“Kids, this is a game of hide and seek. Anybody that gets caught… dies.” – Teacher said

TRIGGER WARNING: This content contains graphic depiction of violence which some readers may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

GENRE: Psychological horror.

Omode, I am going to tell you a story. A story of a man who died and resurrected from a game. One simple game.

Boju Boju. It all happened on the night of 11th November 2008.

In the depths of Sambisa Forest… Just before anyone knew it to be the Boko Haram’s lions’ den. 12 little children stranded in the middle of the Sambisa Forest, all alone with no other than the game mastermind himself.

Mr Kanayo Agu.

Name like the famous villain actor Kanayo O. Kanayo.

“Alright, kids.” He smiled, before asking the most dreadful question, “Who wants to play a game?”

All 12 pupils looked at each other in fear, frightened of this impersonator in front of them. But why would they be afraid of the man that brought them here? Was he a kidnapper? A ritualist? A paedophile?


He was their Agriculture teacher. The man who wore red suit to class everyday.

About two months ago, Silver-Spoon International School had encountered their worst nightmare; Mr Kanayo Agu. The moment he stepped foot into the finest primary school in Maiduguri, it was all over. Yet, nobody could see it back then. How could they?

Mr Kanayo Agu was a simple man with a big smile, the students’ pet. He came in as an NYSC corper to do his primary assignment for the next one year.

The kids loved him. They called him Father Christmas because of his bright red suit, but little did they know that red was the color of danger.

And now, the red suit and big smile was standing in front of the 12 frightened children who had no clue what was about to happen next.

“Mr K, we want to go home.” They cried to him, “I want my phone. I want to call mummy.”

Mr Kanayo had seized all their expensive gadgets after the excursion at the animal farm was over. He punished them for making a mess at the animal farm, but little did they know this was his plan all along when he let the snakes’ cage open with no one watching.

And now, in the cold night, all the children were assembled before him in the forest. He had used the excuse of urinating in the bush to lure them into this creepy environment. He made sure every single child got down from that bus and walked into the middle of the forest with him. One by one, they peed before Mr Kanayo until he was satisfied that they were satisfied.

But the trick of it all was that he told no one to leave for the bus until the driver came to meet them. In the middle of the forest.

“When the driver comes, you will get your phones.” He assured them.

But, the driver was dead. Strangled by Mr Kanayo and hidden in the boot of the bus, never to be seen again.

“I am hungry.” Precious cried.

She was the fattest one in the class, in fact the entire school.

Don’t worry, sweetie. That hunger will disappear when I am through with you, Mr Kanayo thought to himself.

He smiled at her instead and offered some glucose powder in a small nylon from his trouser pocket.

All the kids gathered to have a taste of the glucose as well. Only Mariam, the tiny timid girl in the class, did not have a taste. And Mr Kanayo did not fail to take notice of that.

He could not force her to have a taste, or else the other kids would sense his dangerous plans.

“What kind of game do you want us to play?” Ifeoma, the class captain, finally asked Mr Kanayo after everyone had calmed down from the glucose powder.

A game of death, He thought.

He looked at her, “What kind of game do you want to play?”

“Rock paper scissors!” She jumped.

“No, I want Simon Says!” Another kid interjected.

“No, Bread and Butter!”

“Let’s play Nintendo DS! Do you have Nintendo DS in the forest?!” Hassan, the game addict, asked the stupid question.

“Yes Nintendo DS! Let’s play Pokémon!” Husseini, his fellow dumb twin brother jumped on his back and they both fell down in excitement.

Soon, there was an argument among the children on which of their ajebota games they should play first. The only one who did not partake in this argument was timid Mariam, who just stood at the corner watching them. Mr Kanayo did not fail to notice of her silence too.

He smiled as he watched all the kids engulf in this argument, knowing his plan might, just maybe, succeed.

“Shut up everybody! You idiots are just big stupid babies!” Amina pushed them away and insulted her classmates like they were a bunch of hopeless animals.

