I sat in front of Mama’s stall, hurling curses after curses at my brother who had tricked me into spending the holiday with Grandma in Kaduna.
“It will be fun, you will get the chance to explore a new culture and
meet new friends. Especially the pretty Hausa chicks, plus you know grandma is rich, you will probably get enough money to buy that new phone” he had said.
Knowing my love for adventure and money, I could not decline and I decided to go, at least to enjoy the North.. Little did I know that such decision would change my life forever. Now here I stand in this heat, swatting at flies and other insects as they hover round my fresh yellow skin. I turn to look at the passersby, watching them stop and haggle for things while imagining the lives they lead. The pregnant lady for instance with the big bag was the wife of an Alhaji, the 5th one judging from her age and the way she rubbed her tummy frequently, I assumed she had been trying to conceive for a long time, and this was her first. I could imagine the dayande would. If it was a boy, how cows would be slaughtered to celebrate the occasion, how her husband’s loving eyes would revert to hers while she gets the envy of her fellow wives. I could spot pickpockets, their eyes scanning the crowd as they select their victims, my eyes trailing their movement watching as their prey are discharged of valuables…
The Fulani Girl stood dazed, she could not remember what happened or why she was here, she could not remember anything, her brain was a blank field, her only raging thought was the command the scary man with beards had issued.
“Get to the market, press the button and then you will get the chance to see your family again”
“The button” referred to was a device that had been strapped to her chest with a blinking light and a red button.
Of course it was covered with layers of clothing, topped with the hijab she was given, yet she felt the weight pressing down on her …but that did not concern her a bit, she was eager to see her family, eager to do the bearded man’s bidding, eager to please.
“When should I press the button” she had asked.
“You will know the right time, go to the center of the market, the stall selling shoes, the one with the fair boy, and press it just as you get there”
“Remember, you are doing it for your family, he had concluded..
As each step takes her closer to the market, her head scans the crowd for a shop selling shoes with a fair boy in front. This proves tasking, the market is crowded with lots of people milling about. As she stops to look, she gets bumped by someone in the crowd. She falls, her knees scrapping the ground.
She gets back up and just in front of her, about 20 feet away was the shop, and true to his word, the fair boy was there…she began to walk towards him, her walk slowly increasing to a jog, her jog run…her arms close to her chest ready at any moment to press the button.
I noticed the girl straight away as she fell to the ground, she looked particularly young and well dressed to be in a market, her clothes were thick and not suitable for the climate.
Nothing strikes me as weird until she starts running, I was still curious wondering why she was running, running right to me and then just as her clothes fall off, I see it, the bomb strapped to her chest. My eyes and her eyes connect, and just then I know she was going to do it. I try to run,but I cannot, my legs firmly rooted in the ground. And just before she presses the button, I hear her scream “Allahu Akbar”..
OMOYENI EMMANUEL aka LEGAL R3B3L