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Amarachi Alisiobi: Are We Okay with ‘Bad’ Because ‘Worse’ is a Greater Fear?

Amarachi

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It was during lunch break mid last week, when someone burst into the office and announced that a kidnap incident had just taken place on our work street.

‘How?’, ‘When?’, ‘Who?’, ‘What?” …these were the questions you could hear from everyone’s lips.

‘You mean on this our street? This Rivers state is now something else’, I topped up everyone’s agitation.

‘Ahn ‘E’ was driving, when suddenly a vehicle crossed another vehicle and started shooting in the air. They picked up the guy o. ‘E’ got down as soon as he saw and heard the shots. He abandoned his car on the road and ran away’ ,… our nunciate summarized in a bid to answer everyone’s questions in one speech.

I picked up the name of the eye witness from the gist, who also happened to be a colleague and started calling to get the ‘authentic gist’, not ‘what he told A, who then told B, who then told C, who then came to the office to tell us. ‘E’ did not pick. I felt so sad and depressed. We were still talking about the whole ‘Billionaire Evans’ saga and then another one just happened just on our street. It was even more discomforting having heard about two kidnaps cases pertaining to our colleagues within the past 3 months.

‘I am tired of living in this Port Harcourt’, I IM’ed my husband. ‘It’s not safe. I’m even afraid of driving home today. All the way, all I would be thinking about is how somebody was kidnapped on the same road’.

I voiced out my concerns to my colleagues in the office. Somehow they shared the same concerns. ‘Yes this Rivers don bad finish, what are we going to do, every day one kidnap case or murder case’.

‘Wait, Amara, who even told you it’s just Rivers state? It’s the whole country. Where do you want to move to?’

‘Lagos o’, I answered. ‘Lagos. I want to go back home. Lagos seems safer right now’.

‘Haha, which kain Lagos? No be Lagos Evans dey operate?’ My inquisitor retorted. (His question in pidgin English was referring to Evans operating in Lagos)

“Ahn, Evans only has eyes for people he can extract millions of nairas or dollars from oh. Not people like me”, I responded.  We all laughed and made jokes of the whole bad situation as we Nigerians typically do. No matter how bad, we must make jokes out of every situation. The conversation continued:

‘Maybe we need to stop driving. Maybe these people target those who drive. From tomorrow I will start taking keke to work ‘.

‘Which kain stop driving? Last week ‘they’ picked up a commercial bus going from Port harcourt to Owerri. None of those people drove, but kidnappers still stopped the bus and took them captives’.

‘Jeez!!!! Ahnahn what can somebody do again in this place? ‘ 

‘Ahn just be safe oh. Delete all bank transactions from your phone as soon as they come in, keep to yourself. Avoid moving at night’

‘ Which kain avoid moving at night, did this incident not just occur at noon today??’

These conversations were not helping matters at all. I was already feeling sick. This kidnap issue was now serious o. Everywhere, every day, even for ransom amounts of a hundred thousand naira – in this state.

After a lot of analysis, someone came to this conclusion, ‘Guys, guys it’s like it will go round. It’s almost inevitable once you live here. Everyone should put up a kidnap ransom fund account. Even if it is five thousand or ten thousand you can set aside every month. At this rate, if this can happen in broad daylight on this our busy street, then your turn will come.

‘Hahaha, guy no be joke oh, e don reach that extent’, someone else seconded. We started to joke again. Instead of eating, we spent our lunch break analyzing, joking and giving each other hope.

The next morning while praying at home, we intensified the prayer point concerning being safe the entire day and not being kidnap victims. The resounding “Amen” from my household was an affirmation that everyone was terrified still. When I got to work, We had our usual morning meeting. During the safety talk, my colleague was using the previous day’s kidnap incident, to preach about how dangerous the times and city we were in, and the need to be careful. Someone interrupted him.

‘I’m sorry to interrupt here, yesterday’s incident was not a kidnap case. It is a confirmed robbery case. They took the sum of ### naira from the vehicle and left. They didn’t kill anyone ‘.

