Me? Force her into prostitution? I don’t know where you got the story that I forced Georgina into prostitution, the girl was already one. I just told her to be useful with it.
Look, I am an old man and I have seen my share of this life so you can’t come to me, accusing me of what I didn’t do, I won’t accept it!
Georgina herself will not come to me to say, I pushed her into ashawo work. It’s something she enjoys doing.
I am a retired officer of the law. I retired as a Sargent after 35 years! When I was on the job, I provided for my family the best way I could. We lived in the barracks until I had to retire. I had to give up the flat I was given. That’s what happens when you retire. I retired due to an injury I suffered while off duty. See my leg…it refused to heal…that’s why I look older than 62 years. It’s a long story but I want to respond to the accusation you brought here.
I agree that I had too many children, I had 8 children with my wife. You know, I also lived rough. I drink a lot because…life is harsh!
I had just one wife, Obiageli. She was Georgina’s mother. My wife died in the accident I told you I got injured from. Anyway, I couldn’t function properly as an officer even though my commanding officer really tried for me. I was still on the job for 7 more years before I had to go into early retirement. My gratuity was paid 4 and a half years after I retired.
When we first moved from the barracks, we came straight here, to Ajegunle. The cost of getting a house wasn’t much then. Then when I got my gratuity, I bought an okada to use to make more money to feed my children.
Georgina has always been wayward
Not all my children live with me; the three elder boys have left home; two are mechanics and one is in Abuja working for a supermarket. The fourth child, a girl, Justina, is working for one madam. She doesn’t live with me, she lives with the madam. Georgina is next, the third to the last. From the very beginning, she had been a wild child!
When we were still at the barracks, my wife was always quarreling with Georgina because we often heard stories that she was sleeping around!
We heard that she had slept with all the boys in the barracks! My own child! She wasn’t even doing it for money!
Look, no parent wants that but Georgina is wild!
We tried to discipline her but she was just too wild. She would run away from the house for days. I agree the conditions at home weren’t great but I tried my best. I was given a two-room flat. My wife and two of our youngest children slept in one room. The others shared the other room. The house was choked. The conditions were horrible, you know police barracks, now. But that was all I could provide for them. After all, there were other officers too, like me, with many children, in the same conditions and their children were not wayward like Georgina. So I can’t blame the environment.
Georgina was 15 years old when all this nonsense began. Even though I knew some of the officers and boys she was said to be sleeping with, I couldn’t confront them, I faced my own child and disciplined her!
Then after we had to leave the barracks, after my wife had died…you know, I couldn’t even afford to rent a room. I still had five of my children living with me. Maybe, say four because Georgina was never fully living with us. Justina, the one senior to Georgina, hadn’t got a job with the madam at that time.
We moved to Ajegunle
I moved to Ajegunle. It was cheaper and we rented this place. It’s on top of a dump but this is where we call home. This is what I could afford. I couldn’t do any other job. Even as security, nobody wanted a security guard with a bad leg.
When I got my gratuity, I bought okada to use for business and feed my children. The remaining three boys were in school, Jakande secondary school.
As for Georgina, I only saw her a few times, her prostitutions will not let us see her regularly.
As you know, okada business isn’t lucrative anymore. When the government banned okada in many places, many of the riders came to our area to do business. So there are too many of us here. And look at me, I am an old man, how many rides would I make to earn even N3000 per day?
I used to make up to N5 sometimes, N6000 per day but since everywhere here is okada, okada… business is bad now!
Ok, so feeding the children, and even buying school shoes and clothes was a problem for me. That’s when I told Georgina to be “useful.” I told her, if she is fully into prostitution, she should at least use it to bring food home to us.
The other day, the landlord increased our rent, yes, this zinc house has a landlord. The man increased the rent. I couldn’t afford the increase on top of feeding three children. I also knew the man had been eyeing Georgina on the days he comes here and sees her. So I told her to go and meet the landlord and “settle” with him so that he won’t increase our rent.
She refused to help with proceeds from her prostitution!
She said, no!
I got angry. She began to abuse me openly and called me all sorts of names saying I was asking her to prostitute herself!
That’s when I said, “If you are using your toto for fun, at least, use it to help your family. I hear you sleep with everything that had something between their legs, your business no dey hep your family?”
Well, she went, she went to do what she knows how to do and the landlord has changed his tone, we are no longer owing rent…for now.
Maybe that’s what the neighbours heard and are saying I am forcing her into prostitution. Is it the prostitution she isn’t already in?
Is it today she has been sleeping around?
The girl is very stupid, other girls around here are doing it and building houses for their parents, she is just giving out her own for free!
That’s all I am saying if you will sleep around, use it to help us!
Is that one by force?
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)