The night had been really cold, a consequence of the heavy downpour the day before. Bodies were esconced in the thickest coverings available.
The pervading darkness was alive with the sounds of chesty coughs, phlegmatic sniffles, squeaking rats, annoying alarms and the nocturnal banter of couples wafting up from OPH front yard.
This was not a good night for sleeping. And so she found temporary comfort in finishing a novel. Soon enough it was morning. There was just a glimmer of electricity that was gone before she could plug in all the devices in the room.
The frustration though familiar, was as deep as ever. Everything was dead! Zilch contact with the outside world. Sanity dissipating with the realization that like most Sundays in LUTH, breakfast and indeed the remaining meals will be a struggle especially with the lack of light and late arrival of food vendors.
Out of the blues came a megaphone announcement urging all students to come out and march to the main gate. This brought back memories of Subsidy and Maulag protests. “But the YBC class had done the customary early morning jog-around-school,” she thought to herself. A BBM message soon cleared the confusion. Machete-weilding robbers had attacked the Worker’s Mosque overnight!
Too many emotions swirled through her mind at once. Amazement at the extreme boldness of these hoodlums as to attack a place of worship; an open space at that. That they could carry out their grisly operation only yards from a police post was only slightly more unbelievable.
Anger at the failure of the security apparatus at curbing them since they started these attacks a couple of years ago. Almost all reading areas favoured by night-readers had been through this with nothing done to nab the evildoers. Even doctors were not safe anymore as reports have been going about that they had not been spared.
It was too pathetic. Students gather in these places not because they do not love their lives and property but because there is no light in the hostels to read enough for the ubiquitous incourses. I mean the pressure is so great in this school that drastic measures have to be taken to ensure enough stuff is in the brain to barely pass the exams.
From room to room the narrative yarn was spun longer. Apparently the robbers came with a gun too and some people were injured as they tried to defend themselves. There was a simultaneous attack in class area. Now this was very discomfiting! This is an exam period for goodness’ sake. People had to search for light to read only to be brutally deprived of their laptops, phones and tabs-all devices on which most students had their study materials and projects.
This is a shame!
LUTH gate was barricaded by aggrieved students. Female students were lambasted for ‘applying makeup to go to church'(it was a Sunday morning!) when their fellow students were being robbed and maimed,while they stood at risk of being raped if they didn’t join the fight to demand for security on top of the perennial demands for water and light. Such is the unforgiving zeal of ‘aluta’. Of course the women of faith found their way to worship undeterred.
After a while, the students’ actions got the attention of people in the right quarters. Even the reporters of mass and social media were not to be left out as they all jostled for first-hand information. After much shouting and muscle-flexing from both sides a compromise was reached: light and water were restored temporarily and the exams were postponed to allow the injured recuperate.
Whether or not this will suffice is a story for another day. But a few points need to be considered:
1. Doctors, medical personnel,patients, and students need better protection than this. Future doctors need not be macheted or shot before we wake up.
2. It is hard enough being Nigerian. Being in medical school is even worse. Even as the fuel scarcity is ravaging the whole nation, our already miserable lives(“Six years a slave”) could do with some small comforts
3. We don’t always have to use the ‘aluta’ method before the right things are done. We don’t want to be touts, we want to be doctors, pharmacists,nurses etc
4. The world is a very small place. How do we compete effectively with our colleagues abroad if our media outlets constantly churn out such embarassing episodes?
5. Most importantly, we must strive to overcome and be the best we can be! The journey may be tough but the destination is worth it.
It is sordidly hoped that with the imminent inauguration coming up soon, the infrastructure improves and we can breed the doctors and medical personnel this country needs to take its pride of place among nations.