See, eh, what I am about to tell you, I pray never happens even to my worst enemy.
I was a banker in one of the first generation banks some 25 years ago. Yes, long time ago.
My bank was not in Lagos at that time. I was attached to a branch in one of the south western states. You know once you are not in Lagos, life outside is not as exciting but then, I was young, had just finished my NYSC two years prior and had been retained at the bank I served.
Like I said, I was young and I was looking for fun. I was about 25 years.
Now, it happened that there was a local chief who was one of our top customers and he always came to our bank to deposit cash.
Those were also the days when ATM was not even on the radar; people had to physically come to the bank to do virtually everything. Electronic banking was still quite new and not popular. Then, people would come to the bank and queue for long hours. Life was tough then for us bankers hecause everything was done analog style.
This chief always came to the bank in white agbada with beads on his neck and wrists and he brought one old weather beaten suitcase filled with money every day to the bank. I later found out he owned a petrol station and a restaurant in town; which explains why he came to the bank every day to deposit cash. He came in between 6 -7pm every evening.
This Chief, I later heard, was a philanderer even though he had three wives. I was told he chased everything in skirts. So, you see he had quite a reputation plus of course, he was rich.
I was looking for fun but not looking to be chief’s fourth wife or 10th concubine.
One day our paths crossed when the regular guy who always assisted chief in counting his money was not around. Ours was a small branch, our entire staff that period was about 15. Many times, we were doing three people’s work or more. That day, my manager assigned me to Chief.
Like I said it was evening and I was prepping to go home, not home like that, I was going out to meet someone. As you know, when ladies are leaving the office, we usually freshen up. I had just redone my makeup and worn my heels instead of the slippers I was moving around the office with. I was set.
So when my boss said to go and assist Chief, for me, it was a show spoiler because there was this guy who had been toasting me for weeks, we were supposed to meet that day.
Anyway, I helped chief count his money and logged it in then posted for the day. Chief complimented my looks, told me I would be his 4th wife. I knew he was teasing but even then, I was flattered. This chief could be my father’s age mate, so just understand that I knew he was a no go area.
Before chief left that day he gave me N3000!
In those days, it was a fortune because my salary was barely N15,000 even though bankers at that time were one of the highest paid people but I was still junior by far!
I was flattered. I went on my knees to thank Chief and what I would do with that money was already in my head.
To be honest, I had no thoughts about sleeping with chief or having any kind of affair with him. I just felt lucky.
The following day, the Chief asked for me again even though his regular guy had returned and every time, he would dash me money. Sometime, N1000, sometimes N1,500
Then one day, he asked me to see him outside.
At this time, I was prepared to lie that I was engaged to another person, I was not interested.
Anyway, as expected, chief told me he was interested in me. He told me he didn’t want any answers yet, that he would give me time to think about it.
When I wanted to talk, he shushed me up and said ‘Ronke, think first before you talk, I will teach you many things.’
After that, he would come, compliment me, dash me money then talk about his business; no more amorous talks. I began to wonder if he had lost interest in me and was just being polite.
One day, he invited me to his petrol station, he told me one of his wives and staff were colluding to rob him. He showed me the account books. At this time, I concluded what chief wanted from me was a smart person to check his books and not necessarily any kind of romance.
So, I began to help him spot the loop holes and pretty soon, Chief was able to tell who took money from where. I got paid for this too.
Some weeks after this, a woman came to the bank; those were the days when security was not as tight as they are today, no electronic doors or stuff like that.
This woman walked in with a man then asked for Ronke.
‘Where is she? Where is the harlot that wants to take my husband from me?’
My heart was pounding. I didn’t even think she was one of chief’s wives, my own was, who is this woman?
That day, I was stationed at the customer service unit, my desk was in the banking hall. The man just pointed at me. I recognized him as the manager at Chief’s petrol station.
The woman walked up to me and smiled as she opened her bag and brought out a black nylon. Then before I knew it, she had emptied the content on me. It was shit, as in excreta, igbe!
She poured it on me, from my head down.
I screamed, I was shaking, the smell filled the banking hall. I didn’t even know when I began to brush it off and it smeared me.
I screamed and tore my blouse off, tore my skirts off, just to run from all the smell and shame. Everyone in the banking hall took off!
My sister, it’s more than 25years, so I can talk about it now.
That day, I am not sure how I got to the staff toilet; I think someone led me to the toilet because at that time, my mind was in turmoil. I wasn’t even thinking, all I wanted to do was rid myself of the shit, remove my clothes, scrub myself and never ever step into that bank ever again!
Nobody stopped that woman, nobody helped me. I mean, I was smeared in shit! In Yoruba land, that is the height of shame. I was accused of being a mistress but really, it was to stop me from helping chief nail the culprits who had been stealing from him. I leave them all to God!
I never went back to the bank. The following day, I packed all my belongings and came here to Lagos, to my parents. It took me months to get over this.
My parents were instrumental in getting me back to my feet. For many months, I had nightmares of being smeared in shit all over again!
Like I said, I pray this never happens to anyone I know, even my worst enemy because 25years after, I still smell that shit!
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)