DEAR MR PRESIDENT…………

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Dear Mr. President,

I will at this point skip the formalities of asking how you and the family are doing, not out of disrespect, but simply because I see you on TV all the time, and from there I know you are doing fine.

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UNTIL DEATH DID US PART

indexCertain 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.

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BROKEN MIRRORS

confused man

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.

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UNFRIENDLY FIRE

 

confused manHe would stare at her for long minutes at a time, wondering how any human could appear so flawless, beautiful and graceful all at the same time.

I would tell him several times in a day, to keep his fantasies to himself, you see Amarachi, was a married woman who lived next door, yes a lovely woman I might add, but married none the less, and there was something else, something dark and sad, a secret shame she tried so carefully to hide.

Amarachi was married to Somto, better known to his friends as the Johnny Blaze, well because he could easily blow up without warning, and he really was a “prick”. Somto was a night club bouncer, and he got used to treating everything like garbage, including Amarachi his wife.

Yes, Somto was a big “prick”, a slob, in subtle terms he was a pig, he would drink all night, come home drunk, scream about everything he saw, drink some more, and yes beat his wife with a belt, sometimes he would beat her in the backyard, and when we tried to intervene, he would say she was his responsibility and he had to train her, yeah right like she was a wild animal he was trying to tame.

Femi, my friend and house mate would go over to the house and confront Somto, but he would shrug and walk away, we called the police on several occasions but nothing was done, they were his buddies, and I remember once they said we were trespassing and Somto would press charges when next we tried to gain access to his home, of course we had no evidence, and Amarachi was too scared to call the cops herself, she would later say she was in a helpless situation.

Amarachi was a school dropout, she was a dancer in a local club, Somto frequented back in the day, and according to her, he was the only one who treated her right, I guess she knew what she was saying.

Many times we would hear Somto call her names, yeah he was that loud and on many occasions he would lock her out in the backyard overnight, Femi would stand by the kitchen window and watch her sob.

He told me many times how she needed to be rescued, he would say she needed a man to love her and treat her right, I guess he thought he was her knight in shining armor, I would always tell him to thread carefully, because Somto was a maniac, and his little brain always told him to act violently first and think later, if at all he ever did.

I remember Femi gradually started be-friending Amarachi, at first she was reluctant, but gradually she began enjoying his company, he would go over when Somto was at work, or they would discuss over the backyard fence when he was at the bar.

Gradually Femi fell in love with Amarachi, and I think she did too, Femi was making plans to run away with her, I don’t know till now if that was a good idea or not, well obviously my opinion didn’t matter.

Amarachi now relished the nights Somto would lock her out, she would sneak into our house and into Femi’s bed, and soon she mastered the art of sneaking in and out, I lost count of how many times it happened, on one hand I was glad she was happy and found comfort in Femi, on the other hand I was worried as to what the outcome might be if Somto ever found out, and no I wasn’t worried because I was a coward, I was simply worried because he was a very dangerous man.

I found out soon enough, Somto was getting suspicious, you see Amarachi was regaining her self-confidence, on one occasion she walked out on him, and went to sit on the back steps, Somto came out and beat her black and blue, I had to pick up a golf club to make him stop, I called the police, and reported a domestic dispute, they never showed, and Femi was off visiting his folks.

He was furious when he got back, but I told him not to confront Somto, for lack of reason, and that night Amarachi came over, she cooked us dinner and cried her eyes out, we cheered her up with jokes and taught her how to play guitar hero, the fun ended abruptly when she heard his van pull up, she was not quick enough to get into the house, but she made it to the back porch, Somto stormed into the backyard and started pushing and slapping her around, questioning and asking where she was all night, he called her a no good whore, and punched her in the face, she ran into our kitchen, her nose bleeding, Femi held her, and I went to get the first aid kit and my golf club, I knew Somto would come and I knew he would come for a fight.

True to his brute nature he stormed in, with a kitchen knife, he screamed and cursed, Amarachi hid behind Femi, her nose bleeding, Femi and I stood our ground, we threatened to call the cops, he wasn’t moved, he lunged at me, punched me in the nose before I could swing the club, it fell to the floor, and so did I, he kicked me in the stomach, and I felt like all the air had left my body.

Femi charged him, and knocked him backwards, the knife fell out of his hand, he regained his footing, and rushed Femi, Somto was a huge man, it was like a bull coming at you, Femi picked up the club and swung, he missed, and he got punched, I saw Amarachi run out of kitchen.

Somto was on Femi, kicking and punching, I tried to crawl up to them, but I wasn’t of much use, I could hear the blows, suddenly I heard sirens in the distance, he screamed at Femi, threatened to kill him before the cops got there, from the side of my eye I saw him pick up the knife, his knee was on Femi’s back, he pulled Femi’s neck backwards, he was going to slit his throat, and that was when I heard it, the first shot, then the second, then the third.

