They tied the blind folded thieves that were about to be executed. Then I was signaled to come and pray for them before the firing squad would execute them. I walked to the first man and said “in your final hour of life, I beg you my friend to accept God so that as you leave this temporal world, you would live eternally with the father in heaven”. He raised his head, looked at me, hissed and bowed his head. I prayed for him and moved to the second man.
After I finished praying for them, I moved aside, still not able to look then I heard 6 gun shots; 2 bullets for each man. I tried to hide the tears forming in my eyes but the memory kept flooding in. less than a year ago I was sentenced to death like these men. That I am alive today is because God has plans for me.
As an orphan I had always been a street boy who lived the ghetto life to the fullest. I think it started one night when we snatched a woman’s bag and after sharing the money, kunle our leader took the blackberry phone and began to use. After a few weeks the woman was able to trace and apprehend Kunle. He started taking the police to our homes and hide out so most of us that were not caught fled the town and that was how I relocated to Ibadan.
I was used to the hard street life, so it was not hard for me to find and blend into another group only that these people were more hardened than my previous group. In my first robbery with them, I was given an axe and told to stay outside. After about 30 minutes, a man ran out of the building shouting “thief! Thief!” and I didn’t hesitate to land the weight of the axe on his head.
After the operation I was fully welcomed into the brotherhood as they were impressed with my action. I followed the gang to many operation and the group and we did not only rob homes but also raided travellers on high ways.
I remember one of our bloody operations where we dressed in military uniforms and waved down on a luxurious bus at night. When the driver came close and noticed we were robbers, he mad to reverse so we opened fire on them and killed over 16people in the bus and looted them.
Not every operation went smooth of course. There was a time we got information about a man travelling to Kano with about N2.5million. We waited for him on the route he would take as we knew his full description but never knew he was travelling with protection because as we stopped his car, a man opened fire on us and killed 3 of our gang members as we fled.
We went for many operations, too numerous to list and I don’t know which of them made the state police furious that one Saturday morning while we were still sleeping, a joint task force surrounded and arrested all of us.
I was remanded in prison for 6years as an inmate awaiting trial and when judgment finally came I was quite shocked when I was sentenced to death.
Those 6years in prison I had become a changed man. I begged God to forgive me and give me a second chance. Before I joined my street gag I was a welder and I promised God to go back to welding if he delivered me from death yet I was sentenced.
Just like the man I prayed for I and 7 others were tied to a tree and shot. To me, I was dead because I felt the pain of the bullet before I blacked out. But I was told that when they took our body to the hospital so medical students could use our body to practice, it was discovered that I was not yet dead so they administered treatment on me till I became well.
I was still on the hospital bed when a priest came to me and said “your life was spared so that you would bring more people into God’s kingdom. When you recover, you have to come with me so you will do the will of God”. I eagerly agreed. It was no coincidence that I was still alive; it truly was for a purpose.
3months ago I was ordained a priest and my spirituality continue to grow. God has given me a second chance, and I will use it only to his glory.