Certain events make us realize the error of our ways, by normal human nature, we only become remorseful, when we get caught doing something wrong, we ordinarily would never repent if we got away with doing evil over and over again.
It took us five years to get pregnant, first two years of our marriage, we spent discovering each other, and making plans, building our home. At first it didn’t bother us, because we thought we had it all planned out, we wanted to be ready before the baby came, so we waited, one year became two years and the three years, and my wife became worried, so did i.
It was a cold night, not unusually cold, but cold all the same, we were getting set for bed, after a long day of writing exams; exams we had studied day and night for, under the most stressful conditions; you see, it’s quite difficult studying for an examination and dodging either bullets or machetes, and not exactly in that order, because we always dodged whichever came first, but we studied all the same, because deep down in her hearts we had the hope that someday soon, the turmoil would end, and we would be allowed to face our futures, so we decided to prepare for it sooner than later, we were not going to allow anything take away the only thing we had that was capable of giving us the lives we dreamed of, so we persevered and we studied.
As I lay there deliberating my friend Omoefa’s coarse and loud voice rang out as she shouted my name from outside startled me out of short lived reverie. I got up from the bed still in my pant and bra holding my head which had subsided a bit, just by sheer will and effort managed to put on a pair of Jeans and tee shirt. I slipped on a pair of slippers and stepped into the slightly darkened corridor crisscrossed with other rooms adjoined leading out to the compound.
I beheld one of the older girls who also worked in our compound Cindy and friends dancing near the window but ignored them only extending a brief greeting to Deborah one of the girls as I moved on, I heard from Omoefa’s roommate Cindy was from a good home, had even been sent to school a real secondary school but had run off with an older boyfriend her father’s pension safely tucked in her bag. The boyfriend swindled her and traveled out to Spain, leaving her with just a letter I suppose as memento or reminder I don’t know. Some have feet and shoes to wear on them, some have shoes but no feet, others possess neither shoes nor feet I wish, i wonder….
I met Omoefa sitting in a corner with the girls smoking ‘Igbo’ weed as they all shuffled to the music emanating from the stereo. I went towards them and as soon as they sighted me, they all shouted as if on cue hailing AREA HOW FAR NAH? Happy Birthday!!!
Tinuke Omoefa’s room mate passed me a cup of “Tombo liquor “as I joined them on the bench Omoefa passed me the smouldering wrap of ‘Igbo’ she was smoking. I held it between my thumb and foreﬁnger the embers cackling, sparks emitting from the tiny embers of the seed as i tapped the excess ash off. I put the cup to my lips and swallowed a mouthful of the local gin, my eyes watered slightly as the ethanol hit me full in the chest, oblivious to my pain charting a burning path down my throat traversing relentlessly down, a ﬁery passageway to the pit of my stomach. I took a long drag of the ‘Igbo’ weed inhaling holding in the smoke as long as I could thankfully, it was not the highly intoxicating kanaku hybrid.
The smoke circulated slowly coursing through internal oriﬁce, oh so soothing…swirling as in creating an artiﬁcial smokes screen, cloud-induced interface alongside sudden No stark reality of the life i existed in. It was all I could do not to lean back in relief my headache slowly receding as though dancing backwards, evaporating into nothingness…air, just like the smoke emanating from my slightly parted lips and nostrils drifting up into oblivion. I watched it all swirling upwards towards a stack heap of forgone memories where earlier introspection, niggling conscience end up never to harm or hold my thought process in a choke hold leaving me free to indulge in my vices, my excesses with no recourse to conscientious thoughts.
The ﬁrst time omoefa and I met she had accosted me hiding behind the sand dune crying profusely on a Friday night. I was tucked away in a darkened corner hence did not notice my presence until she nearly stepped on me. Omoefa shouted out in fright jumping back “Blood of Jesus” seeing me clearly her initial fright swiftly morphed into anger. She rounded up in anger asking who I was and my purpose for lurking in the darkness, all the while getting ready to smash her upturned ﬁst in my face. Tears still running down my face intermittently casting furtive glances towards the main gate i had escaped from, she must have realized the extent of my disconcert especially at the sight of my torn clothes as I held tightly to cover my half exposed breasts. Her anger turned to concern, as she asked me what had occurred abandoning all her initial resolve and hostility.
