Bursting Your Bubble

This story came to me after a conversation with my friend, Tolu Adeleru of Nigeria Info. NB: This is Fiction.

bubble bursting

Friday – October 3, 2012.

Chudi was getting dressed. Today had been a day of mixed feelings. Two lists had come out at work, two very significant lists. The first was a 115man list, announcing disengagement of staff. The other, the promotion list had just fifty names. His name was on the latter, but a lot of his friends were on the former, hence he really couldn’t celebrate his promotion at work. He intended to celebrate it tonight however and had called up his guys Moody and Kess. Kess was the organizer, and he had promised three hot Unilag girls for the occasion. He linked up with them at New Hall in Unilag and his jaw nearly dropped. The girls were kum faya kum, as he liked to say. He quickly took charge of the one with the ukwu of life. Tonight was going to be the night men.

Minutes later, they were out of the Unilag gate and racing towards the new improved Road Runners. This was the first time he was going to the club since they had added the top floor to the building and men, it would seem half of Lagos was here. It took them a good fifteen minutes before the found a parking spot along the road. He still had to wait for Kess for another five minutes before they were set to go in. the bouncers hailed them as they went in and Chudi, feeling generous tonight  squeezed a thousand Naira bill into one of their hands and the moment they saw it, they three their hands in the air, stomping their feet in salute. Then the first explosion rocked from within. Then the gunshots began. That was the last thing he remembered.

Saturday – October 4

Boko Haram releases Youtube video, taking responsibility for the attack on Road Runners

On the news, the death toll is reported at fifty.

On the ground, two hundred people are dead.

Sunday – October 5

Deacon Lazarus Duncan was preparing to read the announcements. Pastor’s message today had been the usual Five Ps of Prayer types. Even though he, a deacon of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Surulere Baptist Church was bored with the message, since he sat on stage, he had to act the part of an attentive deacon. He had perfected the art of falling asleep while looking attentive, and relying on the cue of congregational responses to wake him up.

As he gathered his agbada to go and pick the microphone, he rehearsed the joke he would use as an icebreaker in his head. Today, it was going to be the one about Songs of Solomon he would use. The thought froze in his heard as the explosion occurred, and the flames raced towards him. Hell had come down into the church of God.

That afternoon, the reports were that Boko Haram had struck in coordinated attacks in four churches in Lagos – Surulere Baptist Church, The Latter Rain Assembly, The Redeemed Christian Church of God Christ Church and St. Dominics Catholic Church. Death toll at the time of the report was put at 1,250, with another 4,000 injured.

Sunday – October 4 – 6:00PM

Governor Fashola came on TV and condemned the attacks, calling on the police to fish out the perpetrators

Monday – October 5 – 8:00AM

President Goodluck Jonathan released a press statement, condemning the dastardly act and promising to leave no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators to book.

Monday – October 5 – 8:00AM

In Igbobi College Yaba – Notice on the school notice board

We, the true worshippers of the prophet warn you to stop attending the school of the great Satan, for we have declared Jihad on it. Be warned and stay in your houses. Abu Qaqa.

All over Shomolu Local Government Area, such notices were pasted on the school notice boards. Most of the pupils didn’t know how to find their way home. Pandemonium as the news filtered through twitter. But twitter is blocked in the offices of most of their parents. So they did not know. The police was overwhelmed with the number of schools and deployed sparsely, overstretched.

When Boko Haram struck, they came to four schools. Igbobi College Yaba. The police there were quickly overpowered and the militants were about to gain entry when they were engaged by soldiers from Mayon Barracks, directly opposite the school. In the firefight, 100students died. 25 Boko Haram Members were killed, and 5 soldiers lost their lives.

The other schools were not so lucky to be located near an army barracks. At the popular Our Lady of Apostles School, after a brief shootout, the policemen took to their heels. Their bullets had no effect on the fighters, and the fighters mowed them down. The girls were lined up, stripped and their necks slit brutally. 250 of them. It was the same story at Queens College, Yaba and CMS Grammar School.

The total death toll of this attack – 700students, 74teachers, 100policemen, 50Boko Haram fighters and 5soldiers.

Tuesday – October 6

Parents refuse to allow their children go to school all over Lagos. Teachers stay at home too and do not come to schools.

President Jonathan deploys Joint Task Force to Lagos, and roadblocks are set up all over the town, at virtually every major junction.

Wednesday – October 7 – 10PM.

Boko Haram fighters break into the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons and free the inmates, killing all the wardens and police in the process. No single Boko Haram Fighter lost his life in this attack.

Saturday – October 10

JFT and Police go on a joint operation into the Idi Araba area. They have received intelligence reports that many of the Boko Haram Fighters pose as Okada Riders by day.