‘Really? Ahn thank God. Just robbery? No kidnap? Ahn thank God.’, almost everyone seemed to voice out at once.

‘It’s information oh. How did people know he had such amount on him?’

‘My brother, forget about the information. I feel relieved knowing that it wasn’t a kidnap case. Let them take money and leave people alone.’

Me, I won’t lie, I felt very relieved for a moment.  Like I was actually happy cause the kidnap news depressed me the day before. But my relief lasted only a moment. Then I felt worried. Worried that we had gotten to a stage where we were okay, very okay, with hearing about robbery. It was okay to us. It was better than being kidnapped. The same way when we read daily about 5 killed in explosion in Gombe, or 4 killed in suicide bombing in Yobe. The same way we are now immune to such news. Ahn it’s normal na, no new news???

I got worried. I am still worried. I fear. Any hope for us? Would kidnapping seem like a better option tomorrow when another violent act to humanity springs up and becomes our current fear?

Yes, I fear… I fear.

Photo Credit: Mimagephotography | Dreamstime.com

geologist cum engineer. i want to write a lot, but i hardly seem to get the inspiration. I love sleeping. I wish i could get paid for sleeping. Sleeping and watching GOT! I read all seven Harry Potter books and cried a lot while reading the last. Maybe i'm so emotional!

13 Comments

  1. BCP

    June 30, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Honestly I’m tired. we are now at that stage where a lesser evil is preferred. but who says robbery is a lesser evil to kidnap? I guess it’s only one who has experienced both that can come to such conclusion.
    I don’t want to believe it is only in Nigeria that things have gotten this bad!

  2. Leslie

    June 30, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    ‘Oh, 6 people died? Thank God they were just 6.’
    The reality of us written in simple, plain English. Nice one, aunty.

  3. Ceey

    June 30, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    hmmmm, sometimes bad looks better than worse ……me too, I fear

  4. Diolae

    June 30, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Very valid thoughts. These days, it’s about the lesser evil. We can only hope for a better tomorrow.

  5. Ayo Al

    Ayo Al

    June 30, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Thought provoking…

  6. Jezebel

    June 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Just learnt to delete the history of all bank transactions on my mobile. What a country.

    • mama

      June 30, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      my dear, this one doesn’t even work. someone I know who was kidnapped thought he had deleted all traces of bank transactions. That was how on day 7 of captivity, dear bank sent text message on sms charge 48naira. and below the message, dear account balance.

  7. Peculiar Okafor

    June 30, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Amarachi, Amarachi, Amarachi.

    How many times did I call you?

    You owe me a call.

    Yes, it have reach to call you out on BN *tongue out*

  8. Tincan

    June 30, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I feel you. The times sure feel a lot more perilous everywhere. Even in the U.K., before you go out to a public place or on the tube, chances are the thought of evil-doers crosses your mind at some point. I found myself praying and saying to God today, ‘what are we going to do about these menace herdsmen and kidnappers?’ after yet another kid napping story. I don’t remember doing this when it was ‘just’ the menace of arm robbers. And as much as I know I enjoy the protection of God, my heart still breaks for the victims of these heinous crimes.

  9. Nwachinemere

    June 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Totally sums up how bad we have come… but how did we get to this point. Love your delivery, great fan!!!?

  10. D.K

    June 30, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Even Keke napep is not safe. It is very worrisome but I’m positive things will get better, things have to get better.
    I enjoyed reading this a lot Amarachi.

  11. BijouxthisBijouxthat

    June 30, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    …. In the last days, critical times hard to deal with would be here… For men would be lovers of themselves.. 2Timothy 3:1-7
    Matthew 24:4-12..
    It won’t get better, unfortunately..

  12. Miss Pee

    July 1, 2017 at 8:31 am

    My Sister, I am tired already. How we got here is a mystery. I told someone yesterday I don’t watch bomb blast videos, movies they cut with knives, vampires movies and sometimes gun movies, why? Cos I want to protect my mind.
    Lately I’ve stopped listening to news only turn on the radio to listen to talk shows, everyday one evil upon another. God is our rock and He’ll keep us Safe, no harm will befall us. Amen

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