When I arrived Paradise Island I was still naïve hence was oblivious to what the girls actually did until much later. I only started to enjoy myself after I met Obiri, a girl who lived in a shack next to our compound. She was my age although looked and acted older, that girl was a real tomboy a ﬁre cracker. I often wondered how she came to be living on their own in the ghetto later after becoming ﬁrm friends, she conﬁded in me that she ran away from home hiding under a lorry ferrying plantains to Lagos.
She was labelled a witch by a man they called ‘Prophet Zephaniah’ in her village, Prophet’s minions tortured then forced her to drink a concoction made out of water droplets drained from a dead body, declaring the spirit of the dead will compel her into a confession of her deeds even against her will. It seemed one of the strongest demons dwelt in her dark heart as she failed to confess, repeatedly maintaining her innocence. This provoked Prophet’s holy anger as he instructed assistants to hold her down, mouth forced open using his holy staff and concoction poured down her throat. Ensuing stomach cramps triumphant validation for prophet Zephaniah.
She had been accused initially by her father of deploying the powers of witchcraft that strong demonic spirit to drain his destiny causing an inability to feed her 8 siblings, he was a subsistent farmer. Her ropes had been untied in the dead of the night by her mother, who urged her to run away or be killed. Rescuing her mother and siblings from her father’s clutches and giving them a better life has been her motivation for hustling. I will make it in Paradise Island one day you watch and see if I don’t she often said with strong conviction and seriousness.
Aunty had sent me to buy some Panadol at baba Oyibo’s chemist not very far from our compound. On my way back, one of the boys who hang around our street accosted me snatching Auntie’s change off my hand. I cried out begging him to give me back the money but he laughed taunting me until Obiri walked towards us and faced him. Looking on steadily no expression on her face bellying her true intentions she asked him to return my money, but he didn’t pay her any heed neither did I to be fair. Request repeated again this time ﬁrmly resolute as calm as you please, or he would get a beating. He ﬁnally paid attention to the irritant quickly surveying her small frame incredulously, unbelieving of the sheer impudence from this tiny runt as he laughed gleefully. Truly Obiri like me was shorter than the boy, by this time his friends had sauntered closer cheering urging him on.
All of a sudden she lunged forward grabbing his neck like a man and raining punches, open mouthed map of disbelief displayed all over my face at the sight “See this small ‘Pelenge’ girl ﬁghting a boy. The ﬁght seemed reminiscent of David and Goliath bored children had begun watching and clapping as the impromptu ﬁght progressed. She landed a quick succession of punches then another slap Ha it’s a miracle!! I stopped counting after nine punches with interjecting slaps, a cut on his thick black lips blood spurted trailing down his jaw line. He was riled seriously angry now, yellow rimmed eyeballs bulging in naked resentment as he wiped excess blood with the hem of his oversize 2pac long sleeve tee shirt, he began pulling up his sleeves. It has gotten much personal no more a random past time but saving face that male ego has to be redeemed forthwith. He deliberately rushed towards Obiri swinging wildly right hand busy, as he made to grab her with his left hand we all gasped in fright but she darted back evading his latest swing, then moved in crouching like Malaika the great wrestler in our village. She grabbed his legs in a seemingly coordinated motion and shoved him backwards. He landed hard on his buttocks the audible grunt of pain sounding like a pig’s grunt. The tides had swiftly turned at this stage everyone turning the boos earlier directed towards the small girl into cheers the now vanquished ﬁghter lying on the ground, smarting from defeat. I watched her beat him back to the ground, even after he unsuccessfully tried to get back up until an old woman drove the crowd away with a long broom. Caught up in the excitement I had forgotten about my dilemma until I felt my cloth tugged from the back i turned around to see her still looking disheveled from the ﬁght and sporting a small bump on her right cheekbone, without a word she shoved the crumpled change in my palm abruptly walking away.