After the fighting, 50 students at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital as well as 10 doctors are dead. JTF recovers a cache of weapons including AK-47s, RPGs and IEDs. 150 Boko Haram Members are arrested, and a leader of the sect is killed. Every news organization carries the news in a celebratory victory mood. Very few question the extent of collateral damage. Only the Okada riders see this. After the JTF leaves, Boko Haram members come in and recruit the survivors for an operation.

Wednesday – October 14 – 6:00AM

The Idi Araba riders who lost their families, homes and means of livelihood to the raid and now a part of Boko Haram returned to their community. They went straight to the houses of the four JTF informants, and killed every living thing in the houses.

Wednesday – October 14 – 7:15PM

A trailer has fallen across the 3rd Mainland Bridge and massive traffic has built up, from the big Star billboard all the way to Obalende. Tempers are flaring and horns are blaring. Suddenly, the trailer explodes, destroying the bridge at that point. The flames engulfed the row of five cars closest to it and several rows further, the glass from the mirrors and windscreen shattered and flew all over like shrapnel.

As soon as that signal was given, four other cars, in the traffic at different points exploded and the carnage was devastating.

Wednesday – October 14 – 10:30PM

Five container ladden trailers parked in front of Mayon Barracks. The area boys were following its movement, to know where it would park so that they could go and collect their “boys money” once they stopped finally.

Suddenly, the the container doors flew open and armed fighters jumped out of them and poured into the barracks. The soldiers were caught totally unawares and the militants were armed with sophisticated assault rifles and Rocket Propelled Grenades. They overran the barracks.

By the time JTF reinforcements arrived, they had killed 400Soldiers, their wives and their children. Then they herded the rest into the armory, from the officers down to the lowest recruit and then they blew themselves and everyone else up.

That night, Boko Haram released a video stating that they had exacted vengeance for their members killed in the Idi Araba raid by JTF.

After this incident, JTF went brutal on Lagosians.


 TL’s Note

I have painted the pictures above vividly, because I observed that we the Lagos based middle class cannot understand what life is in places like Maiduguri. I have not done a complete job, merely selected certain reported instances of Boko Haram hits and translated to Lagos settings and scaled up casualty figures for population differences. What I have done is to attempt to burst our bubble, and make this threat a real, living threat to us. WE NEED TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM NOW, DEMAND THAT OUR LEADERS FACE IT WITH ALL SERIOUSNESS AND SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. This is what life is like for people in certain areas of this country, on a daily basis. I lived briefly in Yobe during my NYSC and visited Maiduguri. When I hear about the attacks, they are locations I once walked in, lived in and knew well. I worshipped in some of the churches hit in Damaturu. They are very real to me, and I can’t help but wonder if I would react differently and more seriously if I still lived there, unable to leave, unable to escape.


47 thoughts on “Bursting Your Bubble

  1. You burst my bubble this morning! Sincerely, I am one of those people that think since it is soo far away, I can assume it isn’t real!

    I wish I could line up every public figure that has gone on the media to “condemn” the killings and throw them off third mainland or something! Seriously, naa that one we wan chop?
    Good one, TL!!!

  2. TL I totally agree with you. In naija once it doesnt affect you directly, you dont care. Its time we stood up and say enough is enough. These killings must stop

    • In Lagos? That’s your say? This is the exact problem Tunde is trying to highlight. Nigerians in the south are like the proverbial ostritch hiding their heads in the sand and ignoring approaching trouble. It’s high time we realise this problem is a national one and is not just limited to the north. Your neighbour’s roof is burning and you sleep soundly under your thatched roof. Chai! Mo sorry fun e gan. Mokan mokan lo n ………….. (fill in the gap, not very good with proverbs). Bo se n kan ara Oyo, lo n kan ara Ede.

    • U pray it doesnt happen in Lagos? Seriously? Now dat’s my definition of selfish. Nobody wants it to happen where they reside. The affected persons also prayed and wished for it not to happen in their states..but it did. We cant foresee what the future holds for us, but we can design our future by taking significant steps today. Boko haram wont affect Lagos & will stop threatening Nigeria if we can tackle the issue selflessly. It begins with you & I.

  3. I actually read each different scenario with apprehension. It looks so real… At this rate, all we can do is pray. Sure, we can demand that our leaders do something but as you should have observed, even amongst †нε youths calling for change, there is a massive divide due to interests et al. I guess if we take a stand, think right and work on †нε mentality of those around us, backed with prayers, change will come. Whew, just imagined being on my way to work, dozing on †нε third mainland bridge past 7 in †нε morning and I shuddered. Very vivid TL. Great job.

  4. Hennnnnnn TL!!!!! Abeg oo I hope no BH reads dis n uses dis scheme oo!! Now seriously dis govt gets weak by de day!! I pray dey wake up soon!!

