STORY: MUSA’S DIARY 3


He walked into an empty store and sat down thinking about his life. What’s next? I am new here, how do I locate my Uncle? How do I even go back home? Is this the end? These thoughts were going on in his mind when he remembered his father telling him about lots and lots of people who came to South East and never returned home and fear gripped him the more. Was this what they all saw? Was this why they couldn’t be back home or is he yet to experience the worst?

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His mind went back to those Igbo Nollywood Movies he have watched back home, he would remember how some characters usually kidnap people like him for money rituals and his heart beat increased. Igbo people must be a dangerous breed of humans… They may be cannibals too! He thought loudly.

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“Hey! Who is that?” a voice shouted almost blinding Musa with his torchlight. The voice sounded too mean and unmerciful

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“I am Musa” Musa replied covering his eyes with his palms to protect his sight from the light

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“Some people can be stupid” another voice said from behind the first man. Musa wished the ground should just open and swallow him up! Is the world really that bad or was this all dreams “Your name isn’t important to us… Who are you and what are you doing here?”

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“I… I… I am just coming into the South East for the first time. I was robbed and I have lost my way… I can’t locate my Uncle because I have no phone to call him with” Musa tried explaining

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“Hmm…” the men whispered among themselves “This boy is from the North? I didn’t know there are Northerners who could speak correct English… I thought they were all uneducated”

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“I don’t really care about those things now… I am wondering if he is not a spy… He maybe a Boko Haram… Forget his innocent face. They may have chosen him because he doesn’t have marks….” the other man whispered and continued “What do we do with him?”

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“Ah ah! Ifeanyi… I don’t think this is the right way to see strangers. What will Boko Haram want in this your small empty store? By this time? According to our tradition, we are supposed to look after strangers… What happened to us?” the first man who spoke to Musa told his friend in a whisper and then spoke to Musa “You came all by yourself?”

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“Yes Sir… I did” Musa shivered in fear. He heard them whispering and perhaps they were making plans of using him for rituals! No wonder he saw tall buildings everywhere! Perhaps that’s how all those wealth came about. If the world would be rewound a bit, Musa wouldn’t disturb his father to allow him pay his Uncle a visit! How has his uncle survived this horrible place? He thought. His mind was still wandering from one thought to another when the man’s voice brought it back

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“Ermmm… You said yourbacke is Musa” he paused and continued “I am Mr. Igwe. My friend own this store and he forgot his phone, that’s why we are here… In Igboland, we value strangers but things have changed… Due to being over security conscious, we are very careful how we deal with people here…”.

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“Igwe… You don’t have to be very kind. I can allow him pass the night here… Let’s take the phone and just leave biko” Ifeanyi interrupted. Musa would appreciate that, he was already afraid of everything around him. 

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Igwe thought for a while

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“Musa… You said you were robbed?” Igwe asked him

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“Yes Sir… I was robbed at Iweka and Nkpor Junction. My phone and bag was all stolen” his accent made the men laugh, he was already getting used to it because he already noticed that anytime he mention local names, he sounds very odd

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“Well, Ifeanyi… I can’t allow him stay here. First, he is not an Igbo and secondly, here is not safe for anyone!  We are Christians, our culture too isn’t anti-strangers…” Igwe told Ifeanyi in low tunes but Musa could hear what he was saying

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“Igwe… I have known you as a very soft hearted person but not to a point of trying to buy a case that isn’t yours in just a blink of an eye! This young man is an Hausa man and you know Nigeria isn’t a safe place at the moment…” Ifeanyi persuaded him

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“Ifeanyi… I am taking Musa home. Thanks to God my wife went for the Women’s Conference at the village with the children and I only have my first son around…  I will take him home and tomorrow I will assist him to find his Uncle. For now, he needs rest and he need to know that Igbo people are not criminals” Igwe insisted and he turned to Musa “Ehe… Musa. You will sleep in my house this night and tomorrow, we will help you find your Uncle. He must be one of those gatekeepers or popular kiosk owners.”

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“Really? Gatekeepers or kiosk owner? That wouldn’t be my Uncle… Uncle Sani cannot be a gatekeeper” Musa thought to himself.

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Musa couldn’t get it! Few hours ago, the whole of South East have seem to become hell to him and everyone seem to be wicked and just now he is seeing something different. Back home, Musa have always heard that Igbos are all human eaters, money ritualism experts, criminals and all that. Coming to Onitsha he lost his phone; at Nkpor he was attacked by robbers and his bag was taken from him… Isn’t that enough to conclude that whatever he heard about the Igbos are true? Well, he already concluded but now someone else is saying it is cultural in Igboland to treat strangers well and that part of their Christian ethics to open doors for strangers. 

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Musa dusted himself, braced up and followed Igwe home amidst Ifeanyi’s continuous discouragements. Musa was sure of one thing, there are stories to be told.

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#Gracefulgeorge

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