By Donu kogbara
LAST Friday, I logged into my Facebook account and saw some old September 2015 FB messages that had been posted by friends who were rejoicing that I had just been released by kidnappers.
For Vanguard readers who are not familiar with Facebook, a brief explanation: The folks or computers that run FB habitually remind FB members of anniversaries…as in events and FB friendships that took place or were initiated on “today’s” date in bygone years.
Sometimes, the memory that is electronically generated by FB is just a simple reminder that one has been so-and-so person’s FB friend for exactly x number of years. Sometimes, the memory is about an event that occurred exactly x number of years ago.
On this occasion, messages on my FB wall reminded me that I had been abducted by armed hoodlums in Port Harcourt in August 2015 and had regained my freedom 13 days later, on September 11. In other words, last Friday was the fifth anniversary of my release.
Regular followers of this column will know that story well because I have told it so many times. And I have told it so many times because being kidnapped was a trauma I couldn’t shake off or forget.
So traumatised was I that I frequently, long after the incident, suffered from terrifying nightmares and the weirdest hallucinations.
I would “see” huge rigid snakes crashing through windows and coming at me like torpedos. I’d imagine gunshot wounds covering my body and oscillating. I couldn’t get masked men out of my mind. Again and again, they would chase me, catch me and force me into a coffin.
For a long time, I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through, during both waking and sleeping hours, in case folks thought I was mad.
I prayed, but religion didn’t drive the heebies away. I talked to a psychiatrist who gave me meds to soothe my severely frayed nerves.
When I eventually told a few friends and relatives that sometimes while I was chatting to them, I was seeing snakes, etc, they said that they could never have guessed because I was behaving normally.
So I must be a damned good actress!!!
Anyway, this went on for ages; and then, fairly recently, the kidnapping – and the scary images that assailed me after it – suddenly ceased to almost constantly reverberate through my head like a horror movie. Suddenly, peace of mind descended.
And guess what?
In August/September 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, I had brooded about the fact that I had been abducted, incarcerated, beaten and released exactly one, two, three and four years previously.
But this year, I didn’t even remember the kidnapping drama until I saw the FB reminder flashing up on my phone screen.
Which proves that no matter how much trauma you endure, there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. Healing can really happen.
SOCIAL media cops a lot
of abuse; and I have written about its downsides on this page in the past. But I think that social media is a positive phenomenon overall.
One good thing about it is that it provides platform-less individuals who deserve to be heard with platforms and big audiences.
I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of intelligent observations I encounter from people who are not professional writers or thinkers or commentators or pundits or politicians or whatever – people whose viewsmay not be regarded by decision-makers as newsworthy.
Or sometimes, via social media, I come across talented professional writers I have never heard of before and may never have heard of if not for WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. Here are some thought-provoking words of wisdom from an internet sage called Ucheoma Onwutube:
Nigeria wants you grateful for the bare minimum.
Oh be grateful, there’s “light”. Your transformer is in a good mood.
Your workplace is toxic? Blessed are you to even have a job. Your mates are jobless.
Fuel prices on the rise? You can afford to worry because you have a car.
To live decently is a privilege. A high privilege.
Soon one realises that this breadcrumbing affects the psyche.
You’re overly grateful for what’s your right.
Order is “miraculous”, justice, a rare event.
I used to admire the grit in Nigerians. The Bravura in spite of the hardships.
But, this is no way to live. This shouldering and cunning and manoeuvring.
Our suffering and smiling is no virtue. It’s what it is: suffering.
A bold move
THE Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has sponsored a bill that prescribes surgical castration and death for male and female rapists of male and female minors and adults.
Sexual violence is on the rise all over this country and the bill was recently passed by the State House of Assembly to deal with it.
Where the victim is a child, the Court shall in addition to the conviction, order that the convict be listed in the Sex Offenders Register to be published by the Attorney General of Kaduna State.
The most intriguing excerpt is as follows: “Where a female adult is convicted for the offence of rape of a child, the Court shall punish the accused with Bilateral Salpingectomy and death.”
Call me naïve, but I didn’t even know that Nigerian women could be rapists! You live as you learn.
Anyway, I strongly salute El-Rufai for taking rape seriously. But I have a liberal streak and oppose the death penalty.