  5. Thanks Tunde for this piece. We all have our roles to play. If the government is not smart enough for us, we can offer our suggestions to them instead of sitting miles away and critisizing. Prayerly, it would not get to this anywhere in Nigeria, we would win the war against terrorism in Nigeria.

  6. wooow i really do see it in a different light this morning… like i imagined all these really happening in Lagos, in places i know. so i understand really what those pple in other states are facing. wooooow *sighs*

  7. GOOD HEAVENLY FATHER LORD! This was scaryyyyyy!!!!!!! The emotions were real to me. I kept fidgeting on my seat in the office, imagining that it was happening at the moment! Tunde, abeg NI TORI OLORUN, remove this piece before an aide of Uncle Jonah sees it and claim it’s a threat to national security!
    Okay. Maybe you shouldn’t remove it. But arent you scared that the government might see this as a threat to NS? Imagine we were in the USA…..


  8. TL dis IƧ̷̜̩̌̋ good but I hope a member of BH wil not read dis and start having ideas cos dis will definately shake the nation which is what they intend with their attacks. Such articles should not be made public.

  9. @TL @CMI Nice piece. It really painted the picture albeit in a light that some (not all) have envisaged it. The 3rd Mainland Bridge is a part that has been playing in my head anytime I’m on the bridge since this BH issue came up. However, this piece does not help anything. It doesn’t help the situation in whatever form whatsoever. @CMI opined that he would throw the politicians over the 3RD Mainland Bridge for doing the talk and not acting appropriately. Well, he should throw virtually all Nigerians over the bridge as we are all guilty of talking but with little action.
    @TL rightly said, it is a disease that we must find a solution to. Everybody must be involved. Not only the politicians but the populace as well. We must all come together and fight this menace. BH members are not ghost. They live amongst us and some people welcome them with open arms to the detriment of the country and the government.
    I couldn’t agree more with the fact that it is a national crisis and not a regional one. Those of us in the south must also help those in the North. We are one and together we will thrive and overcome this.

  10. Nice one bro, I was afraid for a moment. Just a point of correction, its Mhyoung Barracks not “mayon”,glad you weren’t referring to our barracks anyway….lol

    • LOL! But you got the drift!
      Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone, from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed internet service with Etisalat easy net, available at all our experience centres

  11. Hmmmm! Deep Breathe. I can imagine wat the poor people are passing through. God wil not let it happen here. But truth of the matter is, this just has to stop. Until it happened to my Brother in law, a banker, I never knew how terrible it was. He was bombed right inside his bank in Yola. People, TL is right! Pls let’s not fold our arms and watch innocent people die everyday. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes! God forbid bad thing! But we ain’t better than those people it is happening to. His Grace is just sufficient for us.

  12. I come from the North and i see how some people in Lagos are nonchallant about the BokoHARAM THREAT,instead they become the joke of the day.At the Experience 2012,A Bishop from the North came on stage pleading for us to pray for them in the North and people beside me were laughing making snide comments,i knelt down on the wet grass knowing that they laugh with ignorance.Thank you sooo much Tunde.This is how people live Many part of the North.Abuja might be safe for now.Dont forget to commit people in your prayers.

  13. Wow! Totally not what I expected when I clicked the link. But its quite true, I’m in abuja & while its relatively “safe”, I have friends & loved ones all over the north & the stories we hear daily are heartbreaking. No matter how good social media has gotten, other people don’t hear how serious these violent attacks really are. Truth is we must do something, but what can we do? I mean this as a serious question, not as a rhetorical one. Let us think and actually start doing. We must be conscious of our environment, report any suspicious actions, etc. But most of all, we must pray for Nigeria

  14. I care oo TL,I pray everyday for God’s intervention. This is my country,where I believe strongly that this country can be better.

  15. Sometimes I sit and imagine if south was north and experiencing wat they are going through if we will be do quite just because it doesn’t affect us directly. I tell my friends separating Nigeria won’t help. Buy we need to stand with one voice and demand for a better government rather than sitting afar and criticizing. After all for evil to prosper all over the world is for the few good people in the world to sit back and do nothing.

  16. Hmmm Baba God
    Ma wo wa niran
    Come Ãήϑ help us in the hand of those rulers that we call our LEADER.

  17. I was casually reading the piece till I saw the name of my school in the mix…Sent shivers down my spine!!!. “As long as it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care”.. that’s pretty much the nigerian mentality. Let’s walk the talk. Well done TL…

  18. 1 Question: what can I do about it? How can I influence the leadership of this country to take this seriously…..

