The big escape

TUESDAY last week, this reporter went on a news hunt of Ogijo area of Ogun state.

There were reports of a tragic incident in the area and I felt the urge to talk with relevant, credible figures who could give a lead on what transpired and led to the widely reported deaths.

While on transit to the town, one could see some vehicles dangerously making  U- turns.  The driver ignored the scene and continued to advance towards Ogijo. Sensing danger, I desperately informed the driver that I wanted to alight from the bus.

The driver laughed off my fear.

‘Oga, there is nothing to be afraid of,” he said. ‘I plied the route not too long ago.’

However, sighting the number of people running towards the direction of our vehicle, I insisted on jumping off the vehicle to avert impending danger.

He had no other option but to stop the vehicle so that I could take cover.

As if they were waiting for my reaction, other passengers also asked that the driver drop them off.

As I stepped on the street, I encountered a resident and asked him if he had any idea of what caused the melee. Before, he could give me a clue, there were sporadic shootings from all angles and people ran helter skelter.  Meanwhile, the first safe place I could sight was a bank.

“It will be a nice idea to seek refuge in this bank and wait there until the uprising dies down,” I thought to myself. However, the bank’s security was not a willing host. Immediately, he sighted me and the onrushing crowd, he smartly shut the gate against us.

“Sorry, I can’t take you in here, I am not ready to lose my job,” retorted the security man.

I am in a fix, where else can I run to?

Meanwhile, the more decisive of the crowd had fled into the bush and without the second thought I followed suit.

My bush experience was another episode in the dangerous drama.

While lying flat on the weeds, thorns and shrubs, I felt my chest hitting a metal object. Painful but less lethal than stray bullet or accidental discharge. Praise heavens! I eventually jumped into the next available vehicle to keep my head safe from the turmoil.

We often hear of great feats accomplished by journalists at great personal risks. I am safe. I am well. Finally, I get to feel like an accomplished reporter — the one who saw war and lived to recount it.