Hunted – The diary of the corper across the Benue River | Episode 1

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series Hunted

Last Updated on June 10, 2018 by Memorila

When Bashir, a corper serving in Benue state, employed tricks to ensnare a colleague, he ended up being the one that was trapped. Hunted has lessons to be learnt and anecdotes to be connected with. The story shows Gwa Doohemba at his best: suspense


April, 5.

As I sat in the vehicle waiting for it to be full, I gave way for my fears; I have never before crossed the border of Kano state to travel even for a trip but here was I going to serve my nation in another land. I was both filled with fear and expectations, expectations that somehow turned to fears. I know that this is my fist time of stepping out of Kano and to live with another set of people who wouldn’t understand my ways or would I understand theirs was enough reason to set me on the edge. I brought out my mobile phone and as I waited, I googled on the state I was going to, Benue, to peruse about the land I was to spend a year in, as I remember clearly the warnings of my mother never to visit home until after I had completed my service year. She claimed it’s because she wants me to have all the experiences I needed but it felt as though she wanted to punish me.

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When the page finally opened, it was a story of a teenage boy’s first journey to Benue state only that unlike me, it was his state but he was born and brought up in Kano state.

It was my first journey to my own state; my proud state which is known as the food basket of the nation. I was filled with great hopes and expectations; not for the reason I was visiting the state –to come face to face with my father for the first time –but the great opportunity it offered me. It was the expectation of having a glance at the rich agricultural land on which my ancestors were born; a land on which my ancestors fought many battles in preparing a place for me to call mine. They know nothing of my one day coming into existence but I rather believe that they had hopes and that was what kept them going and filled them with the vigour they needed.

The bus took off at 9:03am.

Kano is a very big city –it was my first journey out of the state. I am what the Hausa man calls kifinrijiya. The harmattan had drained the trees of their leaves that they stood lifeless. There was nothing attractive about them… not even leaves for you to know what kind of tree it was.

We were met by a lot of soldiers on the way and I was very happy, seeing what a great job they were doing but I was disappointed when I noticed that each of them we came across, ten naira was offered to them or else we would be delayed. I felt pity for them when I saw one of the soldiers scramming after a rabbit for a game. I couldn’t help but laugh and I laughed wholeheartedly, surprised even at myself that I could laugh the way I did.

It was a single road all the way that was spread before us like a red carpet for the royalties to walk on; only that this wasn’t a carpet… it was more of a snake with its curves. At a time, I felt as though we were ascending into another realm… as though Kano is on a hill and the surrounding towns were below it… maybe that is because I was sitting in the passenger seat next to the driver.

I envied the children we met on our way. Some of them had only their pants on as they played and jumped around the road without coming close to it. Some of them would wave at the passing buses and cars until they finally vanish out of their sight. It was their energy and carefree life that enticed me. There was no expression of grief, suffering or worries. What I saw on their faces was joy and peace I couldn’t say how they conjure it. And from the depths of my heart, I wished I could feel same way.

They were some women and children who were breaking granite into tiny pieces.When I asked the driver he said they would sell it to be used in building. I watched them, in my mind measuring the rate of poverty that would make a woman and her kids to bend under the scorching sun in search of their daily bread.

What I was seeing were empty lands; lands that were plain and untamed, fertile and would yield productive produce. It gave me a clue of what career choice to venture into when I meet my father –for that is one of the things we would be discussing apart from building father-and-son relationship.

The sculpture of a basket representing the food basket of the nation was what told me that I had finally arrived in Benue state. I wasn’t sure when we crossed River Benue but when I saw it, I knew for sure. The basket was made to sit on a gammo that was weaved with palm fronds. There were different kinds of crops, fruits and vegetables in it and they looked so real that I thought they were.

The whole town was so peaceful and clean unlike Kano that was filled with people every which way and was littered with leathers and papers.

My father was waiting for me in the park. Once I saw him, something stirred in me… it was pride. He stood so dignified in a jeans and a polo shirt. I liked him right away and I knew I was the one that would go extra miles to ensure the father-and-son relationship work out well.


Reading through it, I knew I would love to record my experiences as well and maybe share it to the world just as the boy did. And to do this, I need a diary.

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Gwa Doohemba

Doohemba Gwa is a young writer. He writes mostly novels and short stories and once in a while dives into poetry. His work has been published in 'Telling our Stories', an anthology of new Nigerian short stories published by ANA Kano. He was also published in Daily Stream newspaper as poet of the week on Friday, November 20, 2015 issue.

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