“These men can’t control me,” Baba muttered to himself as he was coming back from wherever he had gone to.
It was 9:00pm on Friday, I guess Baba was able to attend the secret meeting at Dalhatu’s Inn with Major Malik and his cohorts. He looked too distressed and embittered like a puppy that was denied a night meal. As Baba walked into our compound, he kept muttering words that I had to task my ears to listen to. From his body language, I could tell that something was off.
Earlier that day, immediately after our prayer to Allah in the mosque, Baba had a mini meeting with Sheikh Jamal, Mallam Sani and Alhaji Garba. These were his closest and trusted confidants at any point he needed spiritual guidance. He seemed a little pissed off after the meeting, probably because he was told some things he didn’t want to hear. So from my analysis, that Friday has not been fair to Baba. Even the way he left the mosque in his 2008 Nissan van like a wounded man looking for the nearest hospital, was a red flag of what that night might end with.
Though the night inveigled me into believing that all was well, I could sense the aura of restiveness looming around me.
“The night is almost over,” I whispered to myself again, believing that whatever might be frightening and begrudging must wait for another day. “After all, it was just a meeting they had,” I continued to whisper to myself.
Though I was always thinking and afraid of my family and my siblings, for their safety, I’ve always gotten this relief in me that Baba had fought in many wars across the globe when he was still in the military, so he can take care of his family no matter what was thrown at us.
“Sannu de zuwa mai gida na,” my mother greeted my father in Hausa. “I hope all is well. Come and eat the tuwo masara I prepared for you, it is getting cold.”
“Woman, with what is going on in my head now, I don’t think I can eat any food,” replied Baba in a raised tone. Mama understood that everything was not fine and she had to give him a little distance to be on his own. This she had done anytime she sensed Baba was really upset about something, then later when he was cool-headed again, they would talk about it.
Though it was customary for Baba to have many wives, he was able to stick with mama, and both of them have been together for about twenty-five years of marriage. So mama has been able to understand Baba very well and was able to live with him this long.
It was 9:30pm and the leaves of the mango tree seemed to be a millennial choir singing the songs of ‘sweet night rest.’ As I was nodding my head in sleep, while sitting and listening to this song, Baba came straight to my vantage quarters under the mango tree to sit and think, and I had to vacate that premises for him before the aggression will be leveled on my poor self.
As I tried to find another spot in our compound which could be my temporary vantage point for the night to see how the night’s events unfolded, I heard the cruising sound of a vehicle in front of our gate, and before one could say “Jack Robinson,” I saw some men pouncing on Baba under the tree. I started shouting for help, but before anyone could come, the men drove off with Baba in a flash of light.
That night was just like a flash to me. The kidnapping of Baba didn’t take up to two minutes. Everything happened so fast and I couldn’t process how it all happened.
“The faces of the men?”
“How many were they?”
“The clothes they put on?”
“The type of vehicle they came with?”
Everything was just so fast. Mama was busy crying and calling for help from our neighbours that refused to come out that night. We were practically on our own to handle the dreary night. It was a long night for my family that Friday. We never envisioned the eventide to unveil such a tragic scene. Though I was still small, I knew by morning a lot would be made clearer and we would begin to get answers concerning Baba’s whereabout and his kidnappers.
To be continued…