“You Ghana?” The male voice shouted from the half open door of my cell.
He had knocked before unlocking it, it was the next morning.
“No, Nigeria” I said.
He kept his gaze at me and repeated, “Nigeria. Nigeria. Nigeria. Follow me”.
He took me to a large office where Nina was seated already.
“What is your name” one of the men who were seated behind a large desk asked me.
“Maria” I lied.
I felt it was very good to lie since we had no identification documents with us.
“When did you come to Libya?” A different man asked me.
He was holding a paper and a pen and was ready to write whatever i was going to say.
Rather than answering his question, i looked at Nina.
I wanted to know what Nina already told them.
“When did you tell them we came here?” i asked Nina in Edo language.
“Don’t talk to her again unless i gave you the permission” The man said at the same time Nina answered me.
“Yesterday. From Nigeria” Nina had Said. She spoke in Edo Language too.
The man asked me the same question again but i kept quiet.
“Your friend said she came yesterday. Did you come with her?” He asked.
I nodded and remained quiet.
“Where are you people going?” he asked.
I looked at Nina again.
“If you don’t answer me, you will go to Prison” He said.
The look on his face told me that he meant every word he said.
“I don’t know” I said.
“Do you know where you are Maria?” He continued.
“Where are you?”
I told him it was Libya.
He nodded and asked what we came to do in Libya and where we were going.
He kept repeating his questions in different ways until i told him we were going to Italy.
He wanted to know who brought us into Libya and were the person lived.
I needed nobody to tell me that it was dangerous to tell them about the people who crossed us into Libya.
However, i ended up telling them that we came through the desert with pickup jeep and that nobody brought us in.
After the interrogations, they took us both outside and asked us to enter the same truck that brought us there the night before.
We sat at the back of the truck for over two hours until they got to a city called Misrata.
The facility they stopped looked like prison from the outside and i was right. It was a prison yard.
We were taken to another office where we were processed.
Nina and I were taken to one small room by a woman who told us we were to stay there.
A set of light bed sheet was given to each of us together with a towel.
“You put them down and follow me” The lady had said.
We did as she said.
She took us to a canteen where she told us to chose what we wanted to eat.
We took snacks and followed her as she had said.
“This is where you come to eat lunch every mid day” She said as she pointed to an open hall.
At the far end of the large fence, We saw people playing every kind of sports; football, volleyball etc.
Without being told, we knew half of them were Nigerians. Libyans were generally light skinned. But the people playing outside were mostly Blacks. It was very easy to know that a lot of people had suffered the same fate as Nina and I.
Seeing those men and women playing outside that morning was the only encouragement we had as we quietly settled down in a Libyan Prison.
When we followed the lady back to an office, she gave us identical clothes which resembled the colours we had seen people wearing outside.
“You say thank you when i give you something” She had said.
She had just given us prison clothes and expected us to thank Her.
I didn’t know how things worked in that part of the World but i knew that i was not supposed to thank anybody who was throwing me into a prison facility.
After showing us some other things, she made us enter the room and she locked us from outside.
Nina broke down in tears as soon as she left.
“How did i end up here?” She had asked amidst tears.
It was the same question that had been worrying me all along.
“How did i came to Libya and what did i came there to do”
First, i had always thought that people went to Italy with Aeroplanes but the moment we were smuggled into Benin Republic, i had a feeling something was wrong.
It was like a dream as we sat on our tiny bed and shed tears.
Two naive teenage girls in a non familiar territory.
“What are we going to do?” Nina had said when she stopped crying.
I looked at her surprisingly. Why did she ask me that question?
We were both in the same trouble and she had the gut to ask me what we would do.
But i had to say something. I needed to make her feel a little comfortable. She could cry herself to death or sickness and it would be more difficult for me to face the situation we found ourselves alone.
“We will tell them to send us back to Nigeria” I said.
I didn’t know how i came up with that statement but i said it anyway.
The way things were done with us, i knew it wasn’t going to be easy to send us back to Nigeria.
Nigeria and Libya had no borders.
We were supposed to cross Niger Republic before getting to Nigeria.
It meant that they could be issues with the Niger authorities.
As a result of that, it was likely that we were going to spend a long time in a Libyan Prison.
We were still in that confusion and heat ridden room when a bell rang.
The same woman who locked us up came and unlocked the metal door.
“Time for food” She announced.
We stood up and followed her.
“You haven’t put on your new clothes” She said and stood on our way.
The look on her face suggested that she wanted us to change it immediately.
We returned to the inside and changed our clothes while she watched.
Ten minutes later, we were seated inside the hall where two long tables were arranged in the middle while separate chairs lined up beside them.
Another long hall was standing parallel to the one we were brought; it belonged to the men.
We sat down and waited for our food.
With us inside the hall were numerous Nigerians who were arrested for different crimes.
Right there, i realised that we had no Country. We were nothing.