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My Experience With Armed Cultists In Uniben – Paulinus Okpere

I was only a 200Level Banking/Finance student when armed cultists invaded my hostel (Rhino's Palace) at BDPA Estate and rounded all 21 occupants of the house inside my room. My room was the biggest room in the nicely built house originally designed as the Social room of the house but was converted into a "self-con" as demands for accommodation was high then. They had with them 2 pump action guns, 2 Double barrel guns(cut to size) and 3 machetes.

Once tucked inside my room and having raked all of the valuables they could find, one of the hoodlums got carried away at the sight of one of the biggest girl in our hostel. She was the daughter of a wealthy Oil/Gas contractor whom I was very close to as I was the one who taught her how to cook different delicacies then. She liked me a lot she would always come to my room to gist and sometimes play LUDO.

The criminals told her to strip off, she was begging as we all laid face down while periodically collecting kicks and whips with a leather belt they removed from my wardrobe. All her pleadings fell of deaf ears, they pulled my 9inch mattress which laid on the tiled floors to one end of the room and the first of the Seven man robbery gang jumped on her without a condom and started to rape this girl who gave no resistance but kept pleading to be spared.

The other waiting guys lit up cigarettes and weed and in a minute my room was thickened with smoke as they locked the windows and door to suppress the bitter cries she let out. It was a horrifying experience for a young undergrad like me. We were helpless, we could not do anything to stop them especially as they had guns and machetes. She begged even harder as we heard her say repeatedly "please don't cum inside me I beg you in the name of God!!". At a point, her immediate younger sister stood up to push the rapist off but the deafening slap that landed on her face sent her crashing hard to the floor and she never stood again.

Two other guys will take their turns on her and it was then the man in me passed out. All of this time, our security man named Zion was also pinned down in my room, his guitar smashed on his head and wounded him. He was bleeding from a deep cut to his head. It was a devastating moment of my student life. When the two other guys had finished with the girl, they made for her younger sister, but the leader of the gang told them to leave and that they have other places to go. That was how they spared her.

The poor girl was too dazed to walk. She wept bitterly until the police arrived and started shooting sporadically until one of the bullets hit the burglary door of my room. I was laying inside the flower bed there as we thought they had come back not knowing it was the police. I laid still and motionless inside the flower bed hoping not to be found out at that moment. A millipede had crawled on my side and I gave a body shake to scare it off, that was when the police fired the 2nd shot to the movement he spotted in the dark corner of the building, I heard him say "I don kill one!!!" It was one of our fellow occupants of the house, a medical student we called Doctor Casey who noticed that they were police man and screamed from the backyard. "Officers, stop shooting, the robbers have left oh, stop shooting please!!!".

The idiot of a police man then ordered that he put his hands in the air and walk out of the dark backyard, he obeyed and all of us started rushing out to be counted. I was too frightened to stand up by that shot which missed me, they pointed a torch at me and saw me lying there just sobbing and soaked in tears of what I still cannot describe till this day.

My parents would not let that goodnews of my survival rest with them alone. The next Sunday, I gave a resounding testimony in church. I still have the photos in the family Album till this day as Pastor Israel stood bewildered in the photo. There was feasting in my house afterwards as my mother prepared her signatory "Obhon Oyele(Ogbolor soup in Esan language and Pounded Yam) to the happiness of us and guests who came to celebrate with the Dr Peter Ikhayere Okpere Family that Sunday.

When I finally summoned the courage to return to my hostel again, news filtered in that Elohor(her real name) had committed suicide in Warri. I remember seeing a mini truck drive in one Saturday morning to evacuate her properties from her tastefully furnished room. It would be the end of a promising young girl whose smile then could stop the rains and birth sunshine. I still miss her till this day. She was a good and kind hearted lady to everyone of us in that hostel. She also never segregated anyone despite being born into enormous wealth.

.....Dairy of an Undergraduate me way back as a 200Level Banking and Finance student of University of Benin. The sad year was 2004.

Good morning!!!!

#SunofTruth.

**This piece brings sadness to my heart but it is a story I have to tell many times now and in time to come**.


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