INDEPENDENCE



"Allah ka cece ni. Allah ka cece ni..." Usman keeps shouting as he holds tighter to me. The men behind pull him harder especially the stout man who sells cloths across the road.

"Allah gbuo kwa go there! Allah kill you there Idiot!" someone shouts from behind.
"Allah can not save you!" the stout man sneers.
"You think it's only you people that can kill Igbos? Will you come outside osiso. I say come..." he bits his lower lip hard as he drags Usman even harder. Part of Usman's Jalamia the stout man held to tears off and the impact sends him landing fiercely on the floor with the piece of cloth in his hands.

This angers the mob and they pull Usman harder, dragging me along. Our hands finally separate as he is firmly taken outside. Someone hits him on the head with a club and blood rains down his face entirely covering the tribal marks on his cheeks. He keeps shouting but this time, I can only make out 'Allah'. His legs wobble, as if a style of dance. A kick from behind sends him to the ground, face down. Suddenly he quietens and my heart stops. I begin to call his name but I can't even hear my voice.

"Izuchukwu. Izuchukwu... " he repeats my name weakly as they pour him fuel.
My heart breaks and I fall to the ground wailing. I watch as the fire burn.

Usman was my friend. He has been my friend since I came to the North three years ago. He taught me how to truly live. He taught me to love my fellow men too and not just the women. He didn't judge me when I told him I questioned my belief in God nor when I got the third girl pregnant.

Earlier today I had convinced him to go to the stadium with me to celebrate Nigeria's 57th year of Independence. I had pushed after he said no. I told him this was to me Nigeria's first true independence as the Igbos had finally agreed that there should be one Nigeria.

I didn't know the Igbos didn't mean it.
I didn't know they'd massacre the Hausas.
I didn't know we'd never get to the stadium.
I didn't know the house we ran to wasn't safe.
I didn't know I'd be responsible for Usman's death.



Written by me on 14/08/2017 for a Facebook flash fiction duel.
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