Stella Dimoko Doctor Freaks Journal - The Railway In The Middle Of Nowhere


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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Doctor Freaks Journal - The Railway In The Middle Of Nowhere

Twenty Three years ago, I commenced my one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in the "cities" of Jimeta-Yola and Jada, Adamawa State, but I was later redeployed to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on "health grounds."

As God would have it, my brother -XYZ did all he could to get me into a multinational oil company to complete my Primary Assignment. 

The industrial area of that particular company was(is) located around Rumumasi and I resided at Woji. As a youth corps member, I was entitled to being commuted to and fro my work station in the staff bus, but for strange reasons, I never bothered to enjoy any of those free rides. I preferred to "bike" to and fro work and I think it cost me less than Forty Naira (N40) per day at the time, after all, my NYSC "allawy" (slang for allowance) was N1,167 and later increased to N1,600 four (4) months into the programme.

 My employer paid me N9,000 extra per month, so I was a big boy of sort! 

I forgot to state that the company extended its club's membership to corpers at the time. I did not bother to go for swimming test. I did not bother to register for the staff bus. Guess what, I got the club pass under two (2) days! 

As a matter of practice, I never missed the club! 

The company's club became "our" (my friends and I) meeting spot and that came with its attendant cost too. What that meant was that most of us ran out of cash before the end of the month since the company only paid us lump sums at the beginning of and after the programme. 

In no time I became broke to the extent that from the 21st day of the month I was already trekking from Rumumasi to Artillery Junction where I would take a bike home or take a bike to Artillery and walk home from there. 

During one of my trekking expeditions, I discovered a short cut and it was not as exposed as my usual route where familiar faces could see me trekking vigorously and sweating it out under the hot sun.

 I knew there was a railway some 50 metres away from the house and I used to see humans trekking in that direction towards Rumumasi or even Trans Amadi in that direction, so like The Maggi (the only difference was that there was no Birth and no star in the East) I set out on that eventful journey which practice later became the norm.

 I commenced the journey from the company's Bus Stop, walked down to Trans Amadi Junction and slid a little to my right off the road and found myself in a mechanic village and before you know it I was in the bush alone, all by myself and that was how I started tracing the railway marks until I got to the middle of the road when I noticed a deep river but luckily enough, both ends were linked by the rail bridge!

 Interestingly, the sides of the bridge were not guarded because the bridge was not built for humans but trains. The question on my mind then was if one should fall from this bridge, will he be able to maintain and sustain an action against the Nigerian Railway Company? The answer to my question came four (4) years later when I was a 300 Level Law student. I learnt that what I was doing belonged to the realm of "volenti non fit injuria" known as "O-Y-O" in the local parlance.

That path soon became the norm and it was fun until one hot afternoon when I was trekking home "jejely" and the most expected happened. Lo and behold, t..

The real owner of the track appeared!

 It did not honk its horn (trumpet) on time because it was not approaching a dwelling house but I could feel the vibration from a distance. Even though it was not that pretty close but I was in the middle of the bridge. I was confused initially, should I run ahead, run back or jump into the river? Eventually, I decided to follow my instincts by tip-toeing back, remember the bridge is not guarded?

 Luckily for me, I was able to make it to the other end before the arrival of the coach, in one piece. On getting to the other end, I did not even stand nearby to watch, I went to hide in the bush, who knows whether the Railway Police would even arrest me. The moment the last coach disappeared I came out of hiding, stood still and stared with fascination. If you lived in Woji at the time, the mention of the word -trains would evoke "pleasant" memories of the good, the bad and the ugly.

That was how I survived that accident.

 I never shared the experience with anyone and never desisted from the act the few times I experienced cash crunch until one Saturday morning when I decided to take a walk down the railway with my brother until we both got to the bridge and he could not go further, for obvious reasons. It was at this point I opened up to him that that was actually my route! 

He paused for a moment agape at the startling revelation. He quietly begged me never to embark on such a suicidal expedition any more. It did not end there, on getting home, he took me round and showed me at least three (3) spots where he used to save money in case of eventualities and gave me authority to "borrow" whenever I was broke and admonished me to always endeavour to pay back. 

I think I complied once or twice and the agreement was more honoured in the breach than in the observance. After all, he is a big brother, my big brother!

Looking back now, I can only give thanks and laugh at myself. "If to say that train meet me on top that bridge en, I for don kpeme oh!" I never knew trains were that sexy until I travelled by rail (Underground and Platform) in Europe.

Its Kunle!


  1. Thank you for always deliverying

  2. I remember the day my colleague took me through that path, there was crazy traffic and he told me there's a shortcut to Woji naso I begin trek with am not knowing he has never passed there. When we got to the river and I saw the rail my heart skipped and it was already late to go back. Naso we begun they pass, I kept reciting psalm 24 and God helped me I didn't pee on mu body, so many thoughts raced through my mind. After we passed he had the mind to say let's take selfie...mtchew, the way I warned him never to try that kind of risk with me eeeh and I never did pass there ever again.

    1. So you sef follow that route! Hahahahaha

  3. You are a powerful orator. I imagined all you narrated as if I was thereπŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ πŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏ

  4. I really enjoyed this piece. Life adventures.

  5. We have one like this in Enugu. Holy Ghost ogbete. The first time I used it as a student of CIC, it felt like die!


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