To Be Continued……………………………
Written By Bunmi olaniyan
Read Part 1 HERE
Each time i returned to him, my decision was confirmed as a good one, because i was rewarded not just with a temporary peace, but with the return of the man i’d fallen in love with. “We’d have this honeymoon period where he was nice to me again. I couldn’t help myself; I fell for it,”.
Lawani would come straight home from work, sometimes with flowers in hand, “and we’d have family time. He’d crack us up and laugh. Or we’d work around the house…all the things that happen in a normal home.”
Most important, He doted on Me. There were date nights followed by lovemaking, with Lawani holding me all night long. “I got enough of a glimpse of what a normal life could be like,” Look, he can be a family man; we can do this,” I’d say to myself.
Amarachi at this point was very upset with me,she was the only one I had told about the abuse,and she kept urging me to leave him,”do you want to wait until we come get you out of there in a body bag”she’d say,I was a woman still intent on saving my marriage,what amarachi advised only made me foolish,and I began to alienate myself from her and others,even my own parents,in my mind at the time they were the enemy,my justification was that they didn’t know lawani the way I did,they basically didn’t understand,my mum had visited once and discovered some swelling on my chin,she expressed concern and I simply told her we had an argument and I had provoked lawani too much,and when she insisted on having a talk with him,I was quick to remind her not to meddle in the affairs of my home.She in turn spoke to amarachi about it,and well amarachi being the hot head she was,came to my house and confronted lawani,oh how I wish she had’t done that,because after she left he felt very upset and humiliated,and yes you guessed right,I payed for it.
That night after amarachi had left, Lawani had tied my hands behind my back and punched me in the stomach for three hours. Afterward, I crawled to the bathroom and vomited blood,i managed to drive myself to the hospital,there I met the matron on duty,Matron Tamasi, I came in stooped and limping, showed the matron the evidence of my beating,my arms bruised black from wrist to elbow, a belly the color of a rotting plum.
He could’ve killed you!” the matron exclaimed. i knew she was right. And when, one month later, another fight began brewing in our house,the matron’s words reverberated in my head and prompted me to run across the street and call my friend to pick me up.
It was the third time I left.
I stayed away with Amarachi for about a month. But while my life was free from abuse, it wasn’t peaceful. Lawani was a constant: badgering me, surprising me when i least expected it, and — perhaps worst of all — threatening to discontinue our adoption process,don’t judge me,I wanted a child so badly so I was willing to put up with as much crap just to get a child,and somewhere in my mind,I believed with the arrival of the child,things might get better,I mean children are supposed to be blessings right? At the same time, he was trying to woo me back by asking me out on dates and by renovating our home exactly the way i’d wanted, even hanging up my cherished family photos. “I got a glimpse of the person I married: the romance, the hugs and sweet things.
Meanwhile, my friend never complained about hosting me, but she were clearly on edge — especially when lawani would call to accuse her of breaking up his home. As time passed, I felt like a burden on amarachi. In despair, i went to a shelter to explore my options and was dismayed to learn it would only be able to house me for 30 days. “Then what?” I asked the counselor, who had no reply. I couldn’t see a way out.
Here I was with no job and no life. “And then here’s my husband, with our beautifully remodeled house and all the things from the life we had built, and he’s saying, ‘You can have all this if you come back,so i meekly called lawani to say i was moving back in — feeling “scared to death, sick to my stomach, frightened out of my mind, and hopeful that things were going to change” — i made note of a valuable lesson i’d learned.
My arrival back home was greeted with a very familiar “seize fire” regime,lawani was all over me,doting as usual and being the “perfect man”,but this time I was very careful not to be taken in by the his usual tricks and pageantry.
I would stare at him for a while and try to read him,he had mastered the art of switching himself on and off at will,it was like he had the jerkyl and hyde syndrome,one minute he was this big teddy bear,appeared not being able to hurt a fly,the next moment he’d transform into a rabid wolf,foaming at the mouth,treating me like prey,”yes that was the only logical way to describe my husband.
I woke up to lawani smiling over me,looking like a little boy in a toy store,he asked me to come downstairs,saying Christmas had come early this year,I put on my robe and followed him downstairs,and when I got downstairs I was stunned,my legs went limp,I half expected they would give out under me,sitting in the living room was a woman,but she was not alone,she was holding a little girl,she was 14months old,my heart skipped a beat,I turned and looked at him,he smiled and said “congratulations it’s a girl”.
