The quagmire continued, men and women were all thrown into a panic about the number deaths recorded so far from the bombings and killings. The bitter fact was these people were innocent and perished for sins they never committed. The killings and bombings by the Al-hida group had reached an unprecedented high. The Northwest geopolitical zone, which was thought to be the most affected region and hideout of the group was an illusion and only a tip of the ice berg. The group had spread to other parts of the country and it was becoming impeccably difficult to contain them, every second that elapse for they were everywhere at the same time and like the wind, they blow wherever they will. The wreckage had caused an anarchy already, a disarray Governor Tunde Oyim had predicted along with the others who all thought the same thing, the government had become a colossal failure in the eyes of the governed. The anarchy had led to several institutions, parastatals and Ministry of Women Affairs into promulgation of various women of all ethnicity to a two-day nationwide protest for the dead women advocates, on the dissatisfaction and voicing of low confidence in the Government in respect to the sorry current insecurity situation. The women were to match to various state government houses in demonstration with placards lifted, displaying their various unsatisfactory views in letters. They all considered the death of the women to be politically motivated, in order to silence their advocacy on involving more women in the politicking affairs of the country. Their break into the building gate was obstructed by the policemen, who regularly forced them to recede or be shots. The women of course were obstinate and declined to yield to the threats they considered “null and void “ and once again, pushed forward to break in. In as much, the policemen were baffled by their sheer determination and indulgence, they never lifted a gun at them. It would be catastrophic to do so, they reasoned and a full blown anarchy and destabilization will occur that may take the country to oblivion.
The protest continued the next day as the women returned, this time the men opined to join their wives in support. The president was greatly perturbed by everything and in a live broadcast, called on all the women to be patient and very hopeful that the inhumane insurgents would be crushed totally and tranquility restored. This came few hours after the Governors of each state had expressed their disappointments in the radicalism and terrorism going on, stated the plight of the people losing their loved ones was quite unbearable, haven’t been silent about it and reassured their commitments into dealing with it. None of the statements were of any calm in hope to them, instead spurred them on to continue the protest, if it meant shutting down all government establishments. The president’s speech neither gave them any form of optimism. They labelled his word as “empty“ and stated the above was his usual language and tone. The women weren’t willing to let go of the protest, they felt they had been continually deluded into believing something was okay when they weren’t, misguided and taken as caricatures because of their silence. The policemen had no option than to follow the orders of the Police Chief into releasing a tear gas to disperse the crowd, who engaged in chaotic run. On the run, the sound of twin bomb explosion was heard. The policemen spotted the location was at crossroad. The crowd ran even more, abandoning their placards and protest materials, littered on the road. The police were immediately alerted and called for backup, setting up road blocks at every crossroads and junctions. At olori junction, the policemen knew something was eureka, suddenly, a car sped past them in a flash, the policemen returned to their vehicles, alerting the rest at other junctions about an incoming yellow painted taxi car. None of them responded surprisingly and effort to reach them proved futile , soon, they heard the sound of a timer ticking when they were ready to take off, they stopped to search and realised a bomb was planted and had three seconds left. Before they could safely flee, it exploded and the four vehicles behind were all destroyed. The car that sped off contained some of the Al-hida members, some dressed like policemen and others, in a camouflaged military outfits.
The government, the following day sought the assistance of foreign aid in the combat against the terror after it was reported that one hundred and nineteen policemen had lost their lives in addition with approximately the same number of military personnel in Ogbo state of the south east dead in a space of two days in a combat with the terrorists. Ministry of Police Commission and the Ministry of Defense embarked on a nationwide mass recruitment exercise of about one million, two hundred thousand personnel across the federation, the highest ever recruited at once in seven years combine. This was to replace the dead ones and bolster security more for deployment with the imported weapons and tanks that will be at their disposal. The screening and interview were conducted and concluded in two weeks and immediately, the recruits were deployed to regions were they were needed the most. Serving military personnel of high ranks were promoted to higher ranks, same with the police, in a low key event, presented by the President. He charged the new recruits and the existing personnel to focus and have one purpose, safeguarding the country against terror and any uprising sect, declaring a man hunt for the terrorists. He also replaced majority of the Grand Officer Commanding of military bases in most states.
Bin-Ahmed’s menace and popularity of Al-hida group grew tremendously, a heroic-villain, sung by people who believed in him and those who despised him as the worst creature unworthy of earth. His men had spread throughout the northern region and the South West, with few attacks in other regions and although, they were regularly killed in each designated attacks, they continued to recruit, triple times the amount of men they had lost to the soldiers from persecuting Christians, forcing them to give up their faith, join him or face execution. All the terrorists captured by the military never gave up their leader despite several interrogations and then, they face execution. The people that refused to be recruited, Bin-Ahmed used them to do suicide bombing. In his last raid, a church was holding an anniversary in Uwai state. Unexpectedly, in the power filled worship and praise, they invaded the church building with a bomb blast at the gate, killing eight security guards and in the compound. The congregation were severely scared, offering prayers in their native languages. They thought of it as stupid to escape when every entrance and windows were possibly guarded by one or two with a machine gun hung over their necks. The church senior pastor on the altar was the first Bin-Ahmed approached with a wicked smile on his face. The building was quiet, almost as quite as if nobody was present. When he told him to denounce his faith and follow him, which was his usual intro or face execution, the pastor spat on him and said he deserved to dine with the devil. He would only be a servant of the One who created and sent him and only Him alone shall he serve.
