Guest post by Dr. Ifeanyi Okoye.
Some days ago, I was driving home after a really long day at work. The time was about 0830PM.
I watched as a car coming from the opposite side apparently lost control, ran into a ‘Keke’ (tricycle/rickshaw) that was picking up passengers right on the road, crossed over to my side of the road, and then piled into the gutter and was stopped by the embankment on the side of the road. The ‘Keke’ took quite a tumble as it turned over several times and eventually rested on its wheels.
Other drivers parked and the pedestrians who observed the incident, immediately went to assist the victims in the ‘Keke’ and also to see to the driver. I parked a few meters from the incident and came down to see how I could help.
Thankfully, nobody sustained any serious injuries. Having watched the incident happen, I thought that was quite miraculous. The ‘Keke’ was in a really bad shape. All banged up and twisted, but nobody was hurt seriously. The driver of the car was in a bit of daze. His airbags had deployed and coupled with his seat belt, apparently saved his life.
One of the people who had stopped started telling us how the driver zipped past him at high speed not realizing that there were a series of speed bumps ahead and probably lost control of the vehicle as he was trying to stop to avoid running through those bumps at high speed.
As all this was happening, other ‘Keke’ riders had stopped to see to their colleague. We watched as they huddled among themselves and then they approached the offending vehicle in their group. When the people who had gathered to see what was going on asked them what they wanted, they replied that they wanted to burn the vehicle. “Burn the vehicle ke!!!???” The thought was quite alarming to me. “What on earth was that??!!” Granted, the driver was extremely careless. There was no loss of life (and even if there was), there were no serious injuries, granted the ‘Keke’ was in quite a bad shape, but to burn the vehicle in response???
A tussle then ensued between the ‘Keke’ people and other folks like me who were enraged at the thought of burning the vehicle in response to the accident. One of the folks even asked them what the ‘Keke’ was doing picking passengers right on the road in the first place. This went on for a few minutes until a certain gentleman in a black suit who was one of the people engaged in the tussle to prevent them from burning the car, pulled out a handgun, cocked it, raised the gun above his head, and fired a shot into the air. The ‘Keke’ people immediately took to their heels. The scramble to get out of the place was amusing to watch to say the least. They fled.
The man who fired the shot and the others with him started calling to them to come back. “Shebi una wan burn car ba? Oya make una come burn am make we see!!!” (meaning: you folks want to burn the car? Come and burn it and see if we will watch you do it), was hurled at the fleeing incendiaries.
Well, guns were now involved, and it was time for me to exit the scene in order to avoid stories that touch…
This incident has weighed heavily on my mind. How did we become like this? I wonder what would have happened if the man with the gun was not there. So many thoughts, so many questions…
How did we really become like this?