I’ve been sad and angry since last Sunday. I’ll tell you why. I’ve been sad, because Mutaeer died prematurely in his 20s and angry about the manner of his death. I know you don’t know Mutaeer. He was a fellow Nigerian, a commercial motorcycle (Okada) rider, known to my wife and family since 2012.
My wife has a car, but she prefers riding on Okada from Sango, our home, to Ijoko her workplace. We have had disagreements over that choice, particularly when the ride also involves our son, Yassir for whom she believes the Okada had solved the problem of his school bus lateness and arbitrariness. My wife and Yassir are the reasons Mutaeer had been coming to my house for five years.
My wife called his name routinely. You would think he was her personal assistant. Many times she would be hurrying Yassir up to go meet Mutaeer at the gate. He was also always encouraging Yassir to face his studies. Most times the trio left home together. Once in a while, Mutaeer met and greeted me courteously. He looked gentle, unassuming and respectful. I learnt the young man resorted to commercial motorcycle riding when his several attempts to enroll in the police failed.
Mutaeer’s wedding was scheduled for later this year in his home state, Kogi. I learnt after his death that he was participating in an esusu money contribution organized by staffers in my wife’s workplace and was to be paid last. He apparently wanted to use the savings for his wedding ceremony.
But Mutaeer would never marry his heartthrob any more. He came to my house last on Saturday, April 1. My wife called his name as usual. I was in my room and heard their conversation. She expressed surprise on learning that he had been at the gate for about 30 minutes. She asked why he didn’t call her on phone to announce his arrival and he said his phone battery was dead. Then they left. Last Sunday morning, I had just finished the early morning prayers and was reading in my room, when my wife got a phone call to come over to a hospital in Ijoko, where Mutaeer was taken after an incident that morning. She immediately left home. By the time she arrived at the hospital, Mutaeer had become unconscious. And about 7.30 pm same day, our Mutaeer had died. So sad.
Was Mutaeer’s motorcycle involved in an accident? No. Did he suddenly take ill? No. Did he engage in a fight with anyone? No, he was too gentle to be involved in such. So, what killed Mutaeer, then? Nigerians, fellow Nigerians cut short his life and dreams.
Mutaeer narrated his ordeal before slipping into a coma. He had left his Iloye, Sango downtown home about 5.30am on the fateful day with his elder brother, a mobile policeman whom he usually conveyed to Sango Under Bridge on his way to duty. After discharging his brother, he meant to return home as was his routine, but two men approached him begging to ride on his motorcycle to Ogba Iyo. He told them it was too early to start work and that he only brought his brother to where they met him. One of the men held a car tyre and the other a plank.
They persuaded him to take them to Ogba Iyo, claiming they were going to fix their car tyre problem. After a while, he succumbed to their plea and the ride began. When they got to Ogba Iyo, he stopped and asked them to alight. They still pleaded to be taken to the spot where they claimed the car was, off Agoro Road. He said he could not because it was still dark. They continued to plead until he decided to take them further. As soon as they moved into one of the corner streets, Mutaeer was told to stop and he had hardly done so when one of the devils drew a gun and the other hit him on the head with the plank he was holding. He fell and they continued to smash his head. When he had been sufficiently dealt with, the sons of the devil escaped with the young man’s motorcycle and left him to die. In serious pains and bleeding through the nostrils, Mutaeer summoned the strength and trekked to the house of a woman he knew through my wife about 500 metres away.
The woman had gone to the market, but her daughter was at home. He narrated his ordeal and pleaded for help. The girl and others assisted him to a nearby hospital. On their way, he was so pained that he begged that they should hold his head, as he felt like it was going to fall off.
My wife called Mutaeer’s relations and was with them in the hospital till she left for home about 6pm. She was on the way home when a call came that Mutaeer had passed on. Same night, the final journey for the deceased began and his remains were interred in his hometown, near Okene the next day. Isn’t it sad and unfortunate? We continue to pray for the repose of soul the innocent, harworking youngman and God to comfort his family.
