When men were boys – Chapter 4: A bond a war could not break

 

The connection between ex-boys has always been and will forever remain strong. From Calabar to Sokoto, Lagos to Maiduguri it exhibits the bond of brotherhood, the spirit of camaraderie that transcends ethnicity and overlooks religious differences.

It declares an Ade the kin of an Ibrahim and a Chukwuma, their sibling.

It speaks for an Effiom when he finds himself in any part of the world and is welcomed with open arms by an Omeiza.

It makes a Nenponmini feel at home in presence of an Oghenekaro, who he is just meeting for the first time in his life and who is 40 years his senior.

It encourages a Mustapha to bring out his prayer mat to observe his Isha’a prayers in the home of a Pastor Dalaky.

It causes an Aisosa to weep over the demise of a Jaama, a young man he never met.

This bond can only be forged within the walls of the Nigerian Military School, Zaria. The story of two ex-boys during the Nigerian civil war reinforces this conviction.

During the war, Mwolima Anjikwi (NMS 64 Set) was among a group of federal (Nigerian) troops sent on a reconnaissance mission in a Saladin AFV. Unfortunately, the Saladin AFV got stuck in the mud in a location close to Biafran territory and before they could push the Saladin AFV away from the mud, the Biafran troops appeared and captured the federal troops. They were taken to a location inside Biafra and were to be summarily executed.

As they were being led to face the barrel of the gun, Mwolima Anjikwi saw a face he thought looked familiar. He strained his eyes to get a better look at the increasingly familiar face; alas it was his classmate in the Nigerian Military School, Chimah Udonsi (NMS 64 Set) who was now a Biafran Officer.

Before he could breathe a sigh of relief, his heart sank, his NMS classmate had looked at him and turned away without a flash of recognition. The Biafran Officer, Ex-boy Chimah Udonsi then requested to personally execute Mwolima Anjikwi, a request that was granted. Mwolima’s heart sank further.

As they got into the deeper recesses of the bush, Chimah Udonsi shouted “268, Mwolima Anjikwi”, he immediately hugged his brother and after exchanging pleasantries, he showed him a path to follow so as to link up with the federal troops. His brother had saved him.

As Mwolina Anjiwki moved through the bush path, he saw the corpses of his crew mates.

The ex-boys later meet in a bank after so many decades.

Major Mwolima Anjikwi (rtd) recently passed on to glory after a prolonged illness. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

This remarkable story was shared by Exboy Izaddin Chafe on the the Facebook group The Transmutation of a Boy Soldier!

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