Somto dropped in a heap, Amarachi stood there, gun in hand, with a look I had never seen before.

The cops rushed in, I passed out.

 Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)

Staircases And Cupcakes

 

image ofI was eleven when it happened, I can remember how it happened, because I was there when it happened.

It took me twenty four years to get here, and a lot of guts, but I think it’s time I got it off my chest.

I won’t pretend I grew up in a perfect home, and suddenly things went bad, for as long as I can remember, it was always the same, I grew up thinking all Fathers yelled, and all mothers cried.

Father was never happy, he always yelled, everything was always done wrong, and even when he did it wrong, he always found a way of blaming mother.

I saw him punch her, shove her, swear at her, but I never saw him hold her, hug her, kiss her, or even say anything nice to her.

It’s not a long story, just a brief sad story, of an eleven year old boy, a story that changed his life forever.

I just got back from school, I was in the kitchen eating, and as usual, mother would set my meal with the usual cupcake on the side, chocolate flavored, so I could eat immediately I got back from school, she never missed it, I still remember the smell of cake batter, she baked so much, the aroma was almost permanent, and even up until now as an adult, I always remember her, when I smell cake batter, among other things.

It was quite, unusually quiet, I didn’t think much of it, because I knew it was just a matter of time before father would get back, and he would find something to yell about.

He got back earlier than usual, I was just about biting into my cupcake, when he walked in, I remember losing my appetite, he walked passed me like I was not there, not that I cared, I was accustomed to it, he yelled out for mum, but he didn’t get any response, I knew she was asleep, she was pregnant, and it was hard for her to keep up with her daily routine, I didn’t bother checking up on her, because I knew she was a light sleeper, and I didn’t want to wake her up.

He yelled out again, and still yet no reply, I remained in the kitchen, and waited for it, I heard him walk up the stairs, I could tell he was mad, what else was new, suddenly I heard him yelling at her, I couldn’t quite make out the words, but I knew there were angry words, I left the kitchen, and made my way to the foot of the stairs, I stretched my neck, trying to hear what was being said, dad was yelling, and mum was trying to pacify him, suddenly he appeared at the top of the stairs, and stared right down at me, I felt a chill, this was not normal, “what are you looking at you stupid boy”, he said, don’t you have anything better to do than stuff your face with cakes? Your mother has made a girl out of you, am pretty sure you are the first boy who will have his period; those were things father said to me.

I let his words wash over me, but I didn’t move, I was accustomed to it, I think deep down he just needed to rave and rant all the time to give himself a sense of self-worth, mother emerged from the bedroom, and simply told him to leave me alone, and that was when it happened, he turned around and punched her in the face, he didn’t care if she was pregnant or not, she spun around, and used her elbows to shield her tummy from hitting the wall, he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back, haven’t you done enough to ruin him, father said, why doesn’t he act like normal boys, and you dare tell me to leave him alone, he spoke about me like I wasn’t even there.

Mother tried to pacify him, he started shoving her, I saw her walking back, towards the head of the stairs, I tried to warn her she was too close to the edge, but his constant yelling drowned my words, she missed her step, I saw her fall, it was like an eternity, but while she fell, she tried to shield her stomach, I saw her fall, I heard bones crack, I saw her falling, and I was rooted to the spot, until she hit me, and we both landed on the floor, I hit my head, and when I opened my eyes, I saw her, lying down, she was staring at me, but was looking through me, suddenly I felt something sticky on my cheek, it was red, it was warm, it was her blood, and then I realized, she was dead, he pushed her, I passed out.

I didn’t see him anymore after that, I went to live with my uncle, years later he told me, my father left, started afresh, was arrested, but never convicted, ruled as a domestic accident, people fall down stairs all the time.

I still don’t understand why he was such a bitter person, mother didn’t deserve what he did to her, I haven’t spoken to him or seen he since that day, personally I see no point

I have moved on, am happy, have a family now, they give me joy, decided to share this, I don’t know how it will help, but am pretty sure it will.

Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)

A Father’s Nightmare

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From the day I found out I was going to be a dad, everything changed for me, I grew up almost instantly, and I was determined to be the best husband and father I could be.

My wife was a wonderful woman, she brought me joy beyond measure, and I remember always teasing her, about giving me a copy of herself, so I could have two of them, and she did just that, our daughter; Claudia was born, June 12th, 1988, that was the second happiest day of my life, the first being my wedding day.

I held Claudia in my arms, she stared up at me with her big cute eyes, and I promised her I would never let anything happen to her, I swore I would rather die, than see any harm come to her, and I meant it.

The years passed, and Claudia grew up, she was normal, and went through all the stages, the “I hate boys” stage, which was my personal favorite, the “I am aware of my body/I want boys to notice me” stage, didn’t like that stage very much, and then the “I am a grown woman, off to college stage”, I had dreaded this stage from the day she was born, but her mother always said, “you cannot hide her under your wing forever”, she was right, I had to let her go and hope everything would be alright.

