It was 3 am when Djimou first heard the noise. It started as a low rumble from the horizon, but built up gradually as the seconds ticked away. Soon, the noise was so much that his wife and three year old son woke up startled and cuddled up to him instinctively. He huddled them in a corner of the room farthest from the source of the noise as it grew exponentially in a direction towards them. The noise continued to grow as it moved close to them and then it engulfed them. In between the heavy palpitation of his heart and his mutterings of rote prayers, he eventually deciphered the noise of heavy duty engines of various vehicles. The vehicles passed his raffia home and continued on the beach towards the ocean.
Djimou eventually summoned courage to peep through his window and see what was going on ten minutes after the vehicles had passed and he started hearing voices ordering men around. He saw sixteen mini-trucks with large carriers attached to them. All the carriers were being offloaded of boats he had only seen the type of in magazines that Henry his fellow fisherman and cousin always like to read. Men, dressed in khaki and boots moved around with military precision. In the midst of the work stood a short man who wore glasses and had a little pot belly. He issued orders with the air of one who was used to issuing orders and getting them obeyed at once.
Djimou perched by his window, watching the men work, till he got cramps in his left leg and changed to his right. When they had unloaded the boats, they proceeded to unload the contents of the trucks into them. Djimou stopped breathing when he saw the first of it being unloaded, but he wasn’t much surprised. He had known, from his experience as a child-soldier in the Sierra Leonean civil war that these men were killers. He saw guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons transferred into the boats. He thought of calling the Police but immediately dismissed it. They would only complicate things and his family would get caught up in the crossfire. And these guys would probably win the shootout against the police and visit vengeance on them if they survive. The only hope they have of surviving is for the men to leave to wherever they are going to and never return. He looked at his wife, who was still wide-eyed, and his son, who had fallen asleep and muttered another prayer to the gods. He had lost faith in the Mediterranean God during the war.
His prayers were eventually answered around 4:30am as sixteen men got into the trucks and drove away in a single file. The remaining men, including their commander, pushed the boats into the water and pushed off into the ocean. Djimou could have sworn that the commander’s eyes were fixed on him despite taking care he was concealed at the window side.
His plan of sleeping in the hut to wake early and make his first catch by 5:30 am was not going to happen again. At the first light, he will send his wife and child back to his town in the hinterland and abandon this portion of the beach and move back with the pack of fishermen down the coast. He won’t make as much money as he would have fishing with one with his cousin as his side-kick, but that would do. There is safety in numbers.
“Boss, I just got a call from Segun at AIT. He said we should all watch their station now!” said Chuka as he barged in into his editor’s office. The editor said as he got up “Yinka at NTA also just told me the same thing. How is it that the President wants to address the nation and we didn’t know about it? Mohammed has said nothing of such is being planned at the Villa now?” He finished as he strode into the news room.
It had been a very crazy day and everyone in the room was functioning on adrenalin and in some cases various poisons of choice, in order to be able to survive emotionally the coming hours that promise to stretch them even more. They have had to agonize over their friends and families and as the pictures came in they had been shocked. The editor was thankful that none of his family members was involved and had turned to consoler-in-chief to those who had lost their family members, including to the family of two members of staff that they had also lost.
Everyone stopped working and looked at the screen as the editor increased the volume to the maximum as the blank screen gave way to a lanky man in the middle of the screen sitting on a sofa, wearing a mask.
“Nigerians, you have been wondering who planned the attacks on Marina this morning. I did. My name is irrelevant and I represent no organization. You can call me Faceless. This is the first and the last time you will see or hear me speak in words. Hence forth, I will speak only in action like the one I did earlier today.
You all know what happened today but I will recount it for you, in order to quash whatever lie and untruth that your government has and will say about it. Eight teams of two boats each under my command attacked Lagos Island. Two teams engaged the navy, fending them off the other six teams. Three teams each went to destroy the Third Mainland, Carter and Eko bridges, with instructions to cause irreparable damages and maximum casualties. One was sent to destroy as many tank farms and ships in Apapa. One was sent to Ikoyi to destroy as many homes as possible. One was sent to target some very specific companies on Marina and Victoria Island and bring down their headquarters.