“Haha”, Bin-Ahmed chuckled.
“I have heard that before and do you know what happens to them? They simply give up because later, they will realise it’s all falsehood they have been deluded to believe. They discover their true self image and Forge ahead,realising also they had wasted a considerable amount of time. Nature has sympathy for no one, so as the One you believe who created it, the laws of the universe. You grab your destiny with your own hands and seize it, become the monster which nature has turned you into. I was once a believer, a devoted one who discovered his true destiny and never relented to grab it. You should do the same pastor and forgive me for the long sermon but I ask you again for the last time, in the presence of your frightful congregation. If you want to save them, denounce your faith and become me”, Bin-Ahmed finished.
The pastor concluded everything he said was false and was only acting according to the principles of the devil. He gave the same answer that he was only answerable to his Maker. Bin-Ahmed took his knife and slit his throat in furiousness. Other pastors there was asked the same question and when they gave the same answer as the former, he slit their throats. On the altar, lay their lifeless bodies in cold blood and he made the sign of an “A” on them with their spilled blood. He made that sign whenever he or his members kill someone, they kill in the name of Al-hida. He moved to the congregation and told them the same thing, some denounced their faiths while some did not. Those that did claim to denounce their faith were looked in the eyes by Bin-Ahmed and given a gun to shoot those who clung to their faith. When he saw they hesitated, he took the gun away from them and say, “ you are not ready to become my disciple”, and shoots at them. Only a few was able to shoot at their fellow members but they were still killed. They all closed their eyes while they shot, against his rule of shooting at them with their eyes opened. It was impossible as far as they were concerned. He spared the lives of those who still clung to their faith but not for long. They knew they would all be slain like chickens on his call but will die as martyrs.
“You are very lucky. I came here with the good side of me. I will have you all taken with me and given the very last chance of survival”
“Boss, she has refused to come with us”, Binai alerted. Bin-Ahmed took a glance, she looked at him with so much affection and kept that stare for a long time, anticipating a reciprocal from the recipient but instead, he looked with so much of a vigour of anger for disobeying his orders. At once, she recognised the familiar face. He was her ex-church member.
“Tafa”, she called his name. It was Rita. She and some members of her church together with one of the assistants were invited to the church for a two-day service programme.
“It’s me Rita”, she smiled at him but his response was awful and her smile was turned into an agony when she was slapped quadruple times on her cheeks, two on either sides. He didn’t want to remember his older self, the destructive self, his ignorant self that led to the death of his family. Anyone who reminded him of his past, perhaps deserved death. He turned away from her, Rita’s mind was as clear as the crystal. Tafa had been leading all the terrorist activities that had been happening. The monster she feared he was turning into, the rage had become a reality, in as much as she wished it were fantasies. Tafa couldn’t recognise her as a friend anymore but as a captive under her captors. He was inhumane, a Savage, a stone-hearted devil who lacked conscience and brutal, a predator pouncing on his preys.
“Take her away and lock her with the others in the van. We are going to burn this church and everything in it down”.
The captives were taken to an empty warehouse by their captors late in the night, dropping them off by two black vans that conveyed them from the church premises. They had their eyes blindfolded, perhaps, to have the road that led to their destination, unrevealed. It was a strange place to them after their blindfolds were lifted, each of them paraded on their knees and hands tied to their backs. They stayed for few hours and encroached into the far night in that manner, incapable of sleeping, talking and when they felt uneasy, they called on one of their captors by hitting the wall. They return shortly and remain in mutterings.
Bin-Ahmed slowly entered with a short gun and knife, tucked in his trouser. The clock read 2 a.m., in a cold morning. The captives were feeling almost freeze to death. Bin-Ahmed laughed at them pitifully about their resilience in holding to their beliefs in face of death. He repeated the same statement he had told them for the second time. Some of them were able to pick up the courage and those who did not every victims and were killed by the shooters eyes opened.
“Very stalwart of you. You have earned a place in my army”, he appraised them. Everyone of them knew their fate almost at that instant except Rita still had her eyes closed and embedded in her mutterings. She was the only one left alive that wasn’t yielding to his request.
“What do you want us to do with her? “, one of his subordinates asked. Practically, Bin-Ahmed’s was indefinite about what to do with her. That was the first time he acted this way, not been able to pronounce judgement. He wanted to enact the same justice as he had done on others but instead, he was clear of it and left it in the hands of his men to decide her fate.
“Don’t kill her but do whatever you want with her”, he ordered them and left. It was quite surprising of him, they thought but thanked him after all for the gesture, they were going to enjoy the opportunity. Each of them unzipped their trousers and took turns in raping her. After they were done, they took her into the van and drove her to a place where her body was dumped. Bin-Ahmed got a call in their absence, they had an important mission to do in Abuja and will be leaving the following night. He called on all of them to give them an address and for them to get prepared.
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