A family’s miracle escape
‘It was God’s protection that saved us’
It was a routine journey for Pius Ogbu Sunday. It was a trip he made almost every weekend, driving from Abuja, where he worked during the week to his family home in Minna.
This time he was driving back his wife and children who had come to visit for the holidays.
The 44-year-old father of three was at the wheel with his wife Doris, 43, in the front passenger seat.
His children Eudora, 13, Joshua, nine and Eliora, five, were on the back seat listening intently to their dad's tales of his trip to the Qua Iboe Church Leprosy Hospital, in Akwa Ibom State.
“We had just started to pray which we often do during the two and a half hour drive. I had just finished telling them how ‘God will keep his side of the bargain if we follow in his footsteps’.”
They were about 70 kilometres from Minna. The sun had gone down and the sky had begun to darken a little earlier than usual. The Sundays' Toyota 4x4 was behind a line of three vehicles all heading in the same direction.
“Suddenly I heard gun shots and thought 'it’s a robbery'. I noticed the vehicles in front had stopped, and attempted to make a quick turnaround. Within seconds men with machine guns and machetes were beside our car pulling at the doors – it was an ambush!”
“I heard them shouting to unlock the door. I felt shock, then fright and panic. In my confused state I heard a voice within me say ‘keep moving’. I knew it was a divine command and felt a new surge of boldness. I slammed my feet on the accelerator launching the vehicle forward.”
Operations manager for The Leprosy Mission Nigeria, Pius drove on squeezing through any opening between the cars ahead. As he approached the front he saw an armed man standing with his gun poised.
“I asked my wife and children to get down to the floor, I lowered myself to the steering level, just low enough to see, and drove straight ahead. The gunman opened fire as I drove straight towards him and jumped out of the way. I heard shots from the right hand side and from behind. I could hear my wife saying ‘Jesus’, ‘Jesus’, ‘Jesus’.”
When they were at a safe distance Pius called to his wife and children to ask if they were unharmed.
“My wife got up to check on the children as I called to each of them asking if they were hurt. They were not hurt but totally traumatised.”
At the next police checkpoint Pius slowed down and told officers about the ambush but carried on, not daring to stop.
“When we got into Minna, I stopped the car to check for damage: we figured the car would be riddled with bullet holes – but there was not a scratch. We could not believe our eyes.
“All we could do was thank God for shielding us with his divine power. We just kept saying ‘thank you Jesus’, ‘thank you God’. I turned to my children and reminded them of what I had said earlier – God was with us.
“It was a traumatic experience but as a family we had also experienced a miracle. And that will be our lasting memory. Often now when we sit round the table we remind ourselves of how God protected us that day.
“Whenever I look back on that night I have no doubt in my mind that it was God’s protection that saved us. And I am reminded of Isaiah 43:2 - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. “
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