DANCE IN THE GRAVEYARD …. A SOLDIER STORY

DANCE IN THE GRAVEYARD… A SOLDIER STORY

My name is Richard, I’m about to get married to a beautiful woman.
My location right now? I will have to tell you
later.
About two years ago I was made to dance in a
graveyard. I know you
are surprised, but that is the truth. A
graveyard, a place where the
leaves obey the commandment of the smooth
and quiet wind. A place
where the birds sings for the beautiful souls of
the good in the day
and where the vultures cries for the angry
souls of the wicked in the
night. I think I’m going too emotional. Let me
tell you about myself
first.
I’m Richard Jones. A soldier of the federal
republic of Nigeria. I
really love my job.
I got admitted into the NDA, Kaduna some
years back. My experience
there was rough, tough and fun as well. Doing
a thousand push-ups was
never a burden after some time.
But as hectic as the work was, I could still fall
in love with a
beautiful lady. Her name is Rose. Rose was
different from every other
lady there. “Mr. Man, I don’t have your time”
that was what she always
tell me whenever we are together. But saying
that with her beautiful
smile tells me, there is a light at the end of
the tunnel. Eventually,
we started dating. About six months after we
started dating, we
graduated from the NDA. The celebration was
fun-filled. But I took the
opportunity to propose to Rose that day, and
guess what? She said yes
without delay. That was one of the happiest
days of my life.
Something happened that day that has never
happened during any
military graduation before. As we were
dancing and enjoying ourselves,
all of us were given letters. We were all posted
to different stations
immediately. In anxiety and fear, I opened my
letter and alas, I was
posted to Borno state.I know it was with the
intention to go and fight
against terrorism in that area. I quickly went
to Rose to check where
she was posted, I was happy she was posted
to Abuja to work as an
Officer at the headquarters.
Rose cried and cried when she knew that my
station was Borno state.
The celebration ended immediately when we
all got our letters. We were
asked to resume for duties the following
monday.
Monday came, Rose was still crying when the
aircraft that will
convey herself and some other colleagues was
about was about to take
off. “Please stay alive for me” that was the
last thing she told me
before she entered the aircraft. I was still
trying to be a man but I
didn’t know that tears was already running
through my eyes. I was
afraid but I had no choice and I actually liked
what I was about
doing, even though I knew my life was at
stack. A few hours later, a
caravan came to convey myself and others
that were posted to Borno
state.
We got to Borno state around 6:45pm, I
observed that just a few of
the senior soldiers were there, I was terrified,
thinking most of them
were dead but I was told they were transfer to
Adamawa state because
the terrorists were operating at a very high
level in that area. “You
are welcome to my camp” that was Major-
General Musa Yusuf, the
commandant of the camp. He continued by
saying “here I’m your father,
your mother, your brother and even your god.
If you think you are here
to stay alive, know that many are going to die
for your reason. So
fight for your country”. “Sir, yes sir” we replied
like military men.
After the warm welcome by the commandant
and the senior soldiers, we
had a little military camp gyration. We were
oriented and we also had
fun.
We were there for weeks, training hard
everyday until one day when
the publicity section of the camp sounded an
alarm for us to get ready
because terrorists were already coming. My
heart was already in my
mouth. Col. Yaro Yaya who was a senior
colleague, led us out. “Just
follow anything I say or you die” that was his
instruction. I was
afraid. “Shoot” col. Yaya commanded. I
started shoot randomly and to
my surprise I killed two terrorists immediately.
I started building my
confidence. It took us about two hours but we
eventually conquered. We
killed about 150 of them that day. I was so
happy. I called my fiancee
and I told her everything.
When we got back to the camp, we were all
celebrating our victory
and I observed something, Major Yusuf was
not really comfortable, I
could see it in his eyes as he was going
straight to his tent. What
will make a commandant uncomfortable at the
verge of victory? Who Knows?

The call of my love, Rose woke me up the
following morning. It is
always a sweet experience hearing her voice.