Well, they would be soon.

Amina was known to be the little hijabi witch and big bully of primary 4 Tiger. The one the kids in the classroom feared the most.

“Alright, kids. This is how we are going to do this.” Mr Kanayo came to stand in between the children.

His first plan? Make them play their own games.

He made a bet that only three people’s games would be played. Starting with Ifeoma’s Rock Paper Scissors game which will determine whose game would be chosen next.

After a few rounds of Rock Paper Scissors, there was a winner, and it was no other than light-skinned Zafar. Zafar was the ladies’ man. The yellow one all the girls had a crush on. The one that they all cheated for to win this game.

He chose Simon Says and acted as Simon. He only had three chances to play the game and it was no surprise to Mr Kanayo that Zafar ordered the other kids to do stupid dares like eat an earthworm from the ground, pull down their trouser and two enemies kiss on the lips.

All these orders secretly came from Amina the class bully, whom Zafar had a crush on. Mr Kanayo had noticed she was the one leading this game from behind, though the others didn’t notice.

All the kids Amina told Zafar to select obeyed the stupid dares, but somebody had to break the rule.

“I’m not kissing that frog face!” Biodun shouted at Zafar after being dared to kiss timid Mariam. Of course, Biodun was the most stubborn kid in class, he never listened to anyone talkless of playing a dare like this.

“Kiss her! Kiss her!” Amina started chanting in excitement and the other children joined, but soon, Biodun began pushing all of them out of anger.

Timid Mariam was very frightened and began taking little steps away from them but tall and lanky Lawal blocked her from behind.

Stubborn Biodun began punching some of the kids, causing a fight to break out between him and one other fat kid. Mr Kanayo did not stop them, he sat on a big rock with legs crossed and watched them in amusement like this was one of the regular WWE matches he watched on channel 128.

“Forget it, you babies! I will do it!” Lawal shouted from afar and forced Mariam around to kiss his dry lips, just like his dry crocodile skin.

Everyone gasped in shock at his action, though Zafar and Amina laughed like there was no tomorrow.

When Lawal pulled away from Mariam’s lips, she screamed, her voice coming out for the first time in history.

In shock, Lawal released her shoulders and Mariam ran away to cry somewhere. Nobody stopped her or ran after her. Where she was running to in this isolated forest, no one knew.

“Primary 4 Tiger!” Mr Kanayo clapped his hands to get their attention and walked over to them, “That is enough game for today.”

The children groaned, complaining that they were not ready to stop playing.

“If you still want to play, it cannot be your game anymore.” He paused and stared at them for a while, “It has to be my game from now on.”

The 11 children cheered in excitement, despite Mr Kanayo has not yet told them what kind of game they were going to play.

“Gather round.” He ordered them and they all gathered to form a circle in front of him. He beckoned for them to sit on the grass and they obeyed.

“Mr K, what game are we going to play?!” Fat Precious shouted in excitement.

“I want to take you back to my days. Are you ready?” He announced and began his first option, “Have you heard of the game of Omoba Fausa?”

They all looked at each other in confusion and shook their heads.

“What of Suwe?” He looked at them, “Ayo? Or… Boju Boju?”

They still shook their head. Not a single one of these Arewa ajebotas knew about any of these games.

He stopped on his tracks, wondering how he was going to begin his plans on these children. But then a thought popped up.

“How about Hide and Seek?!”

“Yes!” They all shouted in agreement. Finally.

Mr Kanayo smiled. It was time.


“So, listen up. We are going to play a game very similar to Hide and Seek.” Mr Kanayo announced while walking around with a red handkerchief he removed from his blazer pocket, “It is called Boju Boju.”

The children paid attention in amusement.

“This game is a little bit different. The seeker will sing a song, and after each line, you must all respond ‘O!’ while the seeker continues singing as you run to hide. He cannot start seeking unless you give him the permission to. You hear me?”