The lady I later discovered was from an orphanage and lawani had pushed the adoption process faster and we had gotten this little girl,this little angel,this wonderful innocent human being,I took a step towards them and stopped to check myself as if to be sure I was’t dreaming,I moved closer,picked her up,held her close to me and turned to lawani and said “her name is Morenikeji-which means I have found a companion,he smiled and accepted the name,I refused to put her down,as if putting her down would be the end of life itself,it was a wonderful feeling,I didn’t care that I was not her birth mother,but the thought of her being my child was the best feeling I had in a very long time,once the documents were signed and the lady left,lawani and I took keji(shortened) upstairs and spent the whole day getting to know her.
Life seemed to stabilize for a while,so far this was the longest stretch of peace I had experienced in a while,lawani even agreed to let me start my own ad consulting agency,things were looking up,or so I thought.
Then the worst happened,I had a meeting with a client,he came in later than the agreed time,so I stayed out later than usual,after the meeting I raced home,because I had left keji with the nanny,immediately I drove into the house I saw lawani’s car parked outside,fear enveloped me,I tried to compose myself,I knew something was wrong,I walked into the house,the nanny was gone,lawani and keji were in the living room watching a cartoon on television,I started to talk when lawani dismissed me with his hand,I made my way to the kitchen,everywhere was spotless,my heart was racing,I thought it was going to explode in my chest,I made my way to the bedroom to change,and when I came out I saw lawani taking keji to bed.
I went downstairs and waited for lawani,and while I waited for him to come back down I said a short prayer “O lord my father,if what I am passing through is not from you,have mercy on me,deliver me,save me,have mercy on me”.
Lawani walked calmly into the living room,sat across from me,stared directly at me and he lips parted and the words I dreaded came out,”where have you been”,I began explaining what had transpired during my meeting and what had caused the delay,he seemed to be getting relaxed up until the point I mentioned the client was a man,his eyes went dark and he jumped up, and in a split second he was beside me,and before I could blink he had hit me across the face,the impact sent me tumbling over,he pulled me up by my hair and punched me in the face,I stumbled over again,begging him to stop,this enraged him the more,he called me a harlot,and hit me again,this time I tasted blood,suddenly from the corner of my eye I saw him pick up something from the table,he struck my head……………..i passed out.
Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)
You can view PT1 HERE
You can view PT2 HERE
Two members of the high school football team that is the pride of Steubenville were found guilty Sunday of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl in a case that bitterly divided the Rust Belt city and led to accusations of a cover-up to protect the community’s athletes.
Steubenville High School students Trent Mays and Ma’LikRichmond were sentenced to at least a year in juvenile jail, capping a case that came to light via a barrage of morning-after text messages, social media posts and online photos and video. Mayswas sentenced to an additional year in jail on a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, to be served after his rape sentence is completed.
The two teens broke down in tears after the verdict was read and later apologized to the victim and to the community. Both were emotional as they spoke, and Richmond struggled at times to talk through his sobs. Richmond’s father, Nathaniel, also asked that the victim’s family “forgive Malik and Trent for the pain they put you through.”
Mays, 17, and Richmond, 16, were charged with digitally penetrating the West Virginia girl, first in the back seat of a moving car after an alcohol-fueled party on Aug. 11, and then in the basement of a house.
The case roiled the community amid allegations that more students should have been charged — accusations that Ohio’s attorney general pledged to look into — and led to questions from a much wider audience online about the influence of the local football team, a source of a pride in a community of 18,000 that suffered massive job losses with the collapse of the steel industry.
Protesters who sought guilty verdicts stood outside the courthouse Sunday morning, their arms linked, some wearing masks. Later, prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter criticized the efforts by the hacker collective Anonymous to publicize the case, saying the extra attention led to a chilling effect on those willing to testify.
The trial opened last week as a contest between prosecutors determined to show the girl was so drunk she couldn’t have been a willing participant that night, and defense attorneys soliciting testimony from witnesses that would indicate that the girl, though drunk, knew what she was doing.