“Baby,I will have to call
you later. We going for our morning drill, I
love you.” That was how I
ended our conversation that morning.
It was 6:00am already, we were all out on the
open field for our
morning drills and all. As we were jogging, a
colleague of mine, Lanre
made me remember the incident of the
previous evening. “Richard, can
you see that the Major is acting funny?” He
asked me. He continued by
saying; “Is it that he doesn’t gyrate at all or
why did he behave as
if he was not happy with our success
yesterday?” . “I don’t really
know, I also observed that. But I don’t think
we have to worry about
it. Maybe he was just trying to show his ego
as the commandant and of
the highest rank in the camp” I replied him.
We continued our drill
for that day, it was hectic but as a solider, it
is bean-cake and
bread.
That time happens to be an election period in
Nigeria. A section of
us were picked and distributed to supervise
different voting centres.
We got there, everything was going on well
until a set of young men
tried to cause a riot. On like what other
military personnels will do,
myself and lanre calmed them down in a short
while without any
violence. The people there were surprised and
all they could do was
just to greet us, some even gave us money
saying they loved the way we
handled the case and they left. Voting for that
day was over and in no
time we got back to the camp. Lanre and I
were in our tent when we
were summoned by the Major. “Oh God! What
is it this time?” I asked
myself. On getting there we knew already that
he was angry, “give me
100 push-ups in one minute” he commanded
with all anger. “Who taught
you to behave like bloody civilians. Are you
foolish? Who asked you to
say any word to anybody? If anybody is trying
to prove stubborn, why
can you shoot?” He asked all these angrily.
“Shoot to kill sir?” Lanre
asked. “Yes, shoot to kill I said” the Major
replied. He ordered us
out of his tent when he was through ranting
on us. The hatred of man
began to grow in my heart. I was beginning to
suspect something about
him. what I was suspecting, I don’t really
know but I knew something
must be wrong about the man. But will a
soldier do than to obey
orders. I didn’t know what to do.
Training continued, vote supervision continued
also for about one
week. Until another when we were all alerted
that this time, the
terrorists were coming with war thugs (military
vehicles). This time
there was no fear. Apart from handling
ammunitions, we were also
trained to be military intelligence. That day
was great, col. Yaro
shot just one bazuka (missile launcher) and
all of their vehicles were
destroyed, all other surviving terrorists were
shot dead in no time.
That particular operation took us about one
hour. As the normal
tradition, we celebrated in the evening of that
day as usual but this
time the Major was not present. “Go and call
the Major to join us in
this celebration, he should be in his tent” col.
Yaro ordered. As I
was approaching his tent, I was hearing a
different language. I peeped
to check who it was, it was definitely the
Major. That language is
never a Hausa language, it sounds like a
foreign language. While I was
thinking about all this, I suddenly heard “who
is that?” That was the
Major. “I was asked to call…….” He didn’t
allow me to finish my
statement. “Shut up! I’m coming! Now go
away.” Now I’m really
convinced that there is something wrong
about him. We continued our
celebration and ended when we were all tired.
In my tent, I couldn’t sleep and I don’t know
why. So I was just
surfing the internet, checking facebook,
instagram and other social
media to while away time and to know what is
happening in the outside
world, after being in the camp for more than
three months. After doing
all these I couldn’t sleep still, my mind went
straight to search
about Major Musa Yusuf. Google brought out
some interesting thing
about him but there was a part of my screen
that redirected me to
another page. Surprisingly, I saw a change of
name, origin and
nationality attached to his profile. That was a
convincing proof to me
that he is not among us. But who is he really?
What does he want?

I woke up the following morning, something
strange happened. There
was no one in the tent with me. At first I was
terrified until I heard
the sound of marching men, then I knew those
were my colleagues. “I
did not join the drill this morning, I’m in
trouble” I was thinking
about this on my mat when I notice someone
was standing in the tent
with me. I got up quickly and to my surprise it
was the Major.