  19. I thank and appreciate you Tunde for this piece. I live in jos and I know the feeling way too well. Where out of fear your parents encourage you to miss church services. Meanwhile friends far from the brutality crack jokes about the whole thing. Let them have an immagination of what we have been through of what people have lost. Maybe then nigerians will take it seriously.

  20. Minutes after reading this, my legs still feel wobbly. As scary as it is hearing about what’s happening in the north, d truth is we cannot really relate wit wat doze pple r goin thru, cos we av no 1st hand experience (& pray it neva bcomes so). U kip saying we shouldn’t jst fold our arms, bt we r d masses, d same as d pple its affecting, Wat really can we do? Dt should b d question.
    By d way, TL, dis was waaaaay too graphic for a public outlet, hope dis doesn’t give some ideas 2 d wrong pple o.

  21. Pingback: Broken Mirrors – Episode 16 | tlsplace

  22. I can’t seem to understand why our leaders are so cool about this boko haram menace. Since its obvious they cannot handle and faze them out,then why can’t they seek international aid?! If our “senators”can use billions in renovating their mansions and offices then why can’t the billions be converted into wiping out these terrorists? Infact with the way they are acting,its obvious they know who the master minds of this evil sect are and Nigeria’s president is scared to offend them.Until they are affected personally which I pray will be soon enough before they understand the cloud of terror under which Nigerians are currently living.

  23. I remember I also used to ask the questions a lot of people are asking now. ‘What can we do?’. ‘We are just the masses. Our government never listens’. But we all remember the wave that hit north africa recently right? Common people bringing their governments down. We can actually do a lot! But I feel years of relative poverty and its fear have deceived us and increased our pain threshold to a level where we might never revolt and hold our government accountable.
    Scary piece though. Drives home the saying, ‘E fit be you ooo’
    By the way TL, if its the teaching hospital @ idi-araba you are referring to then its Lagos University not Lagos state.

  24. Hmmm…TL…u might as well be a prophet. October will be bloody if care is not taken unfortunately all we can do is pray cos our leaders are inept- that’s our reality! No amount of vivid pictures will change that, I live in Lagos and have had a dream of war repeated 3 times. Some scenes exactly like urs; army and police being unprepared. Almost as if you described the dream I had 3weeks ago. Hmmmmmmm…LORD have mercy and may your favour surround your children like a sheild! Amen.

  25. Whoop. 😦 this got me emotionally messed up. I can only imagine what life there is. Reminds me of movies I see, just that here, there’s no super hero to save us & kill all the evil people. 😥 GOD help us all. Amen.

  26. You write well Tunde, but you portray women in a base manner, as if all women are about is sex, cheap sex and general cheapness!
    I find your stories interesting but I feel soiled after reading them. I would not be reading your stories again.

  27. Now..that burst my bubble!!! My heart couldn’t stop racing and I kept saying “blood of Jesus” in my head… The government need to wake up and face the issues at hand! This BH thing is a real threat. Are they gonna wait till the United Kingdom and United states of America deploy soldiers into Nigeria??

  28. Tunde Leye, this is my first time dropping a comment. And i’ll simply say. U indeed bursted my burble and I doubt if I wud ever go to road runners again. But kindly take down dis piece. As a journalist I can tell u d country

  29. Tunde Leye, this is my first time dropping a comment. And i’ll simply say. U indeed bursted my burble and I doubt if I wud ever go to road runners again. But kindly take down dis piece. As a journalist I can tell u d country is too hot for dis. Thanks

  30. Tunde Leye, this is my first time dropping a comment. And i’ll simply say. U indeed bursted my burble and I doubt if I wud ever go to road runners again. But kindly take down dis piece. As a journalist I can tell u d country is too hot for dis. Thanks

  31. TL as much as ds write up is a huge awakening, just pray it doesn’t get to d wrong hand. We keep praying this BH thing doesn’t get out of hand and I believe as God liveth, it won’t. But no one has asked d big question here. “What can we do to stop this ugly occurrence”? Everyone keeps saying we must do something but no one is saying what exactly can be done. I just pray God gives us wisdom. I’m also very sure dt if all christians can come together and call on God, der’ll def b a stop to ds thing. God help Nigeria o!!

  32. Tunde, from the areas you just described, you sound like someone that stays around that Shomolu axis. God, and these areas are my route day in day ou. I attend one of the churches you mentioned and 3rd mainland bridge is my route every other working day. Please delete this story before we start giving these people ideas on how to hit Lagos below the belt. My son school is within this axis too. We need God’s interferance in this particular menace and I believe if we all come together and call on HIm as one, He will defintely give us a lasting solution to this. Because as it is, it has gone beyond where the siyuation can be managed. If this issue had been attended to when it started, we wont be in this ess we are in now, and it all boils down to bad governace, not placing our proirities right

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