Instead of going to the hostel alone, I decided to go back to the mamme market. I saw Timi with some couple of friends chatting before I joined them. We were so engrossed in our discussion before we heard a voice from behind us, ordering us to drop our phones to another corp member. We looked back and saw a 3 star soldier standing right behind us.
We looked stunned and amazed at the rate of his command. The corp member he ordered came to us and we all dropped our phones like a mumu. Who born us well? The fear of a soldier is the beginning of wisdom.
After dropping the phone, he ordered us to follow him. When we got to the outskirt of the mamee market, one of the girls with us started limping so he freed her. Immediately he freed the girl, he ordered another guy who was entering the market to stop, collected his phone and told him to follow us. I was devastated as well as surprised as I couldn’t figure out what we’ve all done. He took us to the parade ground and he ordered the first guy to do some sort of punishment for like 3 minutes before telling him to stand up.
He ordered the second guy to follow suit but to our greatest surprise, the guy refused blatantly claiming he has medical report and he was also ill. This action of his really aggravated the anger of the captain. He asked us to stay at one side because the guy is going to suffer the punishment meant for all of us. We were glad and at the same time wondering what our sin really is. Although, he stylishly punished us by making us stand with him all through the duration we spent with him. He sang different soldier songs and at the same time teaching us how to sing it. He taught us some of the chorus and said the person who has the highest voice will leave. Timi, being the one closer to him took the advantage by singing higher and he was released.
Timi left us and we were now 3 males, 3 females. He kept singing till he didn’t know what to sing again. Later, he began to talk about how he joined the army. From his words, he said he has joined the army when he was 10. He explained to us about all the hardness he had faced all the way down to the position he now holds. The scary part of his story was his last encounter with the Boko haram members along Wailo road, Bauchi state.
He said he had gotten the information about their coming so he had arranged about 10 officers with him not knowing the amount of hilux bus the book guys were bringing along.
He said the quantity of ammunition they held couldn’t curtail them so he sent for re-enforcement. He said the re-enforcement took hours and he really felt he would be dead by the end of that day. According to him, he said he lost 3 captains in the encounter with the book haram members. Finally, re-enforcement came to their rescue and they were able to wade-off the book haram guys.
I felt for him though. He said he has lost a brother, a best friend and a close friend in the military job and he does not want to leave the job yet because of that even though he planned to do something important later in his life.. Poor guy! Like he said, they were trained to kill.
Finally, he told us the crime we committed was not greeting a captain. What? Just that? Military guys can be tough sha. Finally, he freed us. Yes!
He released us. From his uniform, I discovered his name was Captain Nwabunike, with a 3 star. What? He does not even look like an igbo.
We apologized to him and he let us go after giving us our phones.
Getting back to the hostel, I felt very weak and tired. Ugo was dead worried where I could have been. I explained my ordeal to him and the rest of the guys in the room. They were really surprised that one could get punished by a soldier just because you didn’t greet them.
They all laughed at me and I told them not to worry, their own sef dey come, especially Ejike.
They laughed while I decended on the fried yam and eggs we got earlier at the mamee market. It’s has been a long day and an adventurous one as at that. Just what I wanted but not an encounter with the fierce looking soldiers in camp.