“But I want to make this game more fun.” He rose the red handkerchief in hand, “The seeker will tie this red cloth over his eyes before everyone runs to hide. This time, no one cheats, abi?”

“Yes!” The children cheered in excitement, but only one person asked the most important question.

“Mr K, we don’t know how to sing the Boju Boju song.” Ifeoma the class captain said.

He smiled, a mischievous one, “That is why I will be your seeker today.”

This caused all the children to be very excited, but they did not know what was coming for them.

“Alright stand up!” He ordered them.

Everyone stood up and began separating themselves, though Mr Kanayo told them not to leave yet.

“Kids, this is a game of hide and seek. And here are Mr Kanayo’s 3 rules to this game: 1) No two people hide in the same place, 2) No one leaves their hiding spot unless I say so, and 3)” He gave a long dramatic pause, “Anybody that gets caught… dies.”

They all froze, confused at his last statement.

Mr Kanayo laughed, “Just kidding. Anybody that gets caught becomes the next seeker.”

But was it really… a joke?

“But!” He exclaimed, causing the children to shake, “Nobody becomes the next seeker unless I say so. You hear me?”

They all nodded, not sure whether to be excited again or not.

And the game begun.

After Mr Kanayo had taught them the Yoruba song, he turned around to face a tree and tied the red handkerchief over his eyes. The children stood up quietly behind him, looking around for where they could hide in this semi-dark forest.

Mr Kanayo put his two hands behind him and began singing, “Boju-boju,”

Cover your eyes.

The kids did not answer.

“Boju-boju?” Mr Kanayo repeated.

“O!” The kids shouted in response, remembering the rules of the game as they started running to hide.

“Oloro nbo,”

The chief masquerade is coming.


“Epara mo,”

Go and hide.

“O!” Their voices become more distant.

“Shey kin shi?”

Should I open my eyes?

Nobody answered.

“Shey kin shi?” Mr Kanayo repeated but no one answered.

He removed the red handkerchief from his eyes and did not see anyone around, as everyone had gone to hide somewhere in the forest.

He picked up a tree branch stick from the ground and smiled mischievously.

Get ready kids, the real masquerade is coming.


13th November 2008. Two days after…

“So, tell me, what did you see?” Officer Ahmed, the police officer at GRA police station, asked one of Mr Kanayo’s pupils.

She was shaking. She was afraid. Not because of the three police officers standing in front of her, but of why they brought her here.

“Mariam, its okay.” Her mother patted her back from the seat next to hers, “Just tell them what you saw that night. What did Mr Kanayo do to the children at the forest?”

Timid Mariam held her shaky hands together and allowed herself to think about that night even when she didn’t want to.

She could not remember everything vividly. But she could remember hearing a scream from behind the tree she was crying on. She turned around to see Mr Kanayo lifting one of her classmates and turning around while laughing. It was dark, so she could not fathom exactly what was going on between those two. But she could only assume one thing.

“He was playing.” Mariam told the police officers without looking into their eyes, “He was carrying them and playing around.”

The three police officers just looked at each other without saying anything.

“And was that all you saw?” Mariam’s mother asked in confusion.

She nodded.

None of them said anything. It was all too confusing for them too.

“But,” Mariam added, thinking back to that dreadful night, “he-he had something scary…on his face.”


The night at Sambisa Forest…

Shey kin shi?” Mr Kanayo still sang despite he had already began his search.

No sound. Not even the wind. It was like the children disappeared.

He walked around and held onto the stick in his hand, ready to use it on his first target.

He saw a pair of long legs hanging from the top of a tree in a distance.

His first target.

He dashed for the leg and pulled it all the way down until Lawal’s whole body found itself on the ground.

Lawal groaned in pain while Mr Kanayo came to stand in front of him with the stick pointing to his face.

“Mr K,” Lawal looked at him in confusion, “What are you doing?”

“Something I should have done long ago.” Mr Kanayo replied. He began rubbing Lawal’s body in all the wrong places with the stick, causing Lawal to shudder in fear.