The key to understanding what has happened today lies in the companies that were specifically targeted. I was a young man in this country burning with zeal, passion and ideals who begged and craved for a chance to prove himself. That was however denied me by these companies. They made me part of the recruiting process to legitimise the taking of their own friends and families. Nepotism was the order of the day and everyone engaged in it. Yet I persevered. I went to banks, oil companies and every corporate organisation I could find and found the door slammed on my face. Many times I was found worthy, getting to the last stage and many times, another person who knows someone who knows someone got the job ahead of me.
This repeated disappointment made me think about the true nature of the society and made me observe the morals and values of the Nigerian people. And what I found out left a bitter taste in my mouth. What I found out were a set of people who have Stockholm syndrome and would rather kill one another than their oppressors. They would rather judge their fellow sufferer harshly based on ethnicity, creed or perceived “cool” status than judge their oppressors. And they would name that “survival”. They have the ethos of “Everyman for himself and God for us all”. Their belly is their god and their pocket its prophet. They would do anything to get what they want, including sacrificing peoples’ lives, hopes and aspirations and these same people queue for their own turn to inflict such pain on others. They then use any of the religious texts to justify themselves.
I couldn’t stomach it and took a very hard and agonizing course to purge myself of the love for the country and its people. I left the country in January 2013 in order to make it in another country. However, I made a solemn promise to myself that I would show my people the logical conclusion of their moral values and philosophical codes. I will come back and make sure that they see what evil they have produced, nurture and perpetuate.
I have come back now. You have made me the man I am: a man without values and morals. Anything I want, I will do absolutely everything possible to get it without acknowledging principles of love for fellow man, due process or conscience. I am the deacon in the church and the imam in the mosque. I am the assistant commissioner of police and the commandant of that military base. I am the air traffic controller, the pilot and the NURTW executive. I am the market woman, the teacher and the medical doctor. I live among you I am everywhere now. I am faceless. I see you but you can’t see me.
So you ask, what has all these got to do with what happened today? Here is it: all those companies that were targeted are part of those that did not offer me employment. I just settled a personal matter between them and I. I will settle the score with the other ones later. The companies must seize to exist. The country, Nigeria, must cease to exist as it is.
Every Wednesday, I will launch attack at any location of my choice: government, business or residential. I will attack everywhere. I am everywhere. Nowhere is safe. I have decided to fulfil the prophecies of the United States some years after it should have come to pass. How will I do this? Don’t I fear my family members will be involved? Well, I have given up on them as I have given up on Nigerians. The only thing that is wrong with Nigeria is Nigerians. I will dispose of Nigerians and become its last President. The President of Nigeria’s Ashes.
That is my demand: If you want to survive, emigrate. This patch of land, this geographical expression, this inchoate nation must never be inhabited again. I, and my associates, will kill until there is no one remaining on this land. You must leave this land and your last act of parliament must be that appointing me and my offspring the Everlasting President.
If you like, go to your God-forsaken churches and Mosques to cry to your Jewish and Arabic Gods; you will die. If you like call on the international community to help; you will die like the Syrians, Afghans, Rwandans, Somalis and Iraqis. But please, don’t declare that comedy you call “State of Emergency”; it will only make me angrier.
Nigerians, you have till next Wednesday before our next meeting. If you like, get out. And see how other nations think and act. They won’t allow you to mess them up. If you like, stay and fight me. You will die. Others will die. Nigeria will die. Happy packing”
The picture on the screen slowly faded with a background sound of evil laughter taken from the end of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.
The remote control slid from the Editor’s hand as his mind started calculating how much he had and how he will get his family out. He was not to know, until it was late, that the Naira had lost all its value and wasn’t worth the paper it was printed upon. It was now ashes. And he was its president.
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