I’m apprehensive seeing other Okada riders now, knowing that those heartless robbers are still on the prowl. How many motorcyclists have they robbed of their livelihood, and lives before Mutaeer and how many more will become preys? Will the killers be found and brought to justice? I pray they meet their waterloo soon.
Re: Season of insanity
It’s not only ‘season of insanity’, it’s the season of amnesia upon which anything could happen. Instead of going forward and enjoying what technological development could offer, we are relapsing into stone age! Those who said they are representing our interest are after themselves and flaunting their affluence. Escape! suicide! drug addiction become fads for cowards. One cup of garri is N100 naira. One bag of cement,N3000. Check newspaper headlines and see how politicians sponsor news of their achievements. Bailout funds couldn’t bail out salary/pension arrears, Paris Fund nko, whosai! Do you have light in your flat,what about dry taps? Yet, we hear achievements. Where? Only politicians see them. Shame!
–Tony Enyinta, Isuikwuato, Anambra State
Now if there is good leadership then what you called insanity will end, right? Where is this good leadership coming from? If there is any noticeable thing in our land today, it’s that the current crop of persons in government are totally bereft of leadership initiatives. This government is not only colourless but its existence promotes the insanity you wrote about. I think the way out is for Nigerians to encourage themselves and hope that God will get this clueless government out of the way in 2019. Let it be stated that suicide solves no problem and anyone contemplating it should have a rethink because today may be sorrowful but joy would come tomorrow.
Abdulfatah, creation of a human shows differences in the parts that make him up not to talk of differences between one human and another. In line with this, reaction of an individual to an issue will not match another’s; no matter how close. Man’s survival is prime and in actualising it, he might take some risks that appear insane to many people. Many Nigerians had traveled successfully through the Mediterranean Sea while million others got drowned in such circumstances. In as much as suicide appears a demented mental option, many, who are not strong hearted, might prefer it as the best option to their predicaments. That must have been what the doctor, who plunged to death in the lagoon, premised his decision on. Apart from that, some of such people might have been victims of cultic attacks. That entails mere response to an incantation of the cult figure. Some truly religious people might dismiss it as primitive but, in my view, it is the negative side of the miracles wrought in other more acceptable religions of our time. Your call on our religious leaders to mentor their faithful towards avoiding suicide mission as a veritable option to whatever stressful circumstance they find themselves, is a sane call. Luckily Nigerians are generally religious. The people in government should also live up to demands for good leadership that would enhance economic growth which would stem the desperate surge of Nigerians to other countries for “greener pastures”; with their lives at stake in the process. A proactive leadership, devoid of personal, ethnic and religious sentiments, would go a long way to make Nigeria better for Nigerians and reduce suicides drastically in the country. May God save Nigeria. Amen.
Dear Abdulfatah, once again, you have chosen a topic that is troubling most Nigerians -suicide- and at the same time, accurately identified its cause – deficient leadership. When in the eighties, Achebe pointedly asserted that the trouble with Nigeria was leadership, not many totally agreed with him, but today we can see clearly. Now, people are not able to pay their bills, many have lost their jobs, inflation has put routine goods and services that make people just get by on daily basis, out of the reach of honest citizens and all the news that emanate from government circles are trivial issues of a head of a very important government agency feeling ashamed to identify with the agency that pays salary by refusing to put on the required uniform, grass cutting contracts, departments in the seat of power not working in tandem; an arm of government doing all it can to bully the other arms. In this circumstance, what will a citizen who feels left behind and has no faith do? Suicide certainly should not be the answer but we are having it aplenty now, because not all of us have the ability to endure stress and seeming state of hopelessness. It therefore behooves our leaders at all levels to climb down from their high horses and be alive to their responsibilities and remember that the success of any administration is the wellbeing of its citizens. Meanwhile, Nigerians are having a raw deal in the hands of their leaders. Thanks.
My heart aches going through your piece titled Season of Insanity. It happened that I have just finished reading another piece titled The homeless school girl of Otodo Gbame on page 9 of this paper. How are we all going to help the helpless in order to avoid a continuation of the scenario so that the ‘Doctors’ would not become the patients. May God save us. Amin.
–Nimat Lara, Abuja.