My Terrifying Encounter with a Mamba Snake and Some Herds of Cattle
© Copyright 2022 by Ikyegeve Denen
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
On that faithful day in the wee hours of the morning, I received a call from my good friend Goodluck Jonathan, Jonathan was a friend I met at a church program during my mandatory one year youth service to my father land, we served at different place of primary assignment while I served at the ministry of animal health and fisheries, he on the other hand served at the Nigerian army farms, we were all veterinary doctors working in that state, we developed likeness for each other because we had a lot in common as we were all talented gospel singers and also good footballers, as months went by we became much closer till the end of our service year. After the end of our service year, Jonathan returned back to his home state Adamawa state while I went back to Taraba. But as faith would have it Jonathan didnít spend much time in his home state before he got a job with the Nigerian quarantine agency as a veterinary officer and was posted to Sokoto state were he served with me. On the other hand when I returned back to Benue state I set up my private clinic and business was picking up gradually.
Dr Jonathan was working in sokoto when the federal government a signed a partnership agreement with the food and agricultural organization of the united nations on the yearly annual vaccination against some zoonotic diseases such as CBPP and PPR and others, but at the moment sokoto state was having a short fall of veterinarians both at the state and federal levels due to the fact that some had died while others had retired therefore came the need to engage the services of private veterinarians on contract basis for the two months job. When Dr Jonathan intimated me about the project and the need for me to come over to sokoto state for two months for the work I obliged him immediately and he requested that I should start getting ready for my trip.
On the 22nd of febuary I boarded a vehicle from Makurdi enroute kaduna before boarding another vehicle to sokoto state and my journey was eventful and I finally arrived sokoto at around 12 midnight and jonathan and girl friend were at the park to welcome me and drive me to a one star hotel which I told them to pay up front before my arrival, We arrived the hotel and there assisted me to check in before their departure and there said there will check on me much later in the day. I immediately entered the bathroom and took my shower and went straight to bed because I was very exhausted due to the long journey I had embarked upon, in the wee hours of that morning something warm was moving across my body and it felt cool so I didnít even try to open my eyes because I was very weak and the sensation around my back was sweet as if there was a soft hand of a beautiful female caressing my upper and lower limbs intermittently and it was quite pleasurable, but since this movement will not stop, I opened my left eye to see who this was and lo and behold I sprang out of bed with the all my strength in palpable fear as I saw a long snake with black and white stripes heading towards the window which was half open and before I could do anything the snake had already left the room through that window, my heart raced and my heart was already in my mouth, I was very tensed and looked all over my body if I had been bitten by mistake but there was no sign, I could not stay in the room anymore and I went over to the receptionist to report what had happened and the two men started laughing and I was confused and angry at the same time because instead of this grown up men to sympathize and empathize with men there preferred to laugh at me, it was at this junction that one of the men with long beads opened his mouth and said that snake is harmless and there are more than one of them within that community and the indigienes usually play with them, he also told me that those snakes donít bite and there can sleep with you on your bed till the next day and what there are doing is protecting you from any attack, at this point I heaved a sigh of relief but I was not comfortable with snakes because I didnít like them.
At about noon Dr jonathan and his cousin came to check on me at the hotel and I narrated my experience with them and there also re echoed the same phrase that those snakes are harmless species but in any case I requested that I want to check out of that hotel and wish to go and lodge at another hotel. On the fifth day of my stay Dr Jonathan informed me that the exercise will start in earnest that day and that I have been posted to wuno, shagari and Gada local government wit with my team of 12 professionals. Me and my head team headed straight to wuno for the exercise and when we arrive wuno local government we were received by the chairman of the local council together with the traditional ruler of wuno, we then proceeded to wuno field for commencement of vaccination, the progamme was a success for the 1 month we spent at wuno local government council, our next point of call was shagari local council the home of carmels, we arrived shagari late in the evening and rested till the next day for commencement of the program, on the day we were about to start, some Fulani and nigeriens citizens brought some herds of cattle from niger republic and pleaded that there should be attended to first, when I was about to grab one of the tails of a cow so that I could administer the vaccine it turned around and hit the man restraning it with its horn on his head and he was injured instantly, I fell to the ground and it trampled on me too, other members of the team were not spared as this set of cattle were very vicious and the hit many people with their horns and injured people too, we decided to suspend all vaccination for that local government gave a direct order that any one that wanted his animals to be vaccinated should first of all restrain them before will will come near them to avoid further injuries and hazards that come with our profession.
From that point on wards the exercise when on smoothly and we were all treated for all the injuries we sustained and only one person serious injury from the horn of a cow so he was excused for one week so that he can recover, we finished the exercise in shagari after two months and headed straight to Gada emirate council for the final phase of the program, because this emirate was a border town to another country niger republic especially the Tahour province, many herders from Niger republic were informed and there also came in large numbers, we had up to 30000 cattle, sheep and goats to attend to and we put in more hours late into the night for us to finish in 6 weeks. On the last day when we were about rounding up the exercise at the emirate one vicious cattle broke loose from were it was tied and started chasing everyone, many people went and climbed nearby trees while some people hid in one warehouse, many people fell down more than once during the flight, I was hit by a woman who was shouting and we fell together on each other but the cow seems not to be concerned about those on the ground but with those running so we held ourselves together on the bare ground before this animal was finally arrested and brought back to were it was previously held.