I still feel the chill; I can still hear their shrilling cry. Their pleading voices hunt me still. The helpless yelp that each whip drew from them. Every night I am awaken by the unrelenting clamor of the mob as they yelled “torch em! Burn em!”
It had been two years yet the events of that day still remained fresh. It had tattooed an indelible mark on my psyche that I fear no laser treatment no matter how lethal it is can erase. The hellish nightmare of the whole scenario, the realization that in my silence and inaction I had actually joined in the act, that I had been a party to a crime Professor Wole Soyinka described as “the height of man’s inhumanity to man” still made my heart cringe. Everything still hunt me, it keeps playing on over and over again in my mind like it was set on an unending replay.
I had tried to shut out the memory. I had struggled to blot it out from my memory, to obliterate the fact that I was there, that I saw with my two eyes all that happened, that I heard their voices plead for mercy. That I felt the early morning breeze of that day caress my ailing skin, that I had stood glued to a spot, arms at akimbo, lips sealed with fear that I might suffer a similar fate to the four boys who later smelled like ‘suya’ if I dare raise my voice. I had pretended I didn’t look, that I didn’t take in all that happened like one seeing a movie premier on 3D. I had told myself countless times that I had spoken out but no one heard. I had tried to convince myself that the thoughts that ran through my mind on the aforementioned day came blazing out in a woofer and all could hear it loud and clear and they could hear me vehemently protest to the act howbeit in my mind. I had tried but to no avail, to relive what happened and rewrite the script so the end would be different, so the tragedy would become a magical Disney love story where they all lived happily after. I had imagined that things had happened differently, that the police officer present had acted differently instead of sneaking out of the scene.
I had done all these and many more yet nothing have changed. I still feel the pain, the wound still feel fresh and their voices still sound clearer than ever in my head. The realization that the four boys were just a tiny unnoticeable part of a bigger picture haunts me even more fiercely. That they were an inconspicuous line in the graph of countless others who has become innocent victims of mob actions keeps the tears flowing. The knowledge that what happened in Omuokiri-Aluu was a reflection of the larger ills of the society. That the angry mob who had done the lynching and roasting were innocent victims themselves who acted at that point in a way they surmised to be rational. That I still clamor for justice to be served made me sink deeper into the abyss of sorrow on realizing that no matter how impartial the justice served is, it would be injustice still.
These realizations and many more made the pain more intense. The aftermath of the incident, the way the supposed investigation was swept under the carpet, how the true course of events still remain a mystery for a prophet to interpret still irks me to the bowels. That the people of Aluu has become stereotyped and labelled less than human for actions perpetuated by a misinformed few, made me sadly seek to exonerate all involved in the inhumane act; it made me have a second thought. Yes I still crave for justice, but knowing the society I live in, the inadequacies of the police, the way criminals whose crimes have been proven beyond every reasonable and unreasonable doubt walk away scout free made me want to say the Aluu community did right by taking the law into their hands. The realization that thieving leaders who masquerade themselves as poli[tricians}, God of Men, traditional rulers and whatever title they use to legalize their crimes are still glorified made me feel justice for the Aluu 4 is nothing more than pruning of dead leaves while the root remains rotten. Day in the out I still relive the horror and I wonder if ever a day would come where things like this would become alien to my memory.
DISCLAIMER: The above story is a fictitious account of the afterthought of an observer of the event that occurred on October 5th 2012 at Omuokiri-Aluu Rivers State Nigeria, where four students of the University of Port Harcourt whose names are Biringa Chiadika Lordson, Mike Lloyd Toku, Tekena Erikena and Ugona Kelechi Obuzor were brutally murdered. The circumstances surrounding their death still remain a mystery and justice is still yet to be served.
To read more on the ALUU FOUR, follow the link below.