It was 1:45am on that unforgettable day. It was on a Saturday. It had rained cat and dog earlier that day and every occupant of the building in my compound had gone to bed very early because the weather was very cold, unlike the other days when you would hear people chattering at some late hours of the night.
I stayed in a four-storey building; actually, I occupied the fourth three-bedroom flat. On that night of the incident, I was browsing with my mobile phone inside the sitting room but the network service in there seemed to be very poor and slow, because I needed to be steady and fast, I moved to a place where the network service seemed okay, that was outside my room, at my balcony.
At my balcony, were four plastic seats lined on the left side of the room exit door. I sat there. The zephyr blew on my face like it knew I needed it despite the cold weather.
After some minutes, I saw a light flashed at the gate. I thought it might be the security men who moved about the street, late at nights. I felt secured as I still pressed my phone like it was going to be my last time with it. After some while, I heard some whispers but didn’t see the whisperers.
Before I knew what was happening, I saw a young man jumped into the compound through the fence. When I saw this I became afraid but when no one jumped the fence after him, I became a bit relieved thinking it might be Eddy, the drunken guy I had as a neighbour. I thought he might have feared being locked outside which made him decide to jump through. However, after his jump, I noticed the whispering still continued but I thought the whisperers were his friends who had brought him home.
“Eddie and alcohol” I said in a low tone as I heaved a low sigh and continued my chatting on my mobile phone.
Some seconds later, I heard someone jump into the compound again, before I could stand from the seat to see who the person was, two more people quickly jumped in. They were hefty but weren’t armed.
They communicated with signs and stood at various positions, it was as if they had rehearsed their movements.
I was left wondering who they were and what they’ve come to do, “they might be Eddie’s friends” I thought to myself, but as I watched them from where I sat upstairs, their gaits got me frightened, made me suspect they were robbers.
Of course, I wasn’t sure yet but when I saw them moved slowly and
stealthily as they leaned on the walls of the building looking suspicious, I knew something was fishy.
Some minutes passed and then I heard another jump into the compound and another and another. This time, the three men were hefty and dangerously armed.
“Ewo! I exclaimed, cutting my voice short with my palm around my mouth.
Luckily for me, my voice wasn’t so loud so they didn’t hear me exclaim. I began to shiver in fear. My heart began to beat quickly, like it was paid to do so.
“They are robbers, what am I going to do?” I asked myself, but who was going to answer that?
I was the only one at home; my Family members had gone to spend the weekend in the village. As I still pondered on what to do, I heard them shoot/ let out one bullet, immediately my senses left me. I didn’t know what to do.
“Ewo! Please don’t kill me o!” I heard one of my neighbours whose flat was under mine cry. It seemed they had broken into her flat.
“You think we came here to joke abi?” I heard a hoarse voice ask. It belonged to one of the robbers. I was full of pity for the woman, I wished there was a way I could save her. I also heard cries and pleas from other neighbours. From the various cries I deduced that the armed robbers had finally succeeded into breaking into everyither person’s flats.
But just then, I heard some knocks on the main entrance to my flat.
The knocks were heavy. They got me more frightened. I tip-toed into the room, I tried to make no noise at all. I was emotionally devastated with fear. Quietly, I prayed to God to blind them from entering my flat. After some minutes of persistent hard knocking and banging, the knocks stopped.
Soon afterwards too, the cries of the neighbours who were being attacked subsided. Thinking they had left, I tip-toed out of the room to the balcony again but received the greatest shock of that day, the two families who occupied the last floors were led out of their rooms and forced to lay down on the wet bare floor of the compound.
One of the robbers, who had his gun raised towards the sky, placed his left foot on Funke’s buttocks. Funke was one of the daughters of the tenants who occupied one of the flats in the ground floor, she was brilliant and beautiful and shapely.
“Please, don’t rape me. Please” I heard her cry.
It seemed they were contemplating on raping her which I guessed what was made her make such plea.
