By Hamza Muhammad Tasiu
Let’s imagine this:
You are a young mother. You leave Kaduna a few days earlier for a task in Abuja. After finishing the task, you call your husband and tell him that you will be coming back and that he should buy your best food from your best restaurant for you. You tell him how badly you miss him. You tell him that you’ve bought his favourite perfume for him. You even tell him that he should tell your little daughter that you have bought her a special present from Abuja.
And given that this is the first time you go to Abuja, you tell him that you have a lot of stories from the nation’s capital. So you stop and buy your mother apples and pineapples on your way to the train station. You also buy a new shirt for the Almajiri that runs errands for you.
You leave Idu station at 6 pm and are scheduled to arrive at Kaduna’s Rigasa train station by 8 pm. On the train, you say salaam to the other occupants and shake their hands. You smile at a little girl, and she smiles back. Her cute smile injects you with a dose of happiness you’ve not felt in a long time. The woman sitting next to you is an elderly woman in her late 60s. She looks like your mother. She starts a conversation, and, before long, you feel at home with her. You talk about a lot of things with her. You talk about the month of Ramadan and how you plan to spend it. You even tell her your readiness to fast throughout Ramadan as your ulcer seems to become dormant lately. She complains that she cannot fast as she is on medication. She says she will fast after finishing her drugs.
Not more than 30 minutes into your journey, that woman now seems like someone you have known for many years. Amidst the exciting conversation you are having, she suddenly falls asleep. You want to continue the conversation but feel it uncourteous to wake her up from sleep. You allow her to continue sleeping. Before long, you also get overpowered by sleep due to the exhaustion from your work in Abuja. Suddenly, you wake up to the sounds of explosions and gunshots. In what seems like the twinkle of an eye, all the unlucky passengers are rounded up by the terrorists. They rain all sorts of abuse on you and force you to walk for tens of kilometres on foot in the bush.
Days have now become months, and you are still under the pharaonic care of these terrorists. You look at that older woman, and you feel sorry for her. Her health is deteriorating as she does not have the drugs that she takes three times a day. She often tells you in the night: “Zan mutu ‘ya ta. Ga ruwa, ga sauro, ga yunwa, ga duka, ga jinya. Ba zan iya ba. Karfi na ya kare!” But you give her words of encouragement and ask her to keep on, promising her that God will bring help.
Your comments seem to boost her spirit. She says to you: “Allah Ya miki albarka ‘ya ta. Da ba dan ke ba, da bansan inda zan sa kaina ba.” As soon as she closes her mouth, one of the terrorists says to her: “Idan ba kiyi shiru ba hajiya, zan zane ki wallahi! Kar kiga shekarun ki, yanzu zakiyi kuka wallahi! Kin manta dukan da aka muku da safe koh?”
The elderly woman then says, somehow inaudibly: “Ya Allah ka saka mana. Ka mana hisabi da wadanda suka daurawa kansu nauyin kare mu amma suka banzantar da nauyin da suka daurawa kan su, amin.” As if someone has put her on a speaker, all the kidnapped victims say, “amin” in a resounding voice. The terrorists then descend on them, beating them mercilessly, saying: “Mu zaku hada da Allah? Wallahi zamu kashe ku gaba daya! Matsiyata kawai! Tsinannu! Idan ba a bamu kudi ba, wallahi sai mun kashe ku duka! Wahalallun banza! Dangin matsiyata!” You become angry because of the abuses they rain on you because you are someone your people highly respect, but then you remember there’s nothing you could do.
Back at home, your little daughter has been waiting for you for more than 100 days! All she can do is to pray to Allah to rescue you. She often tells her father: “Baba ni na hakura da present din, kawai ni mama nake so na gani. Dan Allah ka dawo da ita!” The father goes into his room and cries because there’s nothing he can do. He raises his hands in prayer: “Verily, the most helpless of people are those that are unable to ask for Your help. We ask for Your help regarding these servants. Rescue them, Ya Allah!
If this story touches you, then wait a minute and reflect on what the kidnapped victims are going through. Think of what their families are going through after watching that video. It’s devastating, to say the least. May God rescue them! The leadership has failed them!
Hamza Muhammad Tasiu