Claudia left, I wasn’t worried, I knew she was going to be fine, I knew she would be fine.

In her usual way she breezed through college, time went by with Claudia, as though some cosmic force was in a hurry to see her grow up, don’t get me wrong, I was happy my baby was achieving things in leaps and bounds, but sometimes I just got worried, worried that everything was moving too fast.

After college she decided work for herself as an IT consultant, she might as well, because I never saw her as a nine to five woman anyway, she stayed with us, I mean there was no point living on her own, call me old fashioned, but I never saw it as a right thing for a single woman to live alone, but secretly it was my own little way of keeping both my girls as close to me as i possibly could.

Then he happened……..

She met him, while consulting for a firm here in town, and from the way she always talked about him, I knew she was smitten, my little girl was finally in-love, don’t get me wrong though, she had been in-love lots of times, and she had fallen out of love lots of times too, but there was something about this that was different, I could feel it, and even though I didn’t like it, I was happy for my baby.

Claudia and ikenna got married after just a year of dating, he owned a small transport company, and was doing well for himself, he was a nice boy, nothing too extra-ordinary about him, he had only his mother, he had informed me he father passed away a few years before, I was against an early marriage, they were going too fast I thought, but my wife, and other family members, would not allow me slow things down, well I guess it was an African thing, I remember my wife saying “be happy she has found someone who is responsible enough to marry her, you have a good daughter, so be grateful”, and after she said that, I let it all go, and gave my blessing.

A few months into the marriage, I began noticing changes in Claudia, I noticed she didn’t answer her calls like she used to, I mean I knew she was married now, and had other responsibilities, but 8 out of 10 times, her husband would answer her calls, and would always tell me she would call back, and whenever she called back, her excuses always seemed rehearsed, and there was this forced cheerfulness about her now, I knew something was wrong.

I told my wife about it, and she dismissed it, she said I worried too much, and that I should give them space, I tried to give them space, but when Claudia came to visit one Sunday afternoon, I knew something was seriously wrong.

We just got back from church, and we met Claudia at the front door, she looked broken, her smile was a tired smile, her eyes were filled with fear and suspicion, this was not my Claudia, I tried hard to get her to tell me what was wrong, but she wouldn’t budge, and at a point she really got upset with me, told me to mind my business, and left the house, I was furious and immediately got on the phone with her husband ikenna, and asked him to see me immediately.

He came over that evening, and I told him in very plain terms, that I didn’t like the way Claudia was looking when she came over earlier, his surprised look, showed me he didn’t know she had been here, and he suddenly seemed very agitated, and while I spoke and proceeded to give him some fatherly advice, I noticed his fist clenching, he was really getting worked up, and so I stopped, I told him to take things easy, and no matter what problems there might seem to be now, they could both work it out.

He left, and I was troubled.

Later that night, I asked my wife if Claudia had told her about any troubles she was having at home, she denied any knowledge of any problems Claudia might be having, and since I had agitated two people already, I decided not to push this anymore; maybe I was just being paranoid.

Later that night I woke up troubled, I just couldn’t sleep, I felt something was terribly wrong, and when I tapped my wife to see if she was asleep, I noticed her eyes were red, not from sleep, but from crying, my heart missed a beat, and I asked her in a very stern tone, to tell me what was going on, she went on to tell me that ikenna had been beating Claudia, my baby, the same child I had never laid my hands on, and when I asked why she had not told me all this before now, she said she was afraid as to how i might react.

I was furious, I got out of bed, got dressed and headed for Claudia’s home, and I was going to put a stop to this once and for all, my heart was racing and I felt sick in my stomach, I pulled up at their home, and immediately went in, it was very quiet, the lights were on, I tried to open the door, but it was locked, so I banged on it, a neighbor emerged from out back and motioned for me to come over, she told me they had been loud screams coming from their flat, and that ikenna had left a few minutes before I arrived, we went to the back door and forced it open, I ran into the house calling out for my Claudia, I was panicking, and then suddenly saw her laying on the couch in the living room, I rushed to her, my heart sank when I saw her, her eyes had been beaten shut, the had a swollen lip, and bruises all over her arms, she could barely move, she could barely speak, and when I tried to carry her up, she winced in pain, and that was when I noticed the blood, the couch was soaked with it, she had a large gash in her side, and it looked like a stab wound, she was bleeding, I quickly picked her up, grabbed a towel from the kitchen in an attempt to stop the bleeding, I put her in the car and drove to the hospital with the nice neighbor lady, I called my wife on the way.
We arrived at the hospital, she was immediately rushed into surgery, while I waited for my wife to arrive, I called ikenna’s number severally, it rang for a bit, and after a while it was switched off, I called the police, and explained everything, they sent two officers to the hospital to see things for themselves, my wife arrived and she was beside herself, she wept without control, I didn’t attempt to console her, all I wanted was to find ikenna and ask the question, why did he do this to my child?
The police arrived and took statements from myself and the nice neighbor lady, they had to wait for my wife to calm down, before they could ask her any questions, Claudia was still in surgery when I left with the police to make a former complaint, I got to the station, wrote my statement again, and left.
Claudia died a few hours after surgery, she had lost too much blood, she had broken ribs and a punctured lung, my baby had been beaten to death, and I was not there to protect her.

