How The Navy Deformed Me

Series, Stories & Letters

How The Navy Deformed Me

 

My name is Emmanuel and this is my Nigerian Military Training School ordeal.

 

 

I grew up in a village where every young boy from  the age of 18 joined the force. I couldn’t escape it shortly after my 19th birthday.

 

My dad served in the military during the civil war; he was part of the few who actually survived the war.

 

The Army built a borehole for our community and had  electricity extending from town poles to the village. They were friendly allies and whenever they came to the village for short visits, they would get loud cheers and chants about victories of war from the villagers.

 

All I wanted for my life was to go to school, further my education but my parents had other plans. Dad was a member of the Officer’s Mess and getting me into the Army, was piece of cake. If 10 boys applied from the village, it was certain that they would get shortlisted.

 

My parent’s feared the exorbitant college fees. My mom urged me to enlist, stating that I could further my education even after joining the army.

 

I succumbed to family pressure at last and took forms for the Army and the Navy.

 

As expected, my name was shortlisted in the Army and the Navy.I chose the Navy over the Army so as to be the first Naval Personnel in the village.

 

We held training at  NNBTS ,  and when it came to being gallant, strong and following orders, I was one to trust.

 

Later, we were moved to Depot to train with the soldiers.

 

Amidst all the sleepless nights, and the physical training, I was strong, not until initiation night.

 

We were pinning our heads to the ground when one instructor came around and randomly flogged everyone in turns. His wayward whip stung the side of my belly. I tried to let out a cry but felt a lump in my throat; no sound came. I was writhing in pain. I tried to maintain my position but after a few seconds, I fell to the ground like a log of wood.

He gave me another jab to keep me down and I could hear his muffled voice shouting “Trainee, stand up!”. I tried to stand but I couldn’t.

 

He dragged me out of the line, my belly scratching and my limbs threatening to jump out of their sockets. He stopped dragging when he noticed I was no longer struggling. Life threatened to leave me.

 

I was later told that other instructors had gathered and had rushed me to the Training school clinic where I regained consciousness the following day.

 

“You passed out for some few hours”,  the nurse on duty said.

 

I felt a sharp pain in the left side of my stomach as I stretched to take my meals. I groaned in pain and the doctor rushed in…

 

I spent  two weeks in the hospital and after numerous injections, I was discharged.

Our training lasted for 5 months with the Army and I thought we were done but the Navy had other plans. They took us back to our own training school in Portharcourt and we spent another three months. In total, it was 11 months of basic military training.

 

Even with my medical condition, I did train with the rest with no special treatment whatsoever.

 

I passed out in December 2013. I was posted to Lagos.

 

 

Three months later, I bought a bike as the distance from where I lived and worked was a long one.

 

It was as though I signed a communique with the devil. I had a fatal accident with the bike, escalating my injuries. I had a broken wrist and pains in joints I never knew existed.

 

I was admitted to the Naval hospital. The pains in my stomach decided to make a grand entrance. My stomach episodes started and I had no choice but to let them cut me open…

 

I was transferred to LUTH instead of being flown abroad. If I was an officer, perhaps, I wouldn’t lie on this bed, hoping I do not join the high death toll of people who enter the theatre and never come back. Perhaps, I would have been dignified with a trip abroad. Death was not an option. I was barely 20…Surely, too young to die?

 

I survived. Right now I am not in the best condition to perform any military duties as my wrist is still very weak that I can barely hold a spoon.

 

Yet, I wear uniforms everyday and I go to work except on Tuesdays when I check into the hospital.

I am a deformed military man. I am not happy with my situation. My life is the definition of a sad ending. I don’t know what the future holds for me…For now, I will wear my uniform, collect my meager income and keep hoping…for what I do not know of.

 

Written by Anonymous

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