Final moments: A tribute to Buni Yadi victims

You might have woken up at 5am that Monday morning without any inkling of what was going to happen that night. You might have all shuffled to the dormitory bathroom to have your bath with your eyes still heavy with sleep and your bodies still weak. Only after pouring cold water that has been stored overnight in iron buckets will your bodies finally wake up fully. The bathroom might have been too crowded or too stinking for some of you, so they might have resorted to taking their baths in the courtyard or the corridors in front of the rooms.

You dress up quickly and sweep your ‘portions’ on time as the bell rings for breakfast. The prefects among you might have shouted out loudly for everybody to start leaving for the dining hall, shouting threats to the last person to leave the dormitory, while the junior ones among you might have rushed out noisily along the corridor in order not to be the last one out.

Even though your breakfast of beans pottage was watery and tasteless today, you might have eaten anyway, and proceeded to the assembly hall and then to the classrooms for the day’s studies. The first period might have been that of the boring and strict Math teacher whom you have nicknamed ‘almighty formula’, or the semi-literate Biology ‘corper’, whose original course of study in the university was Agriculture, or the interesting English teacher, whom you named ‘alacrity’, who uses big grammar to confuse you while she barely makes correct sentences. Besides all these, you might have had a normal day in class and closed for the day in time for lunch.

After the routine of going to the ‘dorm’, changing into your house wear, and the day’s lunch of dry jollof rice without meat (meat is actually a luxury to you), you return just in time for the Muslims afternoon prayer and your siesta. The junior ones among you might not even be in the mood for siesta yet you might have been ordered to lie quietly on your beds and shut your eyes. Just when sleep was about to overtake you, the sharp ringing of the bell jolts you, followed by the prefect’s orders for you to wake up, say your prayers (for the Muslims) and go to the classroom for ‘prep’, which also means evening study.

After closing at 6 o’clock, you might have returned to the dormitory to mill around and socialize with one another before time for dinner, while some of you washed your dirty uniforms in front of your various ‘houses’, in preparation for tomorrow that you will never see.
Dinner is the usual eba and egusi soup. It is Monday after all and you hated it. During our own time we also hated it especially that the eba always had lumps in it and the egusi and vegetable in the soup separates with the water.  I hear that things are now worse. The smart ones among you might have even exchanged the night’s meat against tomorrow afternoon’s fried fish in a trade by barter fashion, not knowing that they have eaten the last meal in their lives.

After dinner, night prep and a little free time of usual teenage banters, soaking garri and so on, you might have gone to bed after lights out thinking ‘oh what a long day’, and looking forward to a tomorrow that will never come. As you wandered about in dreamland, little did you know that some wicked people unknown to you have perfected plans to take your lives.

We may never know how everything happened, and your final moments before your innocent lives were terminated, but what we know is that you have been failed by the nation and the very people who swore to protect you. The country which you pledged to defend its honor every morning deserted you at your hour of need. All that is left to your grieving families and friends are your memories, which they will live with for the rest of their lives.

Our sincere hope is that your death and that of many other victims of this senselessness may not go in vain, that the people who are entrusted with the duty of protecting lives will wake up to the challenge and make the nation a safer place for all of us. Adieu.

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