It was 12:55am and I was just about going to bed after finishing the proposal my boss asked me to write when I heard loud continuous bangs on the gate of the compound where I live. My heart started skipping beats.
The street I live on had suffered five robberies in the past 2 weeks. “Maybe this is the 6th”, I thought. Not too long after the bangs on the gate, I heard bangs on the doors of my neighbours one after the other. I got very scared at this point.
I had just changed my door the week before. A corper friend of mine had recommended a particular type of iron door to me. l had immediately gone to buy it after receiving my alawee because the door I met when I rented the room had been destroyed by termites, but I was yet to testify for the door. Deep down, I prayed my testimony would come that night.
My thoughts were soon interrupted by a loud hoarse voice at my door. A loud knock on the door followed the voice and my heart literally stopped beating for the 20 seconds that followed. “Hey corper, come open this door now!”, a voice commanded from outside. I could neither move nor talk. I just stood where I was, proposal in my hand and staring at the door.
After series of knocks, threats and shouts, I heard the same voice shout, “Mustapha, oya, march down the door make e fall down”. I moved back a bit, anticipating the fall of the door and the bursting in of the armed men but instead of the fall of the door, I heard a thudding sound on the other side of the door and a scream of, “My leg o! My leg o!” I was as confused as I was amazed. Was the door about to deliver on its promise? Another ear piercing screech on the door warned me not to give in to despair.
Immediately, I dialed 911 (a number that was given to us in camp in case of any security emergency) and I prayed for all I was worth that the police would choose today to do their job.
“Oga, the door too strong, e no dey move.” I heard the one with the Northern intonation cuss. “For this kind of door to be used, this corper must be in possession of huge cash. Look for something stronger to pull down this door!”, the boss replied.
Soon, the sound of steel being dragged got to my ears. Before I could figure out what was happening, the door was hit with whatever steel they had picked up. From the way it sounded on the door, I could tell it was pretty heavy. They tried taking the door down with it countless times, but failed every single time.
I never believed that the wailing of police sirens would ever pose as a melodic ecstasy for my ears but I could barely contain my excitement as the wailing drew closer. Out of anger, they shot at the door but the bullets didn’t even pass through. The police soon got to the front of the compound and sounds of scuffling feet entered my ears. “Walahi, police don come, oga”, I heard a voice say. “Escape by any means possible”, came the reply. And soon I heard gunshots that started from the front of the house gradually moving out of the street.
I didn’t even bother to open the door that night same way as I didn’t bother to sleep that night. I was just pondering in my heart what my fate would have been if i hadn’t changed the door the previous week.
I regretted why I had left the corpers’ lodge and I resolved to go back to the corpers’ lodge immediately my rent for the month expired. As I left for work the next morning, I saw some of my neighbours gathered in front of the house narrating their heartbreaking stories to those who cared to listen. I was the only one who wasn’t robbed in that compound that night. Well, I’d have loved to hear the gists from my neighbours but first, I had to get to my PPA to submit my proposal. I thank God that I completed my service year in peace and that I’m still alive to tell this Victory Story of mine.
This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organized by YNaija.com.
We publish, un-edited, Nigerians telling the stories of their everyday lives. Read all the narratives daily on the Nigerian Voices vertical. You can also contribute your own story titled ‘Nigerian Voices’ to [email protected].