The other neighbours still lay down on their bellies and were being tortured. I couldn’t hear what the thieves told my neighbours, I could only hear some of the neighbours shouting, “ey! bikozienu, please, don’t harm me”. But Funke’s words were the only words I could clearly hear because each time, she pleaded in a loud tone.
I knew Funke would be raped as the robber who placed his feet on her buttocks started to unbuckle his belts and pulling his trousers. I felt a hot liquid streamed down in-between my legs. I really felt sorry for her.
“Uncle please. I beg you to have mercy on me. Please.” I heard Funke pleaded.
The robber turned deaf ears to her pleas and continued pulling his trousers.
“Uncle, I know you have sisters who are probably older and younger than I am. Please, take me as your sister. Please.”
“Sharrap, so if I draw your uncle for ground for you, you no go sabi am, abi? The robber asked her. I couldn’t see his face but his voice told those words from Funke really got him annoyed.
He stood, staring at Funke in anger or with pity, I didn’t know, as she moaned.
“My daughter o!’ I heard Funke’s mother call. “Please don’t harm her.” Sge mother cried.
Afterwards, I heard a sudden “Kpaa!” The sound was from one of the robbers’ palms slapping Funke’s mother’s buttocks while another member of the armed robbers signalled her with an index finger raised against his lips to shut up her mouth. She obeyed for a while but afterwards she continued her begging.
“Please, kill me instead of hurting my family. Please.” Funke’s father joined her in her plea.
“Hahahahahahahah…” One of robbers gave out a wicked laugh like he was out of his mind. “I can kill you and rape her afterwards.”
From where I was, I watched him walked towards where Funke’s father lay. He gave Funke’s father a hard and noisy knock on the head with the butt of his gun. A loud “ouch!” escaped his mouth. But he quickly checked himself and stopped screaming, else he’d get another knock.
Tears streamed down my face as I watched them hit men and women who were old enough to be their parents.
A thought popped up in my head and immediately, I took my mobile phone, with fingers shaking like they were just learning to move, I dialled a number.
“Hello. Good morning Uncle” I greeted him with a shaky voice.
“Ama, what’s wrong? You don’t sound…”
“Uncle, robbers o! Armed robbers o!” I interrupted him.
“What? Where?” He screamed.
“where are you?”
“At home.” I replied. “Hiding.” I added.
“Good. Hold on, I’ll be right there, just make sure you don’t leave the room.” He ordered and hung the call.
Three minutes later, I heard sounds of the fast approaching police siren vans. The thought of my uncle coming to our rescue thrilled me and made me feel relieved.
Soon, with joy in my heart that my uncle has arrived with his men, I looked down again to know what the robbers would do and I wasn’t so surprised, I saw six of them ran out from the first floor, three of them carrying a bag each.
“O boy!” One exclaimed as he ran towards the fence to jump out but couldn’t because he had the bag. He was wise enough to let the bag go and jump out, none of his colleagues had the thought of throwing the bag over to him. They were just focused on running for their dare lives.
“Na eke o, I don tuwama.” I heard the second-to-the-last armed robber said as he rushed to the fence and jumped over.
“Disembarg, no dulling.” said the one who I thought to be their
leader, he waited for his fellow armed robbers to jump over the fence before he did.
In their desperate circumstance, I played with the thought of calling him a good leader.
He took two of the bags with him, threw them over the fence and then jumped over. He was indeed wise. Immediately he jumped out, the tenants who were laid down rose to their feet, and to my greatest surprise, they started laughing and mocked themselves on how each and every one of them acted and feared when the robbers entered.
Funke wasn’t part of them. She wasn’t raped. She was calm. I guessed she was short of words of how to thank God. Nobody was hurt aside Funke’s father.
I was happy and called my uncle again.
“They’ve gone uncle. You have scared them off”
“Oh! Thank God. But …”
“Yeah, thanks Uncle.”
I felt relieved.
Then, my uncle’s last words on phone echoed in my memories. “But we haven’t left the police station.”
But weren’t they the ones with the siren vans?
It was later that day I heard the siren vans were those of the policemen on night patrol.
I had never experienced robbery before that day, it was an eye opener.