Lawal tried to hold the stick to stop him but Mr Kanayo began poking him with it. Poking him harder and harder on all the wrong places, causing him to wince in pain.

Lawal begged him to stop but this caused him to poke him faster and faster until it felt like he was stabbing him with the stick.

“This is what you do to the girls, abi?” Mr Kanayo poked him harder, mostly focusing on his private parts, “You think you can touch them without their consent, enh?”

“Sir, I don’t understand-”

“I’ve seen what you do to the girls in your class. You think girls are your playground, abi?”

“It’s just a joke, sir!”

“A joke, enh?” Mr Kanayo became more furious at this statement and poked him harder. “And Mariam, nko?”

“It was a stupid kiss! I was just playing the game!”

Mr Kanayo stopped poking and looked up in frustration, “It‘s just a kiss today, until it turns to torn clothes tomorrow.”

He looked down at Lawal with dark eyes. Lawal stared back at his eyes, becoming frightened at how scary and desperate they looked.


“Die!” Mr Kanayo rose the stick and slammed his head with it. Soon, it turned to a violent beating, “Die! Die! The world does not need more predators like you.”

Mr Kanayo beat Lawal with the stick until Lawal stopped moving. By the time Mr Kanayo stopped, he found blood all over his red suit and face.

He looked down at a lifeless Lawal’s body and threw the stick at him without feeling any remorse.

The world does not need any more of you, Mr Kanayo thought to himself.

Soon, his dark eyes began to get more fury. It was then he realized that the game has truly begun.

One down, ten more to go.

And that was how Mr Kanayo began his mission; punishing all the pupils in his class for their sins.

He believed he was Karma incarnate.

According to him, If you don’t get rid of the weed while it’s young, it will grow and destroy the whole farm.

And to him, this world was his whole farm.

As he was wiping off the blood stains on his suit, he stumbled upon some old skeletons on the ground.

They were dead cattle’s skeletons that had been eaten by maggots years ago. He reached down for the most fascinating part of the skeleton; the skull.

He picked up the cow’s skull and wiped out dirt from it before placing the skull over his face like a face mask.

He smiled beneath that cow’s skull and looked up to the moon.

“Tonight, we take out the weed one by one, Baba (father).”

One by one, he caught the kids in their hiding place.

One by one, he tortured each of them for their sins.

He was merciless.

He was brutal.

He was more deadly than any predator in the forest.

Stabbed pretty boy Zafar in the face multiple times, because vanity always led to damnation.

Burnt angry Biodun in his hiding place inside an abandoned car because uncontrolled anger was like a little spark that could cause a wild fire someday.

Fed maggots to obese Precious until she could no longer feel her tongue exist.

Dared Hassan and Husseini to climb up a tall tree to look for their stupid Nintendo DS until they fell from it and died flat on the ground, because Pokémon would never come to their rescue.

And for the grand finale… Amina the merciless bully.

Shey kin shi?” He sang repeatedly on his way to his last mission.

This time, he took the cow’s skull off his face so he could easily locate her.

“There is one group of people I hate the most in this world.” Mr Kanayo said to the atmosphere when he finally found Amina’s hiding spot, “Bullies. The oppressors. The intimidators.”

He stood behind Amina hiding beneath the bushes, with grasses and leaf particles all over her clothe as camouflage.

“Please don’t hurt me, Mr K.” Amina begged when she sensed his presence behind her. She must have seen what he did to her other classmates and knew she would be dead meat if he caught her too. And he did.

“Please, sir.” She begged again even though he hadn’t made a move. Yet.

Mr Kanayo stared at her long enough, debating what move to make next. But he only had one thing to do.

He took a step backwards and turned around, leaving Amina utterly clueless.

“Leave.” He said to her. “Go and don’t look back.”

Amina shocked and confused, scrambled up and stared at Mr Kanayo’s back facing her.

