Abdulkareem Ismail relates,

26th of August 2021 will forever remain a red-letter day in my life.

I’m a resident of Ilorin, Kwara state, schooling in the Seat of the Caliphate, Sokoto. I wrote my last paper of the 2019/2020 academic session on the 25th of August, and I was so happy because I was free to go home and cool off from the pent up stress of university bustles. Closing the pages of the second-semester activities was a relief because remaining in Sokoto for a year took its toll on me. I booked a slot alongside my friends and sister for a trip by evening. We were happy to return home.

And the journey, whose memory reigns evergreen in my mind, started around 9:00 PM. As we zoomed out of Birnin Shehu, occupants of my bus negotiated, argued and chit-chatted. I, on the other hand, wandered in a universe of my own, listening to the scintillating rhythm of my favourite song, ‘Love Nwantintin’ by Ckay.

Our journey took us through Kebbi, the nearest state to Sokoto, whilst the sky wept like a widowed teenager. We soon made a brief stop at a filling station before the driver launched the shuttle onto a path running through a forest I will live to remember.

I sat close to the door, enjoying the latent company of my smartphone while other passengers slept. Suddenly, the driver began to veer the vehicle into reverse. Alarmed, I looked on to see what was happening: Bandits had barricaded the path with heavy logs of wood and metals. Seeing the driver’s frenzied reaction, they charged after us with their weapons. The sight terrified me and banished sleep from the eyes of my comrades. We began to call on God, using the multivariate names he answers.

Scared to the extent of trusting his legs to move faster than the car did in reverse position, the driver brought the vehicle to a halt and swiftly slid the door ajar. Instinctively, I jumped out without caring for anything in the world. I left my phone behind and even my bag, which carried my dear belongings. We forgot everything and scampered into hiding, with the robbers hot on our heels. We stayed low until roosters announced the arrival of a new day when we were sure that many vehicles were plying the route. Swarming out of our different hiding places, we narrated our ordeal to other commuters, and they showed sympathy towards our plight.

Fortunately, we were all accounted for, although we sustained minor injuries. Our tongues played ‘Danger Dash’ in our mouths as we thanked God for making us see daybreak after a long, tiring and terrifying night.

Alas! We survived!

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