Doctor resists urge to enact revenge on Northern Muslim by killing pregnant wife
Something bizarre happened in the year 2014. My wife and kids travelled to Jos on December 22nd 2013 to spend the Christmas holiday and were to return to Lagos on the 7th of January 2014 but this almost never happened.
I tried to reach my wife on the 6th of January to know if they were still coming from Jos the next day but her phone was off.
It was not until late that night that her call came in. I was heading into the theatre to perform surgery on a pregnant woman when my phone beeped.
My wife was crying. “Baby, we have just been attacked. Dead bodies everywhere. I can’t find Mimi and my mother..” I asked what had happened and she told me that the attack was carried out by suspected Fulani herders and that many had been killed.
Everyone had run for dear life and she could not tell what had happened to my daughter and her mother.
“Pray for us Baby, pray for us..”
The line went dead. I tried to call back but her number was switched off. My heart became a port for all the negative thoughts in the world.
I was pacing to and fro in my office when I was summoned by one of the junior doctors for the surgery. The time was past eleven.
It was on my way to the theatre that the patient’s husband bumped into me. He looked like he had just visited hell and returned.
“Doctor, please do your best for me..”
He told me quickly that the patient I was to operate on was his wife and that they were from Katsina but lived in Lagos.
He kissed the back of my palm tenderly as I walked briskly away promising to do my best.
Suddenly, it struck me that he was an enemy as I sauntered into the theatre. That brief introduction had provoked me. He was Fulani. I was Igbo. His brothers had stormed my wife’s village in Riyom killing scores and he expected me to save the life of his wife and child.
The thought of my family and others not safe filled my head and all I could think of was to avenge the death of the innocent people who had just been killed. And my first ever victim was going to be the wife of the Fulani man whom I was going to perform a C-section on.
All that was on my mind was to commit murder. If I made a single mistake on the patient, she would be dead in seconds. Immunity would protect me.
But the moment I stepped into the room, all that evil plan occupying my mind gave way to that strange impulse that almost every
doctor possesses; the urge and desire to save life!
We worked on the patient for nearly two and a half hours before we were able to get the little infant out of its mother. It was a very healthy bouncing baby boy.
The news about the attack was now on TV. The government condemned the killings. How long was this going to continue?
There was a knock gently on the door. It was Umar, the Fulani fellow whose wife I had just worked on. He wore a fine white material and looked refined.
“Thank you very much doctor,” he said happily. You could tell that he was well-read and civilized.
I looked at him with disdain as he smiled and sat on the chair opposite me.
“What is the problem Doctor?” he asked in a manner that showed genuine concern.
This time, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. “My wife and children are in Bachit and that community has just been attacked by herdsmen; your kinsmen. I can’t reach my wife right now. I don’t know if they are still alive.
I just left the theatre where I saved the life of your wife and help deliver your child but your people are killing my family right now”
I was crying now; my face covered in tears and catarrh.
Umar was now on his feet. His face was crumpled in sympathy. “I am very sorry Doctor.
This hurts. My heart burns right now.”
He took the handkerchief from my pocket and wiped my face. His hands coiled around my neck tenderly. “I hope nothing happens to my family because I don’t think I will be able to continue without them. I love my wife so much.
My kids are my jewels. I can’t afford to lose them to bullets from your kinsmen” I wept.
He put his hand in the air to stop me. “Doctor, you are getting this wrong. I am supposed to be celebrating the successful surgery and delivery of my wife but I am in grief right now because
of your children. I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonight until I get positive news about your family. You keep repeating that my kinsmen attacked Riyom this night but this is not true Doctor. I know of only two tribes and two religions in this world; the good and the bad.
Bad people have attacked good people tonight and anyone who is happy about this also belongs to the tribe of the bad.
You just saved a life a while ago. You belong to the tribe of the good. There are bad people in every tribe and there are good people also in every tribe.
That night, he called his cousin who was a soldier and through him, we got the phone number of the GOC in Jos. The army had already swept into Riyom and almost quelling the situation. Somehow, they were able to get across to my wife.
The feeling I felt when Rhoda told me that they were all safe only that she felt pains from running still remains something I can never describe. Umar kept in touch until my children arrived in Lagos
It’s been years now since this happened and I have come to agree with Umar that
there are indeed two tribes and religions in this world; the good and the bad.
These two tribes can be found amongst every tribe.
We that belong to the tribe of the good will continue to do good and we will surely be judged by our deeds.
A true story by Japheth Prosper