“Morning sir” I greeted him. “Go back to your
mat and continue your
rest, I purposely told them not to disturb you
because I know you were
the mastermind of yesterday’s attack against
the terrorists. I know
you will be very tired. But my boy, don’t go
beyond your capability.
You are just a young soldier”. He said all
these without allowing me
say a word. He left. I didn’t understand what
he was talking about. I
was thinking that day was a bonus day for me
but that day was the
start of trouble. I was about going back to my
sleep when I notice my
phone has been operated by someone else.
And that was the time I
understood what he was talking about. He
saw all I did about him on my
phone. What will a spoon do when a hungry
man is ready to eat than to
obey to direction of the mouth. What can a
young soldier like me do to
a Major? I knew already that I was in a mess.
How can I clean it up?
Our superb work in that area became a
worldwide story,
congratulatory and encouraging words were
coming from everywhere. I
personally receive more than one hundred
messages daily. I was really
proud of my job and myself. The moment that
thrilled me the most was
when the chief of Army staff, General John
Idowu came to our camp with
press men to celebrate us. “I am really
impressed with this set of
soldiers, you are fresh and gallant. I respect
your tenacity and I
salute your courage. Listen to me and listen
good, as a vibrant
soldier that will want to become what I am
today, do not let anything
stop you from discharging your duties
effectively to this nation.
Thank you” that was the General. We
applauded him after his wonderful
speech. The general allowed questions from
soldiers. My colleagues
were asking different questions, I was actually
thinking if I should
ask my question. I summed up courage and I
raised my hands. “Sir, what
if there is a spy among us that is trying to
stop the attack again the
terrorists, what can we do?” I asked. There
was a coincidental silence
for a few seconds after which the general
answered “soldiers have
sworn an oath, so I don’t think there can be
something like that”. I
was still not convinced but I kept quiet and
sat down. Is the General
also into this conspiracy? Who knows. I was
really in a deep blue sea.
Lanre and I became so close that he knows all
most everything
about my fiancee and I know his too. We talk
about them almost every
night “That your babe dey gan oo” he will
always joke with me. I told
Lanre about everything I have been facing
secretly with the Major.
“Listen, everyone of us knows that already but
how are you going to
hold him responsible. You better step back”
lanre said. “Probably
that’s what I will do. I can’t risk my life” I
responded. I was about
sleeping when I received a call
Me: hello
Unknown: leave that premises
Me: who is this?
Unknown: you will know me when you leave
the premises.
I took my gun, as soon as I left my tent, I was
apprehended by three
hefty men and I was taken to a van that is
quite far from camp. I was
blindfolded, I couldn’t shout nor do anything.
When I got inside the
van and I could see the man who was talking
to me. It was the General,
then I became relaxed a bit.
General: hello young man, you should know
me by now.
Me: yes sir.
General: what’s your name?
Me: Richard sir.
General: about the question you asked the
other day, tell me more about it
Me: there is nothing sir.
General: don’t be afraid, I know you know
something, so tell me.
I told him everything about what I saw about
Major Musa Yusuf.
Me: sir, I wouldn’t mind if I can get a transfer
sir.
General: I will not do that. What will be the
reason for me
transferring a young soldier that has not used
up to a year. I will
support you. Just tip me on all your moves.
These words were encouraging.

After those words of encouragement from the
General, I was escorted
half way back to the camp by the personal
guards of the General. It
was convincing that they were military men
but they don’t belong to
the Nigerian Army. When I got back to the
camp, I was quite surprised
that no one knew about my movement,
everyone was fast asleep. As I was
about sleeping, my phone alerted me of a new
message. The message was
quite surprising and scary. The message
reads: “hello young soldier, I
know about your movement. Be very careful.
Don’t go further”. I knew
immediately that it was the Major. The hatred
for this man as at this
time was really and truly established. I was so
determined to take him
out. “Musa, just cross my way and let my
bullet do the talking” I
thought to myself.
