I woke up from a long spell of unconsciousness, drenched in water and the countless prayers that had been uttered over me. I found myself lying on my aunt’s lap, her eyes already filled with tears. I glanced at my father, who had not stopped reciting prayers and spitting on me throughout the ordeal. I was too weak to open my mouth due to the weight of the burden he had placed on my head. I managed to utter, “Father?” He quickly responded, “Yes, Badi’atu?” I asked, “Is it true that Muktar’s plane crashed, or am I dreaming?” He nodded solemnly and replied, “Yes, Badi’atu, that’s what they said. In the current situation, the bodies of five of the seven people on the plane have been recovered.”

Despair and sorrow overwhelmed me. I couldn’t contain my grief any longer. I began to cry aloud, “Oh, I’m Badi’atu! Oh, I see myself! I’ve lost Muktar!” My aunt and Hajiya Mariya also wept alongside me. I couldn’t understand why he had allowed them to kill him after promising me that he would return home safely. I had promised to control myself and protect my honor, while he had vowed to do whatever it took to come back to me so we could continue our life together.

Joda put her palm over my mouth and shushed me, urging me to be quiet. She whispered, “Badi’atu, please stop talking. Don’t disgrace me.” I felt an overwhelming urge to get up and pray, reciting supplications and seeking solace in prayer.

Gali and Nai11u entered the room, returning from inspecting the bodies that had been brought back. They looked grim, as if mud had been smeared all over them. My father calmly inquired, “Did you see him among the bodies?” Gali replied, “No, he was not among them.” My father pressed, “Are you sure you looked carefully?” Gali confirmed, “Yes, we checked thoroughly, even their feet. He was not among them.” We all felt a sense of dread. Nafi’u suddenly burst into tears, and we were all gripped by the tension. Gali tried to console him, saying, “Nafi’u, what’s wrong? Don’t scare everyone. Father, Major Balogun is not among them.” I opened my eyes, placed both hands on my head, and screamed, rolling around the room. Everyone was crying. My father was praying with tears streaming down his face. Gali was kneeling in front of my father.

My father spoke softly, “Six out of seven people have been brought here. Among those brought here was Balogun, Muktar’s close colleague. Thank God, O Lord, have mercy on his soul. I did not cry for losing my son due to my naivety, nor did I cry for your sake, as my heart is not strong enough to bear this pain. Accept him into your grace, O Lord.” These were the words that flowed from my father’s mouth. Seeing my father alone was enough to make anyone shed tears. The evening call to prayer (Isha’i) was made, and we returned to our worried prayers, spending the entire night in supplication.

Nafi’u and Gali went to the office of the G.O.C, trying to seek assistance and join the army unit that was being sent to Libya. The news had indicated that Muktar’s whereabouts were unknown, and it was unclear whether he was alive or dead. At four in the morning, Nafi’u returned to us, and we all gathered in Muktar’s room, our hearts filled with hope. Gali spoke up, “Father, we’ve managed to secure approval for one of us to join the unit. Several more soldiers are set to join tomorrow to embark on a rescue mission.” My father was overjoyed, and he praised Gali for his courage and determination. Tears welled up in my father’s eyes, but Gali knelt before him and assured him that they would bring Muktar back safely.

Gali quickly prepared to leave, carrying only a few belongings. He knelt before my father, saying, “I will follow Muktar, Father, if he is alive. With God’s will, we will return together safely. I apologize for what has happened to us.” My father gently patted Gali’s shoulder and offered his blessings, “May God bless you and protect you, and may you return safely.” Gali then left our home at precisely five o’clock in the morning.

The town was just beginning to wake up, and news of Muktar’s disappearance had begun to spread among his friends and acquaintances.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *