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My collection of title-less stories about Nigeria (2)

Dami jumped out of bed realizing he was five minutes late. Last night was amazing, his family had driven down from Kaduna to spend the weekend with him in Abuja and on Sunday night they had all gone out for ‘point and kill’. Talk about old times! Now it was Monday morning  and the young United Nations intern was bent on ensuring he didn’t go late to work. You couldn’t  play around with employment of this caliber. After completing his National Youth Service Corps programme, Dami had spent no fewer than 4 years ‘job-hopping’. He had worked as a primary school teacher, a sales assistant and a bar manager, to name a few. None of these however, came close to justifying the international relations and diplomacy diploma he had racked up after 4 arduous years at his tertiary institution. So when there appeared an opening at the United Nations office in the Federal Capital Territory, the embattled 27 year old jumped at it with everything he could muster in him. That proved enough as he got the job out of the avalanche of applicants.

Dami got into his red 2004 Nissan after hurriedly showering and getting dressed. The car was second-hand or ‘tokunbo’ but at this point he couldn’t care less; he drove speedily in the direction of the UN building located in the diplomatic district of town, far away from the somewhat worse-off, satellite suburb of Lugbe where he lived. Thankfully, traffic today was minimal and he got to his destination in no more than 30 minutes, just before his supervisor. He got started on his morning project; assisting some journalists get an inside story the workings of the UN Refugee Aid Programme for East African refugees in Nigeria. Dami’s department dealt a lot with refugees and crises victims, mostly of African countries other than Nigeria. To him that was really disturbing hypocrisy because as it stood, the rate of violence in Nigeria was times higher than of those countries.

His phone rang bringing him out of his cloud of thought; it was his supervisor summoning him to his office for some apparently ‘do-it-now’ reason. ‘Yes sir, I’ll be right over’, he got up and made for his boss’ office on the floor below. Dami respected his supervisor, Femi Adefisan for a lot of reasons. To begin with, he wasn’t like those pesky bureucrats who do far less than meets the eye. Not at all. He inspired a good number of his juniors to work hard and treat their jobs very importantly. Apparently Dami had learnt well. It was like he, in particular, had been taken under Femi’s wing and all the diplomatic finnesse and experience the veteran had was being steadily passed unto him.

He descended ‘Stairwell A’ wondering if this task, whatever it was going to be, would be as painstaking as organizing that meeting with those Stock Exchange reps. Hopefully not. He turned into ‘Stairwell B’ reminiscing about the time Femi had summoned him to surprise him with an all expense paid trip to Accra when he heard a loud, unprecedented and extremely alarming, unpleasant sound followed by a blinding flash of light coming from outside the building, in the direction to which he was heading. He stood frozen not sure what to make of what he’d seen and heard. All sorts of thoughts rushed into his mind. When he finally broke out of his little trance, there was screaming, loud screaming, and frantic running. Apparently the explosion had caused a wall on the Eastern wing of the building to cave in.

Fearing the worst, he rushed to his boss’ office. What he saw stopped him short. The wall had trapped under it most of the office. Desperately, he screamed for assistance to sort out the rubble. He had no idea what had caused the wall to cave in, no idea what it was that had thrown the otherwise serene office atmosphere into utter pandemonium. At this point however, he was most bent on finding out whether his boss was beneath the 3 tonnes of stone that covered this once highly aesthetic office space or not.

Apparently Femi Adefisan, and six others were killed in a terrorist attack on the UN building. The loud explosion and the light resulted from a car which blew up after driving into the office premises. The driver and two passengers blew up with it. Attacks like this are becoming more frequent and more malicious with each passing day, with this particular attack being the most well-executed one yet. The UN office has definitely been the most ‘up-there’ target. What’s sad about this? Only a few months before the Nigerian Police HQ had been attacked!! Now if that wasn’t enough to get the people most concerned to sit up and prevent future attacks (such as this one), nothing will be. Innocent Nigerians would keep getting slaughtered en masse, brilliant proffessionals like Mr. Adefisan would keep getting snuffed out in their primes and young but enterprising agents of social change like Damilade Adenigbabe would keep getting discouraged and losing hope.

That’s the long and short of it.

Click here to read the previous title-less story about Nigeria.


About Chidumaga Orji

Core Afro-modernist.


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December 2011
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