She didn’t hesitate for one second before she turned on her heels and ran away to the opposite direction.

But before she could get to the end of the next tree, she found her body being lifted up in the air.

All Mr Kanayo heard were Amina’s scream and a squelching sound from behind him. But he did not move an inch.

The corner of his lips began to twitch a little before he had a full maniac grin plastered on his face.

He didn’t need to turn around to see what was going on behind him. He knew the python at the top of the tree had caught Amina and began feasting on her like the next meal she was. Just like she feasted on other people’s weakness.

Mr Kanayo put his hands inside his pockets and walked away, letting the python finish his last mission for him.

His eyes were the darkest they have ever been. He never felt more alive and accomplished than this.

He stared at the moon proudly and smiled his best smile yet. It is finished, Baba. The weeds have been wiped out and the farm is sterilised once again.

Behind him was the ugliest yet most beautiful sight for Mr Kanayo. The bodies of the young weeds, all lying dead in a pool of blood on the forest ground. Not a single one was alive anymore.


There was an uproar at Silver-Spoon International School the next day and the day after.

The prestigious primary school was temporarily shut down after parents and relatives of primary 4 Tiger pupils stomped into the school with bottles, stones and sticks. They were ready to shut down Silver-Spoon for good. All because of the smiling demon himself; Mr Kanayo Agu.

Meanwhile, in the police station…

“So what happened after Mr Kanayo was done with the game?” The police officers continued to question timid Mariam.

“I don’t know.” She looked at her mother at her side, “Mummy, I was sleeping before they finish the game.”

“Yes dear, you told me.” Mama Mariam replied then looked at the three police officers, “And she woke up in the bus on the way back to school.”

“What did you see in the bus?” Officer Ahmed asked Mariam.

“Everyone was sleeping beside me. And Mr K was driving us back to school.”

This caught the officers’ attention more. Officer Ahmed wrote a question on his notepad and looked at mama Mariam.

“Hajiya, please permit me to ask her this next question.” Officer Ahmed asked mama Mariam while showing her the writing on his notepad.

She thought about it for a while before she said, “This better be the last question for her.”

He nodded and turned to little Mariam.

“Did you see… anything strange? Like… blood?” He asked. Mariam was puzzled, “Bl- blood? There was no blood. We were just all sleeping and tired from our play.”

The police officers all looked at each other and nodded suspiciously, before one of the police officers escorted Mariam and her mother out of the police station.

“She’s telling the truth.” Officer Sherif said to his senior, Officer Ahmed.

“I agree. Mr Kanayo’s offence here is not murder, its for drugging the children.” He admitted, bringing the truth to light, “He gave those poor children hard drugs to make them hallucinate. To see things that were not real. And the only reason Mariam was not affected was because she did not take the so-called ‘glucose’ he drugged them with.”

“Poor children. They must be traumatized for life.”

Gaskiya (honestly). And you know that yellow pikin we questioned yesterday? He still believes his face has been stabbed by their teacher. He cannot look at the mirror anymore.”

Officer Sherif stared at his senior, “Officer, you never asked Mariam about the missing girl. The one that never came back with the other children.”

“Amina, ko?” Officer Ahmed called the missing girl’s name and shook his head, “We are still searching for her. She must have ran away, or worse… Mr Kanayo kidnapped her.”

It was neither. The police officers didn’t know it yet. Amina’s attack was not an imagination like the others. It was real.

Her corpse was inside the python’s belly.

“That basta-”

“Officer Ahmed! Officer Sherif!” The third police officer barged into the office with some documents in his hand. “Trouble dey!”

He slammed the documents on the table and slid it to Officer Ahmed’s side.

“What is this?” Officer Ahmed picked up the first document out of curiosity.

“Mr Kanayo Agu is a fake!”

All heads turned to the third police officer, Officer Idris.

“Mr Kanayo Agu is not a real identity. He’s fake! He is not even an NYSC corper!” Officer Idris panted as he slumped on a chair, “We sent someone to investigate on him after the parents complained of their missing children that night. And this is the report.”

