It was on a Monday morning, the 1st day of December, 2010. I had spent two years preparing and saving money for this memorable day. I was going to be my best moment after my wedding day. The whole village where I was born “Makupa”led by our local chief Mr. Ndoto, my brothers, sisters members of the Clergy both young and old men and women, no wanted to miss that memorable opportunity of escorting me to Jomo Kenyatta international Airport. One would have thought that there was a very important dignitary visiting the country.
Dressed in green and red, women danced and sang patriotic songs, children were not left behind, they recited poems, old men who could hardly stand due to their advance age spoke words of blessing, members of the Clergy invoked long prayers, as though they would never pray again. The whole Airport garden came to a stand-still. A gentleman by the name of John Brown join our group and sort to know about our huge crowd and what it was upto. He introduced himself as the Chief Security Manager. Our Chief, Mr Ndoto took over, he was charge as a bull. When he started talking, her was dead silence, a pin would fall and be notice.
He gave along chronology of how our village started and how no one had ever excelled in studies, to a point of winning scholarship abroad. To him that was enough reason to bring the whole Village to the Airport Mr. Brown did not have any choice but allow us celebrate our victory. Clock ticked and my departure time drew neigh, I tried to imagine how Lagos international Airport looked like but I could not fathom. How Nigerians have heavy but good accent, I could not wait! An hour before departure time, the Captain announced “Passengers KQ 374” please board.
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There was mix reaction, some of us wept tears of joy, others felt I should have stayed bit longer while still others felt like I was going to heaven and I would never come back again. But in all these, Mr. Ndoto comforted them that I would only be away for two years and my studies would benefit the whole community. After hugging and kissing the much awaited moment came and I boarded the plane. It was a real adventure I had not boarded a plane before, therefore I did not know what to expect, but thank God I was ready to lean. My laugage was put in the cock pit only the carry on was allowed inside the cabin.
The whole flight was going to take seven hours. It was meal time and there came a beautiful smiling attendant, ready to serve me. Since no body had told me that the meal was paid for, I thought it was very expensive and I could not afford. I declined the offer! She went ahead and offered a drink, which I neither accepted. Not because I was full but fearful. Six and half hour later, the Captain announced that we about to land, every passage to fasten their belt. I did that with grate excitement because I knew finally we were in Lagos Nigeria. The flight was exiting though fierce being the first time to fly.
We disembarked I took my laugage and headed to the Immigration office. I knew the the college which I was joining had sent representative and they were waiting for me at the visitors lounge. No sooner had I entered the office than the officer gave me a card to fill in, Question number one was my religion, I happily wrote Christian, The officer thundered to me , and exclaimed. ‘Stop! ’ Don’t go any further”. His accent scared me to death! He went ahead and told me that I was under arrest. I sort an explanation and he said that I was a spy. I could not connect spying and my education.
One of the soldiers told me that the northern state of Lagos was a Muslim state and no Christian was allowed in, peradventure one was found, he would be treated as a spy whose penalty was life imprisonment or death penalty. His words made me feel like I wish the ground would open up and swallow me alive. I explained to them how I got a scholarship to their country but all that fell on deaf ears. They gave me two options, either life imprisonment or death sentence. I found myself between a rock and a hard place. None of the options was better than the other. But I chose life imprisonment.
They locked me in jail, fortunately the staff from the college arrived. Better late than never. They engage those officers but they held that I was a spy. They realize they were hard nuts to crack and resolved to contact Kenya ambassador . In the prison, I made all kind of prayers repented all known and unknown sins purified my heart in readiness for any eventuality. Two hours later, there was a knock at the door, I was always hoping and expecting a miracle, but I was prepared for the worse. This time the two officers were accompanied by a third person. He introduced himself as the Ambassador of Kenya in Nigeria.
I could not wait for a second word, I defied all the decorum and protocol jumped upon his shoulders and wept uncontrollably. He apologized for what had happened and assured me that my scholarship would de transferred to the southern state which was a Christian state. All this time, the immigration officers were speechless. I was ushered out of the cell by our ambassador to a his waiting limousine fly Kenya flag. I thought I was dreaming! He hosted me in his residence until he transferred my scholarship to another college. My morning was turned into dancing.
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