Ikenna was arrested and charged with murder, he was not charged with abuse, just murder, the police simply stated they didn’t have substantial evidence to bring abuse charges against him, no one had ever reported abuse, and her wounds could be as a result of anything.
I was there when Claudia was born, I helped pick out her first bed, I picked out her first bike, I walked her to school on her first day, I helped pick out her first car, and now I picked out her casket.
I don’t understand it; I never raised my hand to hit my wife or child, why did he take my baby away from me.
I made a promise to Claudia, never to let any harm come to her, I didn’t keep that promise, and I let that bastard take her away from me.
He was charged with just murder, not abuse.

By Arome Ameh (The Priest)

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Shot Dead by Policeman For Trying To Prevent Domestic Violence-Dedicated To “MURI”

A 30-year-old first class graduate of Economics from
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Moses Murtala Aminu,
has been shot dead by a policeman.

The victim had left his 67, Ahmadu Ahijo Street, Narayi-
High cost family residence last week Sunday full of life
for a party at Barnawa , Kaduna, but could not return
home as he was killed by a police constable.

His friend and eyewitness stated
that the police constable identified as Alex Okpe was
beating up his girlfriend outside the venue of the party
and when Murtala tried to intervene, he got angry and
pulled out his gun from his jeans trousers and fired
straight into his heart.

According to an eyewitness who spoke
under anonymity, after Murtala was shot dead, the
police constable then fired again in the air twice to
scare the people around and escaped on his motorcycle.

Moses Andrew, a friend who was with Muri, as he was
popularly called, at the Time Out Lounge party venue in
Barnawa, narrated that there was pandemonium after
Muri was shot and Okpe, the policeman, had escaped.

“We were confused while trying to revive Muri, when a
guy informed us that he knows a friend to Okpe’s
girlfriend that had left the party for a club called X-One
at Barnawa,” Andrew said.

According to him, they quickly moved to X-One and
fortunately met her there.

“We picked the lady who identified the policeman who
killed Muri as Alex Okpe, and that he serves at Kakuri
Police Station but deployed to guard Nigerian Breweries
Plc.,” Andrew added.

It was learn t that the killer policeman was later
tracked down and arrested by officers from Barnawa
Police Division after the case was reported there.

Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Femi Adenaike,
who confirmed the incident, said it was
true Alex Okpe was arrested and during interrogation
confessed to have killed Murtala Aminu at a party
venue.

Adenaike said Okpe claimed in his statement that he
fired at Muri in “self defense” when he and his friends
were trying to fight him over his girlfriend.

He said the police didn’t send Okpe to Barnawa at that
time and if he is found guilty, he would be dismissed and
taken to court for trial.

“The suspect is in the cell and we have commenced
investigation. And if he is found guilty, we will give him
an in-house trial and summary dismissal so that he can
face the law for homicide,” the state police boss said.

Adenaike urged the family of the deceased to remain
calm as the police are doing everything possible to
investigate the case and ensure justice is done.

The blind father of the late Muritala, Muhammad Jimoh,
told journalists at press conference at their High-Cost
residence that as a Muslim he’s taught to accept the
death of his son and bread winner as an act of God.

But he said if his son had to die, it should not be in the
hands of a policeman who should have been responsible
for protecting him.

“Yes my son, a first class economist for that matter and
our hope, is dead, but I want justice done in this case,”
Aminu said.

Until Murtala Aminu’s death, he was the youth leader,
Catholic Holy Family Church, Barnawa.
He also owned a shawamar and roasted fish outlet at
Narayi-Highcost.

This Article is dedicated to Murtala Aminu, a young man of quality, who was murdered while trying to protect another human from violence, he payed with his life, he was cut down by the very people who are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a violent free society, “Muri” had a choice, he could have walked away, but the humanity in him would not allow it, and so he stepped in to prevent another person from becoming a victim of domestic violence, I am pretty sure he prevented the loss of the lady’s life, the trigger happy cop would have shot her instead out of anger, and his desire to control.

We salute you “Muri”, we celebrate your courage, and even in death, we will continue to admire and exthole your virtues, in this Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Beyond.

Rest In Peace Murtala Aminu AKA “MURI”

Posted On The Move By The Priest