It was September 11th 2001, already at a lecture room at 8am looking forward to the day, when all of a suddenly the lecture was interrupted by the school admin to inform us of the attacks that just happened in NYC World Trade Centre. At that moment no one realised the extent of the damage and lots of speculations went on until we heard shortly after that WTC had collapsed. As a Nigerian who grew up in a small town where senseless tribal killings was the norm, actually at this time my hometown was in the middle of yet another killing spree in the name of land ownership titles – I was devastated. The picture in my mind was terrifying that I could not say out loud, at a point I thought it was my rival town that followed me all the way from Nigeria.
For as long as I live, I will remember America as a country that put me at ease when I was most vulnerable. We all know what the aftermath of 9/11 was. Throughout out the day on that fateful day, I was glued to the big Dell monitor staring and absorbing all the news about the horrific incidence that happened earlier in the day. What I was most intrigued by was how united everyone was, the attacks happened in NY and DC area and I was in WA – everyone reacted in unity, news being circulated, identities of the victims being updated. I remember that initially the death toll was put to over 5000 but later through enormous hard work of relentless volunteers determined to contribute to helping their country through difficult time, the number was concluded to be about 3000 victims including Godwin Ajala, the only Nigerian. Ajala, like many Nigerians in diaspora was working as a guard at the WTC while completing his Law degree.
RIP Godwin Ajala and to all the victims of September 11. And to the family and friends of all the victims, hope you continue to find comfort to deal with your loss knowing the world will always remember this day.
I wrote this piece in early August when I was comparing my government reaction towards Boko Haram to other major terrorist attacks in recent years such as WTC September 11 and July 7 2005 bomb attacks. Extended version Here