It was the first Saturday in the month of February 2009 in Bauchi, a place I had grown to love because of the opportunities it offered me. I had excelled as a corp member and was offered an opportunity to stay back and work with one of the Government parastatals. If someone had painted the situation I was in to me a few days to that day ,I guess I would choose to live. But I found strength from within to hold on to my faith. As a Christian we mostly wrongly underestimate ourselves I still remember waking up very early that morning to observe my quiet time before setting out for a church appointment. As I started praying, I noticed there was an unusually loud cheer outside my compound. My first thought was Rapture, then the next thought was Muslim prayers. By the time I stepped out to observe what it was from within my very secured compound, I started hearing the other sounds. The wailings and agony of those who were being beaten and maimed in the midst of the cheers of their oppressors. There were smokes from the surrounding houses and the cries of little children. It immediately dawned on me that I had been sandwiched in the middle of a religious crisis.
Although it was the hardest thing to do at that time, I knew I had to pray. So I ran back inside and got on my kneels. And yes, I did get a word. It was clear to my spirit, all I needed to do was stay indoors and I’d be fine. But I had this very noisy neighbor, a youth corp to be precise. Immediately she realized what was happening she got in a panic attack. She would run from one end of the compound to the other crying about how she was going to die that day. She came to knock on my door a couple of times to tell me what she could see from her window and they were really scary stuff. I had emphasized the need for her to be calm and quiet but she was undeterred. She started calling all kinds of people in her phone book, crying for help and the conversations were really loud. Soon after she was at my door again, this time she said someone was coming with a soldier to get her and that I should prepare to come along. About 20 mins later, I heard someone knocking at the gate so I went out to inquire who was at gate and then they mentioned her name so I opened the gate. They were two guys dressed in mufti. One of them quickly introduced himself as a soldier and showed me his green belt. As I opened the gate I noticed a large number of fully armed guys at the beginning of my street. It was clear to me that I was sighted as I opened the gate. Knowing that my cover was blown I didn’t think it wise to remain indoors, so I chose to set out with them. We didn’t walk far from my house before the mob attacked us. I was surrounded by approximately ten guys armed with cutlass, knives, sticks and stones. A stone was thrown at me, it landed on face and my glasses was off. As I flung my hands quickly over my face to see if I was bleeding, there was a slam on my head and blood spilling all over the place. It was quickly followed by another one which I tried to stop with my hand as I fell to the ground. Stooping down on the floor expecting another blow but nothing was forthcoming, so I lifted up my head to see and then I saw someone standing between myself and them. He turned to me and asked me go into the nearby mosque, which I did and was ushered in by another man who quickly shut the two of us in. He immediately led me into one of the inner rooms, while in there I checked myself to know how badly injured I was: two deep cuts on my head, a stab wound on hand, a dangling finger and there was blood on my shoes, my first instinct was to use my hands to apply pressure on my head to reduce the bleeding. Soon after I got into the mosque, my neighbour was brought in by the same man who rescued me. She told me that they were pouring fuel on her when the guy came to get her. With the four of us inside the mosque one would have thought everything would be fine. But with over 30 fully armed guys slamming the doors and windows of the mosque I knew everything was far from being fine. The guys were cursing and swearing in anger and threatening to kill all four of us. Fearing for his life, ‘my rescuer’ came up with a grand plan, and started talking to our attackers outside via a public address system reminding them that this a good avenue to practice what the Prophet Mohammed taught them; reaching out to non believers and converting them to Islam. So he came to me and whispered into my ears ‘do this for your life sake’, and asked me to repeat after him. He then went on a long Arabic chant which I later found out that he wanted me to proclaim Allah as the greatest and Prophet Muhammed as his holy prophet. At that point a lot started going through my mind, the first thought was I wondered what qualified me for this, and then stories of Christians who recanted and were killed afterwards and I didn’t want to be robbed of heaven but my final thoughts from deep down within my spirit was ‘I am not dying today’. So I found two kinds of faith operational in me at that point. First of all, even in the crisis I found myself, Jesus was with me and the reality of heaven was sure. Secondly was that strong knowing that He was going to create a way of escape if I hold on to Him. But my response to my rescuer was ‘I am sorry, I can’t’.
And he persisted and when he realized that i wasn’t yielding, he went to my neighbour and then she quickly said the words and was veiled and her name was changed and that caused a lot of celebration and chantings outside. But my attackers outside started calling for my head and he came to me and stated insisting forcefully, kicking me with his foot that I should repeat after him , reminding me that I was bleeding and they would kill me if don’t recant. At this point, i kept quiet and my neighbour came whispering into my ear that her conversion wasn’t genuine but that she just wanted to save her life, that I should just do, that it wouldn’t cost a thing. When she didn’t get any response from me, she took my phone and asked who she could call and I asked her to call my pastor. My pastor then called another leader in church who was a colonel and they quickly got a team of Army officials who came to get us. God sure makes a way of escape for those who trust in Him. To gain life one must ready to offer it freely to God. You ain’t living until you find something to die for. Luke 9:24