SURVIVING INSURGENCY, TERRORISM: OKOCHAS’ FAMILY TALE

This is the sad story of a great nation in the eyes of its continent, Africa but a terror for a few of its own inhabitants.

From insurgency to internal crises amidst agitation for resource control and marginalization, the fates of some Nigerians have bared the brunt – going down the drain. Most have lost their homes, means of livelihood and lives as well as been separated from family, friends and loved ones as a result of aftermath activities of these groups.

Though various groups have sprang up ,ranging from Biafran agitations, MASSOB, Niger Delta militants / avengers , the most recent dangerous and persistent is the Boko Haram sect already a terrorist group by International Organizations.

This blood thirsty anti western education terrorists have made bomb blasts their own fireworks during religious festivities , turning smiles to tears , laughter to mourning , wine to blood and littered human flesh in refuse dumps like spoilt left over meals.

The once upon a time sweets sounds of Islamic prayers have now been misconstrued for war crimes as the infamous Boko Haram sect have made a reputation for backing up their nefarious activities with misinterpreted Islamic chants , killing unsuspecting Christians in the northern part of Nigeria without mercy.

Scores from Sokoto, Borno, Yobe and even Kano reported on the pages of dailies, TV screens, radio have not just scared northern based Christians away from Churches but their homes as well.

W

BOKO HARAM TERRORISTS

Some Christians are even forcefully recruited into these deadly group .
This was the sad fate of Okocha Raymond in 2010, a Deltan, who not only lost his mother ,but was forced to flee from Kano state along with his family members, in respect to their religious credo.

Kano was the home of Raymond his sister and parents as they lived their whole life rearing several animals for business. Birds, goats and cattles precisely.

According to Raymond “business was so awesome that I once hoped I’d someday learn the art of making ends meet through animal rearing myself”. That hope however was thwarted when the boko haram terrorist group sought to recruit new members and unfortunately found his family worthy of their membership.

A simple no was no good for the extremists, as they decided to negotiate the best way a terror group knows how best to – unleashing mayhem to the farm of the Okocha family amidst sending countless threats to them. The police appeared incapable of handling the situation even as the terror threats continued until a devastating arson ruined the all that was left of the farm and house. The properties were not all that was lost to the fire outbreak, Raymond lost his mother too.

Defeated, the Okocha family picked up what they could from the ashes and returned to Agbor, their hometown in Delta State.

A hometown that had become alien to the Okochas meant renting an apartment for years , but Raymond ‘ s father would have none of it, he soon approached his elder brother to show him his own share of the properties their late father left behind for them. An action that led to a serious family feud which perhaps was the reason the first day of 2013 became the last day of Mr Okocha Fidelis , Raymond ‘s father.

“My dad was tired of paying rent after over two years in the land of his father so he wanted to build a house in a little plot of land, but this dream led to his murder “,Raymond Said.

MR OKOCHA

Raymond’s Uncle was declared a suspect over the death of his father, thus was detained . But all hell let lose during this phase as the children of the detained suspect began tormenting Raymond and his sister so badly that the siblings were left to suffer another arson attack in their rented apartment.

Oblivous that the fire outbreak was actually arson, the landlord of the apartment sought settlement from Raymond and his sister over his damaged property.

Raymond and his sister Naomi ran out of options in their hide and seek games with thier former landlord, and rather than elope like lovers, the orphans literally “fled their separate ways “to preserve their lives. While the current location of Naomi remains unknown, Raymond settled for Lagos, the most urban city of Nigeria in February 02, 2013.

It is cumbersome keeping tabs with Raymond now, in a telephone conversation, Raymond expressed fears of living in the country as the threats from his angry cousins and former Landlord has persisted. His friend who camped him had suggested he fled the country and embarked on a journey to Libya.

There are questions, plaguing questions that could leave one popping painkillers like candies. Will Raymond ever reunite with his sister, Naomi? Who knows where he could currently be himself? Could Nigeria really be safe for us all in the end?

While we are yet to know the whereabouts of the orphans, Raymond and his sister, Naomi, we can only hope that they are hale and Hearty now and living a fulfilled life, letting go of the wrongs from their home, the failure of the security system on the common man in their country and like a fairy tale movie, live happily ever after.

OKOCHA’S DESTROYED RESIDENCE

e could only hope. The question now is, is Nigeria really indeed a great nation? The answer is best left unanswered.