Terrorist attacks which was the order of the
day at that present
moment manifested again, terrorists were
along our borders. But this
time, Major Musa Yusuf himself led us out. It
was surprising to myself
and Lanre. To be sincere, Major Musa is good
at war combat. All his
commands were straight and precise. We
killed over a hundred that day
without using any of our explosives.
Unfortunately, one of us was
injured by the action of a bullet from the
enemies. He was quickly
taken to a hospital at the capital for proper
treatments. He survived.
That night, we celebrated like we use to. That
night was the first
night Major Musa is going to celebrate with
us. We could see the joy
all over his face. “Could he want to disguise
as if he not the one who
sent me the text? Musa you can’t deceive me.”
I thought to myself. In
fact, he gave we the new recruits gifts. Shirts,
trousers, money to my
colleagues. But when it came to my turn, what
he gave to me was a
surprise. A pen and a nokia torch light phone,
in hypocrisy I gave him
a salute. On the pen I could observe that there
was an inscription on
it. And it says; “make this pen your best
friend”. I immediately
looked into his eyes and he gave me a nod.
The major was trying to
pass me a message. After everything that
night, we went to sleep. I
switched on the phone the Major gave me
while on my mat, something
interesting came up again. The welcome
message was; “I will resign
soon. My reasons? You will know one day”.Its
now confusing, the Major
is no more the bad guy, then who is? I slept
that night in confusion.
The next morning, we had our drill. This time,
it was fun-filled as
the major himself led us and he was telling us
the story of himself as
a young soldier. A quite interesting story but
after the story, he
broke many of my colleagues heart by
announcing his personal
retirement. Everyone was shocked but not me,v
I was only eager to know
why he wants to resign and not retire in the
future. “But listen, I’m
going to come back, not as a Major but
something else” that was his
last words to us. We had a 21 gun-shoot
salute in his honour. My
situation become the person who wants to see
with a dark light, I was
confused.
Days after, another commandant was sent to
us his name was
Major-General Demola Johnson. He was quite
gentle and cool. His own
drills were too stressful. But with time, we
adapted.
On my mat one day, I received a call;
Me:” hello”
Unknown: “hello soldier”
Me: “who is this?”
Unknown: “you don’t just want to know me”.
Me: “so what do you want”
Unknown: “we know your tactics and plans.
We also know that you are
intelligent. We offer you an open arms to join
us. Do you think you
can conquer us? Ahahahaha I laugh. We only
send our weak ones to you,
so that we can know your abilities. You guys
are quite good but we are
better. Now here are your options, join us or
don’t plan with them,
else….”
*ends the call*
I was beginning to hate myself as a soldier. I
was confused. I
couldn’t tell anyone because they wouldn’t
understand. That was the
beginning of the dance.
The biggest of all the attacks came on a friday
evening. About five
states were attacked at the same time, so
there was no room for any
troop helping another. All man for himself.
During this attack, Major
Demola and some other colleagues were killed.
Lanre fled but to a
place I don’t know. My fear came back
immediately. But I took courage
to drive an armoured tank to attack the
enemies, Col. Yaro joined me.
I didn’t stop firing until all of them fled and I
could see no one.
Although I conquered but wasn’t happy. Going
straight to my tent I
received a call.
Me: “hello”
Unknown: it seems you are adamant, say hello
to someone…..*another
voice came up* Richard, its me Rose. I was
taken this morning. Please
help me. I know where……” *call ends*. She
was crying on the
phone.
My commandant dead, my friend missing, my
fiancee kidnapped. I only
have the option to join them. All man for
himself

General Yaro, Mr Jones.
I was in the confusion of joining or not joining
the terrorist. But
as soon as I remembered how Rose was crying
on the phone, I knew I had
no choice. I was waiting for anyone of them to
contact me so as to
tell them my decision. I waited for about two
hours, after which I
received a call
Me: “hello”
Unknown: “so have you decided?”
Me: “I don’t think I have a choice now”.
