Amodu Bakare, a 70-year-old farmer and vigilante from Itasa, Iwajowa Local Government Area of Oyo State, lost his hands following an unprovoked attack by suspected Fulani bandits, who descended on him with axe and matchete.
From his hospital bed, Bakare tells OLUFEMI OLANIYI about his close shave with death
How old are you and what do you do for a living?
My name is Amodu Bakare. I am 70 years old and I work as a vigilante with the Vigilante Group of Nigeria. I am also a farmer, I grow crops on subsistence level.
When were you attacked?
It happened on March 13. I came home on the Friday preceding that and I was going back to where I was working when I was attacked.
Who attacked you and how did it happen?
I was riding on a motorcycle on my way back to where I work as a vigilante when I saw two Fulani men at Oyan river. They parked their motorcycle there and I just moved on because they did not stop me or ask me for anything.
After passing the river, I saw that they started their motorcycle and started coming behind me. They were speeding and I saw that the speed was high so I gave way for them to pass but instead of overtaking me, they slowed down and started attacking me with an axe and cutlass. I hung my locally-made gun on my shoulder. Before I could jump off the motorcycle one of my hand had already been chopped off. I saw it on the ground. It was like a dream.
The two of them continue to cut me with their cutlass and axe when they saw that I wanted to remove the gun with the other hand. They removed the gun from me and fled. The other hand was almost cut off; just a piece of flesh was suspending if from also falling off. I screamed but there was no help and nobody was coming.
Do you think their aim of attacking you was to snatch your gun?
Yes, that is what it means. The moment they snatched the gun from me, they fled.
Was there a crisis between people in your community and Fulani people before that time?
There was nothing like that. I never had any altercation with any of them.
How were you rescued?
I started trekking towards the nearest village and hoping to come across anybody that could help me. I became weak at a point and slept off by the roadside. I later woke up and started going until I got to a village. I went there and begged them to save my life. I told them that armed robbers attacked me on the road. Those villagers went and reported to the vigilante people in the town and those ones came and met me where I was lying down helplessly and took me to Gbedu ( Ibudo Musa). From there there, they used a vehicle to bring me to the clinic at Iwere Ile.
How long did you trek before you got to the nearest village?
I trekked about three kilometres before I got to the village but this hospital should be about 25 kilometres from the point where I was attacked.
Where is the part of your hand that was cut off at the scene of the attack?
My people later went back to the place and combed everywhere but they did not find it.
How do you eat or take your bath now with your hands gone?
They have rendered me useless. I cannot do anything for myself again. Somebody has to put food in my mouth. I cannot do anything for myself and you can imagine that. I cannot remove my shorts except somebody helps me.
I am a farmer and a vigilante but which of the jobs can I do without hands? I need the government and Nigerians to help me. I was told that I will be able to do some things for myself if I can buy prostheses (artificial hands) but I can’t afford them.
I cannot do any work to raise money for that because I am spending a lot to treat myself. I need help. I never knew I would become handicapped at this stage of my life. I have been active and going about working and feeding myself but this happened suddenly. I’m still stunned and I am praying that I will wake up from this bad dream.
When are you going to be discharged from the hospital?
I have not been given any date yet. I have a wife and children and I cannot do anything. The situation in the country is harsh even for people who are working so how much more for for somebody who will have to depend on others to do everything?
I need the artificial hand so that I won’t be totally useless for the rest of my life.
Was the case reported to the police?
Yes. I was taken to the police station straight before I was brought to the hospital. I lost so much blood that day and it was God that made me to survive the attack. I have been given six pints of blood
Who is paying your hospital bills?
My children are trying. They have paid part of the bills but we still owe balance that we are yet to pay and I am still in the hospital receiving treatment.