The teenage girl testified Saturday that she could not recall what happened the night of the attack but remembered waking up naked in a strange house after drinking at a party. The girl said she recalled drinking, leaving the party holding hands with Mays and throwing up later. When she woke up, she said she discovered her phone, earrings, shoes and underwear were missing, she testified.
“It was really scary,” she said. “I honestly did not know what to think because I could not remember anything.”
The girl said she believed she was assaulted when she later read text messages among friends and saw a photo of herself taken that night, along with a video that made fun of her and the alleged attack. She said she suspected she had been drugged because she couldn’t explain being as intoxicated as defense witnesses have said she was.
“They treated her like a toy,” said special prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter.
Evidence introduced at the trial included graphic text messages sent by numerous students after the night of the party, including by the accuser, containing provocative descriptions of sex acts and obscene language. Lawyers noted during the trial how texts have seemed to replace talking on the phone for contemporary teens. A computer forensic expert called by the state documented tens of thousands of texts found on 17 phones seized during the investigation.
In sentencing the boys, Judge Thomas Lipps urged everyone who had witnessed what happened in the case, including parents, “to have discussions about how you talk to your friends, how you record things on the social media so prevalent today and how you conduct yourself when drinking is put upon you by your friends.”
The girl herself recalled being in a car later with Mays and Richmond and asking them what happened.
“They kept telling me I was a hassle and they took care of me,” she testified. “I thought I could trust him (Mays) until I saw the pictures and video.”
In questioning her account, defense attorneys went after her character and credibility. Two former friends of the girl testified that the accuser she was drinking heavily that night, had a history of doing so and was known to lie.
“The reality is, she drank, she has a reputation for telling lies,” said lawyer Walter Madison, representing Richmond.
The accuser said that she does not remember being photographed as she was carried by Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond, an image that stirred up outrage, first locally, then globally, as it spread online. Others testified the photo was a joke and the girl was conscious when it was taken.
After the trial, the accuser’s mother rebuked the boys for “lack of any moral code.”
“You were your own accuser, through the social media that you chose to publish your criminal conduct on,” she said.
The photograph led to allegations that three other boys, two of them members of Steubenville High’s celebrated Big Red team, saw something happening that night and didn’t try to stop it but instead recorded it themselves.
None of them were charged, fueling months of online accusations of a cover-up to protect the team, which law enforcement authorities have vehemently denied.
Instead, the teens were granted immunity to testify, and their accounts helped incriminate the defendants. They said the girl was so drunk she didn’t seem to know what was happening to her and confirmed she was assaulted.
After Mays and Richmond were taken into custody Sunday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said he planned to convene a grand jury next month to investigate whether anyone else should be charged in the case.
Noting that 16 people refused to talk to investigators, many of them underage, DeWine said possible crimes to be investigated include failure to report a felony and failure to report child abuse.
Mays and Richmond were determined to be delinquent, the juvenile equivalent of guilty, Lipps ruled in the juvenile court trial without a jury.
The length of their sentence beyond the minimum one year will be determined by juvenile authorities; they can be held until they’re 21. Lipps said that “as bad as things have been for all of the children involved in this case, they can all change their lives for the better.”
The accuser’s mother echoed that, saying the case “does not define who my daughter is. She will persevere, grow and move on.”
The Associated Press normally doesn’t identify minors charged in juvenile court, but Mays and Richmond have been widely identified in news coverage, and their names have been used in open court. The AP also does not generally identify people who say they were victims of sex crimes.
Source- Yahoo News
The House of Representatives in March 2013, approved life imprisonment for any person convicted of rape. They also approved a minimum of 20 years without an option of fine for persons convicted of gang raping someone.
The bill, which was sponsored by Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also approved 25 years imprisonment for any person who attempted to use chemical, biological or any harmful liquid on another person. (e.g pouring acid on anyone).
The bill also approved 4 years in jail or a fine not more than N200,000 or both for any person convicted of performing female circumcision and general mutilation or engaging someone to carry it out. Aiding female circumcision attracts N100, 000 or two years in jail or both.
Source- Daily Times