Sunday began as any other day. I went to church, from there to the salon and back to Abeokuta, just in time to watch the finals of MTN Project Fame.
Afterwards, FFF's neighbours from the next compound, who are my collegues at work, came over with another of my male colleague who came to visit and we were all gisting in my crib. I was in the kitchen cooking a native soup that my colleagues were waiting to taste. Besides, my male colleague was waiting for the rain to subside before going home.
One of my neighbours came to borrow my umbrella and said his friend, who was visiting will return it to me soon. It was 8pm.
Then someone knocked. Normally, I will ask from my window who it was before opening the main door. Better still, if I am alone, and there is light, which there was, my curtain will be down, and I wouldn't answer anyone who knocked, because we all have keys to either the front door or the back entrance, and when my curtain is down, you wouldn't know if I am in or not.
But while my male colleague was checking to see through the window, I already opened my door because I was staning behind it.
"Who?" I asked.
"It's me Sola," he answered.
"Who is Sola?" I asked. I didnt know the name of my neighbour's friend, and because of the light inside and outside, I couldn't see properly through the partial glass on the door because of my own reflection.
"It is Sola, open the door na?" he sounded a bit irritated I was still asking and that made me embarrassed because I then believed it was my neighbour's friend who was to return my umbrella. So I opened the door. He entered and I looked at him and my eyes followed his hand to his pocket as a gun came out and two other guys with guns entered behind him. I died.
My first instinct was to scream to alert the others. But I didn't. As I was pushed towards my room, I was thinking and praying. When I stepped inside, I tried to shut the door on them, but they were stronger. They asked the four of us to lie down. I was still standing. My three colleagues were already flat on the rug. I didn't believe it was happening. Then I was told again to lie down. I knelt down first, as I watched two of them descend on my wardrobe. The third one carried my two laptop bags to the bed. One of them went into my kitchen and turned off my gas. At a point, I was lying down too. But I was not quiet because I kept calling on Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the robbers kept screaming at me to shut up.
It was when one of them came to me and started dropping my ear rings on the floor around me, and a second one stood over me, touched my waist, where my jeans stopped, that it occured to me they could rape. I kept quiet and started to pray inward.
I was asked to get up and take them round all my neighbours. I tried to plead and I was slapped thrice. My face still hurts.
It was a terrible night. They found some rooms opened with easy access, and broke down doors, where the occupant was out. They left with laptops, every phone, money, perfumes etc. And they left scars on us all.
I kept questioning God why He didn't interrupt the operation. I kept asking Him to and He was quiet. That was how I felt. And remembering that I was the one who opened the door, I die all over again. But later, we all thanked Him, the incident took place when it did, else it would have been worse. I have a neighbour who always sits outside at night to make calls because the service is poor in her room. What if she was outside?
What if we were seeing off our male colleague who came to visit, and we were stopped by the robbers, who actually parked their car under a tree, watching the house? What if it was another neighbour who had a visitor too, and she was seeing him off? What if they had followed the neighbour's friend back, who was returning my umbrella, and I was alone? What if when it happened, we were all alone on our beds? As of when it happened, every one of us were not alone. We all had visitors. There are so many what ifs, but I feel terrible.
FFF had left for Lagos the day before, and her neighbours were with me. Later we discovered the robbers went to their compound first, seeing no one, they came to ours.
I do thank God for preserving our lives. All the material things lost can be replaced. All my stories and projects on the laptop, He will inspire me again to write better ones. But I feel very bitter because I lost so much of my office documents, including the flash I use as backup. I feel really bad and so confused because it was just two months ago I had a terrible accident and the car has been written off. I had recovered fine from the trauma of that accident believing God preserved my life for a purpose. And then getting robbed in my home where I should feel safe?
I try not to think about it, but when I close my eyes, I see the hand that went into the pocket and returned with a gun. And when I remember how one of those guys stood over me, I fight to breathe again, because I cannot imagine what I would have done if rape had been the story. I wont be here typing this.
I do thank God, but I'm still very shaken. Don't know if I can still remain in Abeokuta. And I am asking God to please help me. I don't want to crash. I'm so close to the ground.