor accident along the Lagos-Ibadan express way, and it got me thinking…
Almost everybody involved in that event are dead.
Wale, Basquet, GOC, even one of the lady who was almost raped died during childbirth I hear and now Barnabas.
I’m glad our paths crossed again. I’m glad we could discuss it and forgave each other.
No matter what you’ve done, where you’ve been, just ask for forgiveness genuinely and from man and ultimately God. You’ll eventually find peace with yourself and your maker.
Always seek peace!
SW&SH is a weekly series on ‘Jokes Apart With SMG’ and on here.
I’m done, I’m gone, I’m ghost!