And whether he made it there or not, no one could say. It was only when he was expected to return and he hadn’t, that words went out for his search. It took 48 hrs to find his lifeless and mutilated body…
No witnesses to give any words…yet.
There may be more or worse gory stories…who knows… what I am almost certain about, however, that the conceivers of the post UTME exams didn’t design it as a death trap. Had they considered the risk of young adults coming into towns where they probably had no relatives, have to find independent accommodation and all the peculiar logistics to make themselves available for the examination… perhaps the examination logistics may have been better structured- say during the school’s vacation so that candidates are secured within the institution’s accomodation? Or a kind of private sector participation so that these young adults aren’t just On Their Own (OYO) in towns they are just seeing for the first time? Yes, I know nothing is guaranteed. Nothing, not even the next second, yet, I know well about tying one’s camel and leaving the rest to God.
I recall another young adult- Akande, telling me that as they headed back from their center (which was a satellite location to the main institution), there was just this sudden appearance of security agents driving recklessly and shooting sporadically into the air. The area scattered and people ran for cover in different directions. He and his friends managed to get into a nearby bush and laid low- for fear of being hit by stray bullets. They were 4 boys and 3 girls. Some of them wanted to call their parents. Akande said he advised against it thinking- your parents cannot come and save or protect you in any way here. Putting a call through to them will only send them into panic mode. Let’s just lay low, pray and wait for area to cool down”.
After a while, Akande said he had to climb a close by fence to get a kind of aerial view. Sensing everywhere quiet, all seven of them came out of their hiding- with the boys guarding the girls. Guess what? They were completely lost- with no clue which direction to head as it was all their firsts in that town!
Finally, they paired up on bikes trusting that the riders would take them safely back to the main gate of the institution they were headed! I’m super grateful he is alive to recount his experience!
I like adventures. I’m not adverse to risks. I like the morning after effects. I love that young adults (teenagers) like Akande, have the opportunity to see and experience life outside the cocoon of mom and dad and use their judgment to make decisions. I like that they have seen firsthand, how delicate, irreplaceable and how in a flicker, things can change and one can move from the world of the living to the world of the dead. I like that this has internally motivated them to feel and yearn more for the mercy, favour, grace and blessings of the Higher Being (God Almighty) more than any parent could cajole them to!
As my heart still aches at the gruesome murder of our two sons to the post UTME process, I pray God Almighty to touch the parents of the departed and personally grant them a healing from what they are currently passing through… aamyn.