IT is not everyone that has the opportunity of a second chance in life. In fact, only a few people had encounter with death and missed it by the whiskers. One of such is 26-year-old Patience Bitrus, who by divine intervention recently narrowly escaped from ritualists to tell her story, while a lady co-passenger was not that lucky, as she was butchered right in her presence. Her case is like that of he/she who runs away lives to tell his/her story another day.
The day was a Sunday and Patience never thought of what fate had in store for her. She was to visit her aunty at Kangare in Bauchi Local Government Area of Bauchi State, which is about 20 kilometres from Bauchi metropolis and chose to make the short trip after church service that day. Perhaps she had prayed for safety at church that day and God surely answered her prayers.
“It was on a Sunday after service at about 11a.m. My boyfriend, Sunday Noma, took me to the Central Market Motor Park in Bauchi. I was going to Kangare to meet my aunty. I waited beside the car, a black Opel Vectra, when a woman came on a motorcycle. They asked her of her destination and she told them she was going to Kangare.
“Five men were already seated at the back of the car. One of them came down and asked us to enter the car so that the car would take off. The other four men inside the car told us that they were travelling too. We then entered and the car left the park, heading for the Bauchi –Gombe road towards our destination,” Patience began her story.
Unknown to the two ladies, the men inside the Opel Vectra were ritualists on the lookout for preys to pounce on. According to Patience, on reaching Kangare, instead for the driver to stop for the passengers, he zoomed off to Bishi, a village also on the Bauchi-Gombe road.
“The driver kept driving until we passed Kangare and reached Bishi. While I was agitated, asking him why he did not stop for us at Kangare, where I told them at the park that I was going, one of the men dragged me forcefully. At that stage, I knew that we were in a big trouble and was afraid, as it was obvious that the men had captured the two of us,” she narrated.
According to her, the driver drove them into a bush near Bishi and left them with the four men they met in the car, adding that they were joined by another man and they were led through a bush path. The men, she stated, kept beating her and the other lady urging them to walk fast until they reached a spot in the bush where they were ordered to stop.
“We were directed to sit on a rock. This the two of us did and the men asked us to make our last call. I called my boyfriend and told him what had happened to me and he shouted and started crying, as I was crying too. They took our phones from us and collected all the money we had.”
Having spent some time in the bush with the ritualists not knowing what would happen to them, according to her, at about 1p.m., the ritualists started debating among themselves on which of the two victims would be the first to be killed. The result of their deliberation, Patience said, was that they came towards them and grabbed the other woman.
When the unfortunate lady was forcefully grabbed by the men, Patience said she (the other lady) was crying and shouting, calling on her (Patience) to come to her assistance and save her from the evil men. “What can I do in such a situation? I told her that we were in the hands of God at this point in time. I also told her that the fate befalling her was equally awaiting me too, though deep down within me, I knew I was not going to die like that.
“They put her on the ground, slaughtered her like they would slaughter an animal and started removing her eyes, her breasts and other parts of her body. I did not know where I was again and I urinated on my body. I started screaming that I would not die this way and one of the men started laughing,” she explained.
Asked how she eventually escaped from the ritualists’ den, the lady stated that her escape was made possible through a divine intervention, as the man asked to guard her slept off, which made it possible for her to run for dear life. Like Usain Bolt, the current fastest man in the world, Patience said she ran in the bush for about five hours, without even knowing where she was going, before she finally reached the main road.
“The man they asked to watch over me placed his head on the rock I was sitting and slept off. As soon as I saw that he was sleeping, I sprang up and ran as fast as my legs could carry me. I ran for over five hours, falling into muddy water until I came to the main road and saw a car driving by and I stopped the driver. After narrating my ordeal to him, he took me to the police station where I narrated what happened. I took policemen to the scene where the lady was killed but we could not see her dead body there. The people had carried her remains away.”
She stated that the whole episode was as if she was dreaming as she could not ever in her wildest imagination think that such a thing would ever happen to her. According to her, what made the whole ordeal traumatic was the fact that a co-passenger with who she was together a while before the incident was slaughtered like a fowl in her presence and had her body butchered.
“It is still like a dream to me. I have kept asking myself whether I have been dreaming or not. I had been hearing of ritual killings in the society but I never for a second thought I could almost be a victim of ritual killing one day. It was my heavenly father who saved me from these people. Indeed, I came close to death but thank God, it was not my portion.
“Honestly, the trauma of watching someone with whom I chatted some minutes before she was slaughtered just like a fowl and butchered still haunts me till now. I am still in shock,” she declared.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Hassan Mohammed Auyo, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), when contacted stated that he was unaware of the incident.
He, however, promised to find out about the case and get back to journalists as soon as he got the details.