Me, the wife of a thief!
My legs were shaking as their insults hit me like missiles the day I went to the General hospital at Gbagada to visit my boyfriend, Obele.
I had been told he was stabbed and was taken to the emergency ward of the hospital by police men. The person who informed me called me on the phone. He didn’t reveal his name nor tell me why or who stabbed Obele and how come the police took him to the hospital?
Obele is my boyfriend; we have been dating since I left school that’s about 6 years ago. I won’t call him my husband, though we live in the same house. He has not fully carried my bride price and where I come from, no matter how long you have lived with a man, if he does not carry the necessary traditional gifts to your parents, you the woman cannot go out and say, ‘He’s my husband.’ So in that case, Obele is just my boyfriend.
We are both from Kogi state but both of us grew up here in Lagos.
How did we meet?
At school. We both went to secondary school at Oshodi, after secondary school, we both enrolled as part-time students at LASPOTECH and we both studied Biz Admin- Business Administration. Our parents couldn’t afford to send us to further our education so instead of just being a nonentity; we enrolled as part-time students and got jobs at one of the popular fast food joints, me as sales girl and Obele, as security man.
Those three years of part-time study was trouble for us, me because I had to write Obele’s assignments and often even his tests many times. You see, as a security staff, he hardly had time to come for lectures, copy notes or even sit for tests. I did all of these because I knew he has the ability to be a great person in life. I mean, yes, he talks about making it big, doing business, he’s not lazy or any such thing, he’s always helping people, he’s always trying to find solutions to things when they happen that’s why I like him a lot.
So you can imagine my shock, when I got that phone call, saying he had been stabbed and was at the emergency ward of the General Hospital.
I called Obele’s number several times and got no response, I even called Hakeem’s number, his close friend and it was switched off. So I hurried over to the hospital. My thoughts were, Obele must either have been separating fights or helping someone who now mistakenly stabbed him. I was almost running mad by the time I got to the hospital.
The nurse at the nurses’ station was rude. As you can imagine many nurses are like that in government hospitals. Where I work as a sales girl, they tell us the customer is important, without the customer, there’s no salary. But that day, I was in no mood to feel bad about their attitude, I just begged one of them by slipping a N200 note into her hand and asked where I could find Obele, I told her he was my husband and he’d been stabbed and I was told he was brought in by the Police.
She pointed to a corridor where several long trolleys were kept. One of the trolleys had someone covered in a blue bed sheet. The face was covered, meaning the person was dead.
I froze immediately and ran back to the nurse.
‘Aunty nurse, there’s no body in the corridor, I didn’t see my husband in the corridor”
“He’s dead, na! Won o so fun e ni?
I almost passed out!
How? When? Why?
I began to cry, there was no one to hold me, no one to say to me, why are you crying so painfully? I was just going crazy, pulling at my hair and running around. Then the nurse came back and said I was disturbing the peace, that my husband was a thief and had been stabbed by one of the victims he and his gang went to rob!
That was when I lost it. I lashed at the nurse and held her in a choke. She had taken my money and still had the guts to call my Obele a thief.
Shame has no home but it found one with me that day. The other nurses rushed to rescue her. They called me all sorts of names, they were still at it when a policeman came by and I was arrested as an accomplice.
‘To what?” I asked
“Armed robbery and arms possession,” I was told. They said I had to prove I knew nothing about Obele’s activities since I was his wife.
“I’m not his wife!” Too late.
I don’t know where to start my story. Since the day I was arrested, I have neither seen any of Obele’s friends nor mine for that matter. How do I prove my innocence?
My name? It’s Rafiat Lawal.
Compiled and Edited by Peju Akande