Unknown: “Good. There are just three steps to
join us. 1. Write a
resignation letter and put it in your
commandant’s tent”.
Me: “but my commandant is dead”.
Unknown: “I know already. Have you forgotten
quickly that we were the
ones who shot the fool. I told you before, you
can never defeat us,
you are just trying. 2. Pack all your things in
the camp and stay
with it in your tent. 3. Just lie on the ground
with your head facing
down and leave any other thing for us to
handle and this should be
done in 15 minutes. Your tie starts now”
*ends the call*
I actually did what I was instructed to do in
the exact way. As I was
on the ground I heard footsteps towards me
and the person used a
object I don’t know to hit me. That all I knew
until I was woken up in
a dark and big room. When I became
conscious, I saw so many hefty men
wearing military uniforms. After which I
noticed a man sitting on big
wooden chair, under a source of light. It was a
big surprise to me
that it was the General himself. I mean
General Idowu. As soon as I
recognised him, I was shocked and he noticed.
And he started talking;
General Idowu: “look my boy, don’t be surprise
its me. Yes its me. Are
you still surprised? Wait do you think anyone
else can trouble the
military when I’m not in support? Well let me
tell you my reason; I
have friends everywhere. They produce
weapons. How will they eat if
they don’t sell them? How will sell them if
there is no demand? And
where will demand come from when
everywhere is at peace. My boy there
should a war, so that some people like us can
be billionaires. Look
here, as soon as I acquire all I want for
myself, there will be an end
to everything. I’m not alone in this. I have
someone very exciting
show you…. *lanre come out from the dark to
the light spot* we know
you to be very intelligent and skilled right
from the Academy, that’s
why we purposely made lanre your best friend
so that he will make it
easy for us to convince you. And don’t forget
your fiancee. So you can
see, you don’t really have a choice than to
just join us. If you join
us, you will be collecting 25 percent of very
profit we make. If you
don’t, we will kill your fiancee right in front
you and punish you
till you die yourself. So you have just a few
minutes to decide”
I didn’t have any other option than to join
them. Papers were
brought to me to sign some agreements
pertaining to my membership and
the profit I will be making. As I was about to
sign with the pen
Major-General Yaro Yusuf gave to me, I
noticed a dull red light
blinking on top of the pen. As a military
intelligence, I know what
that means, that’s definitely a tracker. Major
Yaro knew nothing about
it and he knows something like this is going to
happen. I knew a
rescue was going to happen but how? I don’t
know. All of them went
away thinking I will sign the document
immediately. I switched on the
phone Major gave to me, a text message was
already there waiting. And
it says “I know where you are now, don’t say
anything until I get
there -Musa Yusuf”. I knew already that a
fight is going to happen.
I was already tired of all the threats and all
that was happening at
that moment. Suddenly, the led of the pen
became green and so bright.
Tear gas was released through the window.
Someone forcefully opened
the door. “Stand down Richard”. I knew it was
Major Musa already. I
ran out of the place and armed myself.
Everywhere was so quiet as if I
was the only one in that building. Suddenly,
bullets were coming from
the dark, we took cover immeditely. One of the
reinforcement died
immediately. With all anger, we unleashed
explosives inside the
building and we ran out. We brought down the
building. Many of the
other guys died and we opened fire and killed
all them until it
remained the General who was injured already.
Major: Idowu, what a man you are. I heard all
you said through the
pen, which was not just a tracker but also a
little walkie-talkie.
Because of your selfish interest, you
threatened my life and family. I
will give you my last honour with my bullet.
And to you Richard, thank
you for making the pen your best friend
because Lanre is not.
The Major shot Gen. Idowu dead. The
president himself was told about
how everything happened. Major Musa became
the new chief of Army staff
and I was also promoted to be a senior officer
at lagos. I told you I
would tell you my location. Well, I’m presently
preparing for my
wedding now and Rose is here with me. Wish
us well.
*****THE END******

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