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Opinion: Oil- The Niger Delta Tale

It was a cold night. Mama and Papa had returned late from work that day for they had to finish up the leftover works of the previous week. They had come in tired and needed a shower, dinner and rest. I however went to do the cooking.
It was almost fifteen minutes gone. Dad and mum were done with the shower and were seated at the dining. Then I saw a thing...

The two hands of the car's wiper sway in the likes of a mass choir waving halleluyah on the windscreen which was punctuated with rain drops and had the tires rolling as a remote controlled toy. The vehicle made almost no noise and it carried no vehicle number. It was a new vehicle, a peugeot model.
It was just another few metres when he pulled the brakes. He was at his destination. I wondered what this son of man needed at this time- the cold, rain and time of night considered. He had possibly come on a visit. He hopped out of the vehicle with his movement ordered to make sure his traces were covered. "Was the car stolen?, What does he want?", I queried in thought.

I saw him. The young man in the black hoodie. He moved towards the high building opposite the street with my eyes following his silhouette. Thereafter, I saw nothing... No traces.

I turned back and left for the dining room with the food plates in my hand when I heard a bang. It portrayed someone trying to break a safe. Silence followed and I kept calm. For the next few minutes,

I heard nothing and so resumed my move towards the dining. I could hear papa and mama giggle
over coffee, my brothers seated patiently in wait for me.

That evening, I served dinner. I had a feeling that it was to be "The Last Supper", but my feelings could not be so true as I thought. "Did dad and mum not hear a thing?", I wondered...

I served silently and was done in no time. I moved on to sit when the bang came again. This time, louder than before. I looked at Dad, mum and my brothers and I saw indifference in them. They continued their chat as though nothing sounded...

Just then, the door went off, revealing him- the guy in a black hoodie who had concealed almost everything. His arsenal had only one hatchet. He marched in and filled an empty seat beside me. Then I saw trouble...
I had watched the start of the event unfold in one quick progression- the return from work, myself in the kitchen, the hoodie guy scene and my family having dinner. He had no reason whatsoever to come in that way. If he truly was the man I saw earlier, then our home was probably a mistake. I felt like getting on my feet but it was cold. I became frightened.

"I've got your names on my list, paid in full," he said, revealing the hatchet he had concealed under his jacket. He stood up and walked the table round. I looked at my father. He looked so helpless. My mother helped no issue, she was weeping already. He lined the family up and starting from father, he bludgeoned and hacked them- father, mum and my innocent brothers.
It was soon my turn. He stared hard into my face for long just before he turned around and left leaving me with the remains of my lovely little family of five.
I never forgot his face.

Overtime, I grew wondering what psychopath he was, why he murdered them and who paid in full. I wondered why my peaceful family of a father who worked with the Government Oil Regulation Agency, my mother who was a teacher in Agbabi Riverine area and my two promising siblings were murdered in cold blood. It was the beginning of the end.

I remember the stories of woe I read in primary school, years before the murder of my family and I conclude that we never feel the tragedy of loss by reading it. A tragic book is interesting when imagery is used to analyse suffering but it's awful when suffering is experienced in reality. No matter how well, the author can not fit the shoes of description if he has not experienced same.

  The hot slap landed on my cheeks as though I were another Jesus, taking the sins of the world. Caressing those cheeks turned another mistake as the full series of spontaneous slaps followed. Mami Kene as she was called is wife to my uncle who adopted me weeks after the cruelsome incident I suffered. However, she had not for once look with pity and count me as human.

Earlier this day, she had asked me to mop the floor which I had earlier done. I looked at the surface and saw barely no stain on it and wondered the need to do the mop again. It was then she hit me hard on the face. I could trace the map of Africa, intimately iinscribed by her palm on my face.

That was the least of punishments I received in that home. The only thing I however put in mind is the fact that one day, I would uncover the mystery of the person who paid in full, the price for the murder of my family. It was in this home that I finished my senior secondary school when my battles started in full...


The story in this article has replaced real names of persons and places. Any resemblance is not on purpose, should be taken lightly and the message should remain undistorted.

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