“Oladeinde Kayode?” Officer Ahmed read Mr Kanayo’s real name from the front page of the document.

“According to the investigation, Mr Kanayo Agu is not a real name. He mixed the names of his two favorite Nollywood actors, Kanayo Kanayo and Chiwetalu Agu, to get his fake name. Damn it!”

“Even his credentials are fake.” Officer Ahmed said, while looking through the documents, “He never studied Agriculture in University of Birmingham. He forged his certificates and his NYSC PPA letter.”

“Do you want to hear the worst part?” Officer Idris said to both of them, causing a sudden silence in the atmosphere.

“What is it?” They both stared at him.

“Are you sure you’re ready for this news?”

“Speak up!”

“He is a native doctor.” Officer Idris confessed.

The officers began laughing and looked at him like he just said the most stupid thing a police man would ever say. He snatched the document from Officer Ahmed and opened a particular page before showing it to them.

It was true.

Mr Kanayo Agu was a babalawo.

“He is a native doctor and his late father was a native doctor.” Officer Idris narrated it for them, “He is a young babalawo who uses hypnosis jazz on his clients’ enemies.”

“So you mean, that ‘glucose’ wasn’t hard drug, it was… juju?” Officer Sherif asked.

“Exactly!” He exclaimed.

The two officers looked at each other in shock. It was over. It was truly over for those children.

Though they were not dead physically, they were dead mentally. Their brains could no longer function the same until by some miracle, somebody takes the juju away from their mind.

“And one last thing… He is no ordinary native doctor.” Officer Idris said, “He is a psychopath who hates spoiled children. This might not be the first time he’s doing this, neither might it be the last. He will appear and disappear when he wants to.”

Officer Ahmed’s blood was running cold. He could not believe his ears. It was all like a dream to him.

How could any of this be real?

“Where is he?” He squeezed the documents angrily in his hand, “Where is that babalawo?!”

Where is he?!

Omode (children), where is Mr Kanayo Agu?

I look at the Odogbolu village children after narrating the whole story of Mr Kanayo Agu and the 12 pupils to them. The unforgettable Boju Boju story.

“Do you know where he is?” I ask them again.

Some of the children have fallen asleep. Some of them are waiting for me to finish the story. Others are waiting to leave so that our Tales by Moonlight time will be over.

As none of them wants to answer, I know it is time to end today’s story time.

I wrap up the story, “Mr Kanayo was nowhere to be found, neither did the police ever recover Amina’s body from the forest. And that, children, is how the story of Mr Kanayo And The 12 Pupils ended.”

I wave the children goodnight and send them back to their huts. They all carry their mats with them and run off to sleep or reflect on the story I just narrated to them.

I stand up to take my stool back to my small hut, and as I am leaving, a timid Tope comes to my side.

“Uncle Kayode,” He calls me.

“Yes, smallie?” I answer him.

“Your tissue fell down.” He points to the item lying next to me.

I look down at the item and pick it up. My red handkerchief.

“Thank you, smallie.” I smile.

He stares at the red handkerchief and back at me then back at it, while trying to connect something in his head.

I pat his puzzled face and sent him home. He runs away immediately and I continue to pack my things and head back home.

As I walk back to my hut with both hands in my pockets, I begin to hum the lyrics to Boju Boju once again.

My smile widens as I get to my favorite part of the song, the last part of the song. The real ending I should have sang at that Sambisa Forest.

As it goes;

Si si sin sii. Eni to loro ba mu a pa je.

Open, open, open your eyes. Whoever he finds will be killed.



DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. All characters, locations, organizations and incidents appearing in this article are fictitious. 

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  • windaddy
    Posted May 23, 2023 1:40 am 0Likes

    It is remarkable, very useful phrase

    • Husseina Jafiya
      Posted June 5, 2023 1:18 pm 0Likes

      Thank you!

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