I am a nursing mother, look at my breasts, they are full and gorged and very painful because I haven’t been able to feed my four months old baby for almost three days now. She has been taken away to be with my mother in the village.
I am here because of Moses my neighbour. Moses was a vulcaniser by the petrol station that is down the road from the main market here in Makurdi. The Moses we all know in the Bible was not a troublesome person but this Moses, my neighbour was born with trouble attached to his name. He is the only one who makes trouble with everyone in the whole house. He will never mind his own business. The log in his eyes, he will not remove but the small sansan from another person eye is what he wants to remove.
Moses was always putting his big mouth in my affairs. Before I gave birth to my baby four months ago, he told everyone in our yard that I was a harlot and that I do not know the father of my baby.
Who will hear that kind of talk and keep quiet?
I went and knocked on his door and warned him seriously to stop gossiping about me. What is his business with who the father of my baby is? Or did I ask him to be the father of my child?
That day instead of him to apologise for saying such bad things about me, he even added more, he said the men outside will tear my something for me because I am just jumping from one person to another. That day, it was other neighbours that separated us because I wanted to pieces him, the man will never mind his own business.
After I gave birth to a baby girl four months ago, I’ve been trying to mind my own business in the compound because I am now a mother and I tried to avoid Moses wahala but every time he pass me either on the corridor or by the tap at the back of the house, he must always say one bad thing or another but I never even replied to any of it. He is a troublesome man, a man that behaved like a woman, in fact, all our neighbours know he had a very bad mouth.
So some days ago, I was outside the house collecting breeze because there was no light that day. My baby was sleeping in the room and I left the windows and net door open so that she will not be hot. I was peeling oranges when Moses waka pass. I was already preparing to hear him say another bad thing about me.
He said I am a chronic ashawo that I left my baby crying yesterday and went to do ashawo work. I told him I went to do my hair that I did not abandon my baby. But he just kept saying many things, saying I will soon carry belle again and no man will take the baby. My body was just boiling as he was saying those things. So I just threw the orange at him and abused him too, I told him he is an impotent man, that is why he has no wife. Then we started fighting. He beat me and I tried to defend myself. I picked the knife I was using to peel orange and stabbed him by the side, I didn’t even know the stab was deep, I just saw plenty of blood.
Then our neighbours who have been hearing us quarrel came outside and quickly carried him to the hospital. I wanted to follow them but I rushed to go and pick my baby from the room. When I got out, they had already left. So I waited in the house.
Police came to my house around midnight, they said they are arresting me for murder, they said Moses is dead. I have been in this cell for almost one week now, see my breasts, they are hard with milk for my child. I am only 22 years old and I have a four months old daughter, please help me.
Please note, these are true Newspaper reports extended into longer narratives; the real names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved. Edited by Peju Akande