Tomorrow, 17th of February. The day I have been eagerly waiting for all my life. It’s just a day away from getting married to my age-long heart rob, Halimat.
Halimat and I had been friends back in our university days. As fate would have it, we were both posted to Zaria for the compulsory National Youth Service Scheme. Our love grew more than I could imagine and within six months into our service, I proposed love to her. Ever since that day, we became inseparable.
Shortly after our youth service, I informed my father, Alhaji Umaru – a well-known business tycoon in Katsina – about my intentions of getting married to Halimat. Within months, a date was fixed; behold, it was just a day away.
Halimat and I were on our way coming back from the wedding planner when our car suddenly came to an abrupt stop.
“Musa, why did you stop all of a sudden?” I asked the driver who was busily shivering.
I felt hinted, only to look up and see seven guys who were heavily armed with guns and rifles, standing in front of our car.
“Allah!” I exclaimed.
Halimat held on to me amidst fears as my eyes became turgid with tears. I had faced lots of dangers in my life but not with seven hefty men who possessed guns.
“Come down!” One of them ordered.
Slowly, we alighted the back seat of the car with Halimat clinging on to me.
“Look at this man! Who do you think you are?” Another said.
Coming close, he gave me a resounding slap that swayed me off balance.
Halimat screamed and ran close to me, holding me dearly to herself, while the men with guns watched the show of affections displayed by the two lovebirds who were just 24 hours away from sealing their long awaited love.
“So you still have the guts to hold on to your woman?” One of the guys whom I presumed to be their leader said, fuming with anger.
“Akeem, bring that woman here!” He commanded.
The so-called Akeem came close to me and dragged my Halimat away.
Their leader handed his gun over to his assistant, then held Halimat forcefully towards the ground.
“Please don’t hurt her! She is my wife,” I cried out loud.
Their leader smiled and turned, pointing his gun at me. Before I could say anything, he hit my head with the butt of his gun. I felt my whole head exploding, but I managed to breath, with my eyes growing dim.
At that moment, all I could perceive was Halimat who was crying and wailing. I felt something trickling down from my head, it was blood. I managed to stand up to my feet, only to see Halimat struggling to escape the ordeal of getting laid.
“Please don’t do this!” I managed to cry out loud again.
Two guys held her hands; another set held her legs apart, while one moved on top of her. I gasped for breath. Halimat’s effort proved futile. I had the urge to get up and fight for my woman but one of them had his gun placed right on my head. Something Halimat and I had kept securely and safe for our wedding night which was bound to happen in less than 24 hours was about to be snatched by these gunmen. Seeing her bled was a sign: Her virginity was gone!
My heart ripped opened in pain and anguish. An unattainable energy emanated in me from nowhere. In a last attempt to save my Halimat, I heared the sound of gun being shot; I fell and passed out immediately.
Two months later…
I regained consciousness and the memories of the past began to flood in. Everything that had happened became retroactive in my brain again.
I had been in coma for 23 days. I had to be flown abroad for immediate surgical operation. According to the doctor, the bullet was just inches away from penetrating my spinal cord, and if immediate medical attention was not given, I might loose my ability to walk again.
Musa, my driver, was badly beaten to the pulp, but he managed to take me and my unconscious Halimat to a nearby hospital.
That was 4 years ago…
The operation was successful, and I was able to walk again. The last time I checked on Halimat, Alhaji told me she hasn’t fully recovered; she had been at the psychiatric hospital ever since that day.
Rape is one of the consequences lurking behind corruption and political decadence in any country. It may seem irrelevant, but true. Unemployment, on the account of our government not putting the interest of the people over their love for personal gains is a thriving factor now in Nigeria. This has also caused a ripple effect to other national unrest. Swift corrective measures must be taken by virtue of legislative reinforcement and institution reform.
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Rape is a canker that needs to be erased from this world. It has cost so many people a lot of things.