The soldier clutched his book with both hands. He shouted his name, rank and Nigerian Army number to no-one in particular. He stood up straight and ended every reply with a bark of "sah" (sir).
But his eyes were fixed to a slowly cranking ceiling fan in the hospital ward -- the thousand yard stare of someone who had seen too much and didn't want to remember.
Instead, he saw the inside of beer bottles, the smoke of cannabis joints, then the drug dependency ward of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Maiduguri.
Nurses said he was violent and abusive when he was admitted, but after a week he calmed down.
"In times of war, when we are fighting war, it's very good for a man to be a man, to boast that he is a man, to fight the enemy," he said, trying to explain his state of mind.
"But unfortunately due to the ways of the enemies that come to you or due to the ways you meet the enemy, or due to the way you kill him, (or) you deal with the command..."
His voice trailed off and he apologised. "At times that's how we fell into (a) battle that we don't expect in our life... ."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Eylül 2016, 09:44