I had never imagined myself being in that kind of situation in my life. As such, when my friends and co-students in my secondary school had related their different experiences when attacked by armed robbers, I had only felt sympathetic at such stories and not empathetic. The one that struck me most was that of two of my friends who are twins. Their mother was attacked by armed robbers not quite long after her return from her working place. She was in the process of counting the huge amount of money she had gained from her poultry farm when they had walked in majestically through their unlocked door to their living room and seeing her in that act. However, their mother had smiled at them when she saw the guns and told them that she had been waiting for them ever since to pick up the money. In her fright, she had even entertained them with amala and whatever soup they had then. When I listened to the story, I felt sympathetic and at the same time, felt amused at their mother's outlandish entertainment. Little did I know that my own fate was knocking at the door without me hearing the knocks.
February 7&8 2008 is a memorable day I can never in my life forget in a hurry.
Normally, we do have our evening prayers around 9:30pm and then switch off the generator by 10:00pm so that we can have our sleep and wake early for school the next day. However, that night, that is, Friday, 7th of February, 2008, we started our evening prayer very early and it really lasted long. Dad had given so much prayer points that I began to feel tired of it when it got a point. After the prayers, dad had instructed my cousin that was staying with us to switch off the generator. I had been anxious to lay down my already sleeping body on the bed. I had slept for so long but didn't know how long, when the noise I heard from the passage disturbed my sleep.
I tried to force back myself to sleep when some voices that were shouting with threat written all over them cut me short of my action. PASTOR! PASTOR!! PASTOR!!! the voices were nearer then. I peeped out of the window of my room since I had shifted away the sliding window in replacement of the sliding net with my curtain hung half way. I saw some arrays of torchlight pointing towards my direction. Oh my God!!! They must be thieves! My heart echoed with heavy breath. The thieves had their way into our compound since we had not constructed our fence then. We had resided into our new house on the Christmas day, that is, Sunday, 25th of December 2007 which was located then in a new site where houses can hardly be located but thick bushes and uncompleted buildings. We had no neighbor to call on. I then realized that the sounds from the passage were being made by my father to scare the thieves by hitting an iron against another. As mum was shouting "the blood of Jesus", my siblings were praying at the pantry where they had been told to stay. I thought of what to do since they were already at my window side and may also be seeing me without my knowledge.
I asked God to lead me when He focused my attention to a small space that was between my bed and the other wall of the room. I rolled gently down and landed on the floor whispering some words of prayer and reminding God of all he had promised in the Bible. I was still at this act when I saw the thieves using something I was ignorant of to tear away the net at my window and trying to remove the sliding windows. "THIS PEOPLE MEANT BUSINESS!" I said, thinking of what step to take next and then I looked at the entrance and there was no door that could hinder me from flying out and escaping any gunshot they may likely make. My adrenalin rose as I jumped out like Jet lee. I saw my father at the passage and he directed me to the pantry where every one else was. I wore just a small underwear and a small skirt that night as I had felt reluctant to change them into my nightwear due to my feeling sleepy the previous night. I had heard of people being raped by armed robbers. Therefore, I began to pray against it when I noticed what I was wearing.
They finally gained entrance into the house by uprooting the burglary proof of the window of my room. My dad had run into the pantry to hide himself and guide us. They searched every where for my dad, shouting on top of their voices that they will surprise us that Jesus we had been shouting of will not be capable of delivering us that night. I was almost fainting when one of them reached the pantry and saw us there pulling my dad to the passage where a gun had already been set for him by another thief. My dad was only on his boxers that night without a top or underwear. As such, the gunshot gave a rapid movement of the bullet into his heart and his left armpit which made his flesh around those areas to had pilled off and scattered into the pool of blood.
All I had heard last was a scream and he fell. That had made mum infuriated as she took a cutlass from our pantry and hit it on the thief she had first seen. Unfortunately for her and fortunately for the thieves, the cutlass was blunt. The thieves had run back outside and later came in hitting mum on her head with the edge of the gun. Mum had screamed at them and told them to kill her too, since she could not live alone without her husband. I was at a corner beside the long cushion chair in our sitting room, weeping profusely and praying. My paternal grandma had sat on the floor weeping and begging the thieves to kill her too, since she could not be living when her dearest son was no more. All they could do in response to all that was to howl and roar around like mad people. They had searched every room and found no money which made them hopping mad the more and threatened to rape mum.
Mum promised them the beating of their lives if they dared try it. Rather, she had asked them to kill her so that she could also die. To cut the long story short, after so much threatening, wailing and yelling, they left our house. "So, am I now fatherless, God?" I meditated within me. "But that was not your promise for my life. Dad had just promised to register me for NECO few days ago. He must not go just like that without reaping the fruits of his labor." I cried and started praying as hard as I could when I heard a voice that said softly in the dark; "Lora! Lora!!". That was my dad's voice. I can never doubt it. That was the name he fondly called my mum at home. "Or was it his spirit that spoke?" I began to wonder when that voice repeated itself and I began to hear his footsteps which later failed him and had allowed him to fall back. That was just about a week after my mum started to learn how to drive.
Mum looked for the keys to the door, gate and car and found none when her mind traveled to the drawer in her room where she had kept the duplicates of all the keys. We all carried dad inside mum's car with our palms stained with blood. She drove roughly but safely to our family hospital and our family doctor drove us all to the general hospital which he was attended to that night, and was transferred to the Ijebu Ode General Hospital the next morning. Although dad was seriously wounded in his heart which made him spent months in the hospital, God spared his life and he was able to celebrate his birthday that year which was on a Sunday, 25th of February in that hospital. I had made sure I made a cake for him, to celebrate his birthday and victory over death with the nurses, doctors and other patients in the hospital.
Nonetheless, whenever I see a gun of any kind, be it on T.V or a toy one, I will always remember that incident and whenever I also see my dad or just thinking of him, I will always thank God for His marvelous and unpredictable miracle in my family. Hence, that had and still is my memorable day which had always inspired me to write poems which I read everyday. Thus, making it impossible for me to forget in a hurry.