Musa 9ja Spy – IV

““Tonight, you party with us, and at daylight, let God will decide your fate! – live or die”. 

Read prior episodes (I-III) here!

“Abuja at Night”, by Jeff Attaway


That night at Katele’s house, he tells me goat farming is not good for a young man, and slowly probes my background. I tell him of my roots in an idyllic and boring village, Asonda, my wild, troublesome wife, and the tragic death of my parents. 

“Musa, in one month of moving here, you have caught my attention. Do you know how long it takes young men to win my trust?” 

I listen and nod quietly, with a shocked expression. My gaze tilts to the left and there’s an unremarkable black-and-white painting of a calm shepherd, grasping a stick in his hand with cattle in the backdrop. 

“Everything will be as God wills, Katele. I can only submit. Honest work tending goats is His place for me”. 

Katele laughs loudly, and the other guests pause from feasting to look at us. 

“Look at me!”, he demands. 

I see a man with a charismatic and forceful demeanor. 

“Tonight, you party with us, and at daylight, let God will decide your fate, pious man!”. 

His foreboding words raise my hackles, but I look around in discomfort, playing the part of a confused shepherd. These people have plans for me that are not good. I may need to get away from here, but if I run prematurely, the mission will fail. 


Aaliyah paces in her Abuja apartment at 2am, nervous. Musa has been silent all night. Is he okay? Will he re-emerge grandly with deep intel on where the hostages are? Or is he in danger? She walks out to her balcony and stares into Abuja’s night from the 35th floor. Scattered pockets of light glint, in a sea of darkness. Most of the city is without electricity now. It would be perfect for skygazing, but it is a stark, cloudless sky. Aaliyah returns to her bed at some point, and tries to fall asleep.

There’s a knife to Aaliyah’s throat and it is cold. Her chest is pounding. She sobs quietly 

“Don’t kill me! Take anything. Please! Ayaaaaa!” , and out of sight her hands reach slowly for a blunt object, anything to fend off her attacker. 

“Look up!” a voice screams at her. “We will kill you and your evil friend tonight”. 

As she raises her head slowly, her eyes snap open and she gasps. Her throat is cold, but there’s no knife and no one else in the room. Musa... By daylight, she reaches a decision.


Well last night was interesting. No one has tried to torture or kill me yet, and it’s now 8am. “God will decide your fate….” I love God as much as any Nigerian, but I don’t like potential terrorists talking about my fate and God in one sentence. Very dodgy. They kept a close watch on the house all night. I couldn’t escape if I wanted to. 

Katele calls for you” they say, and four men escort me to a secluded courtyard in the house. When I reach there, there’s a tall man in a white kaftan holding a blue book. The holy book. The courtyard is filled with Katele’s guests but none of them are laughing now. As soon as we see Katele, he gestures to the men around me, and they gently grab my hands, and tie them together. We are in front of the man in the white kaftan. 

“Do not be afraid Musa. Do you believe in God? “

“I do! What is the meaning of this? . Is this how you treat- “ I scream and they gag me midway

“Young man, the holy book says in Proverbs. We throw dice but God decides how they fall. Everyone here is serving God o and he will tell us whether you are worthy to join us, or an infidel” 

What?! They’ll decide whether to trust me by throwing dice? I, Musa will be executed through a dumb game by backwater terrorists!

The clergyman speaks with vigor “Musa, we will roll two pieces of dice, three times. Each round must have only even or odd numbers! Otherwise, God has rejected you and you must die!”. He shows me a pair of dice and throws them on the bare brown earth.

“The first roll is a pair of 5s, You have a bright future, Musa!”

Second roll. As the dice fall out of his hands, my life flashes before me. 2010. Benin. Rescued Efe from her father’s rivals. She kissed me in front of the press.The boss was furious. 2007. I caught a dirty cop smuggling subsidized fuel to border countries, and shot him in self-defence. 1998. My father was murdered in a land dispute with a politician. No one was prosecuted. The tall pastor looks at the ground and smiles at me, with happy cheers from the group. I don’t really hear them.

Third roll… 

Next episode, next week! Subscribe to the blog if you enjoyed this! Will be posting other content too!

2-3 more episodes to go!

Ethiopian Civil War & White Supremacy

Associated Press, Ethiopia

What’s the connection between a brewing civil war in Ethiopia and the resurgence of white supremacy in America?

In Ethiopia, a tribe with only 6% of the population ruled Ethiopia for decades at the expense of everyone else. A recent uprising changed that structure, and they lost power. Now the Tigray are in an armed face-off with Ethiopia’s central government.

White supremacists had a great run in America. Slavery. Jim Crow…. Until very recently, America’s laws explicitly enforced the racism they delight in and that racist legacy continues strongly in less obvious ways

So you have two dominant/powerful groups who are unwilling to surrender power. Asking privileged groups to voluntarily relinquish power out of the goodness of their hearts is not a persuasive argument. Racism and ethnic dominance is built in decades or centuries with underlying structures. Reformers must understand and deliberately undermine those structures to bring fairness.

Don’t ask the vicious powerful to be better. Ask why they are so powerful!

Voter suppression? Electoral college? Or as in Ethiopia, half the army’s forces and personnel are concentrated in the Tigray region?

P.S – Pray for peace in Ethiopia