I called the police on my son and sent him to jail.
I am a mother and like all good mothers, I have labored for my children, I have stood in the gap for them, praying night and day for them to succeed in life.
I came into the UK almost 15 years ago, all my children were abroad, so I relocated to join them. I have six of them, three from one father, two from another and the last one from a different father.
I know you will be telling yourself, this woman is promiscuous. Maybe I am, maybe I am not but my children were the reason I married the men who fathered all of them. Things happened between me and my first husband and led me to leave him; it was beating, beating and near strangulation…that was the final straw. I took my children and ran.
The second husband was not a husband, he was just someone I had children for, my set of twins. That one would leave the house for days and suddenly show up looking like a mad man. I got tired of looking for him on the streets on the days he went “missing.” At that time, too, I had five children to care for, the twins were babies and so when he left one time, I didn’t bother to go looking for him…we haven’t found him to date…well, till I left Nigeria, nobody knows what happened to him. He is assumed dead.
Then the last man, he was the best of them. He was the best but he died. His name was Bori and one day he slumped on the steering wheel, they said cardiac arrest…at age 45! I have a son with him, he’s my last born. Bori was the one who sponsored my other children abroad way back in the early 80s to 90s…before he died.
Anyway, I haven’t come to talk about my husbands, I have come to talk about my son, one of the twins I bore for my second man.
Taiwo was a problem child from day one but he was such a good handy man. He would draw well and knock things together to make that thing he drew. Carpentry was his thing.
So as a mother, I didn’t give up on him; I believed he had problems in school because no one understood him; if his restlessness could be properly channeled, then we would get the best out of him. But he would skip classes, he would be among those who waylaid other students either to molest them or do something nasty, he would be among those students called out on assembly grounds…you know.
Omo buruku l’omo na!
Nasty child, he was!
I tried to help him, for where? His sister, Kenny is the exact opposite; she excelled at school, she was obedient at home…a model child. And mark you, I never spared the rod with Taiwo. But I was often exasperated, he just exhausted me so much so that I hardly had enough time to properly raise the rest of his siblings. It was while I was at the police station to bail him one time when police raided a joint he was at and arrested him along with several others that I met my last husband…the good one, yes. He was a lawyer, my Bori.
Anyway, By the time Taiwo finished university, I had married Bori, my last husband. Bori had begun to process my other children’s papers to go abroad. You know, he did the first one, the second…I didn’t want him to do for Taiwo because I knew the sort of person he was. He would go abroad and disgrace our name and be jailed and even get his siblings in trouble but Bori believed Taiwo would change…
The first few years abroad for Taiwo actually were calm, But after a while, he got a connection to go to America. He said a company wanted to hire him, it was a construction company and truth be told, Taiwo was good with his hands, he did all the carpentry work in our house…when he was in a good mood which wasn’t often.
Taiwo, at this time, was in his mid -20s and I was beginning to think the bad years were behind us…but my husband Bori died suddenly when our last child was just 7years old then…all my other children were abroad, some in the UK, some in America, all doing well. So I decided to go live with my first son who had settled in the UK and had already got married to an Asian girl. We were just meant to stay there until I and my last child were settled elsewhere because my last born is a citizen of the UK.
Anyway, after a few years, two years, I think, our Asian iyawo wanted us to leave because they wanted to start their own family and rather than cause wahala in my son’s home, I decided maybe we should go to America and live with Taiwo. In America, it looked to me like Taiwo had finally found what he was good at. He had even met a girl he wanted to marry; they were living together.
But Taiwo’s was just hiding himself, his true character soon began to seep out like smoke.
One day, Taiwo’s girlfriend, Isabella, we called her Bella, she came running to me saying Taiwo wanted to kill her. The girl had blood on her head, bruises all over her body. I died that night.
When he came charging after her, threatening her, I said, “Taiwo, this is not Nigeria where you will beat another man’s child and go scot free, they will jail you forever in this land if they catch you!”
He didn’t even answer me, he said she was cheating on him… “is that why you want to kill her?” I asked.
The Taiwo I saw was not my Taiwo. This one was a beast with flaming eyes. He was not himself, I recognized that glazed drug look from past experience.
I took care of the girl and begged her not to call the police; though the girl has Nigerian parents but she is an American citizen, you know how their women behave? They’ll call the police on you sharp, sharp!
But to be honest, I think Bella truly loved Taiwo because beg her or not, she would have gone ahead to report this abuse.
The abuse continued and each time, I would beg the girl but I was also a victim of such abuse at one time in my life and even though it was in Nigeria where they say women should endure these things, I knew I was asking too much of the girl to keep begging for my son?
What if she was my own daughter? Would I beg like that for Kenny, for instance? I called my other children to talk to their brother, they did, he was just bent on his ways.
So, one day, I heard Bella crying in their room upstairs, after I had seen Taiwo storm out of the room. I checked on Bella, there were no bruises, she was just crying.
I went downstairs, picked up the phone and called the police. I described Taiwo to them and said he was a serial abuser, I hung up when they wanted to know who was calling.
My heart almost popped out of my chest as I made the call. I knew the implications; I knew the repercussions. My son would go to jail for a long time.
When the police came, Bella finally admitted Taiwo had been assaulting her; police went to pick him up and charged him to court after which the placed a restraining order on him; then they found out he was one of those had also been involved in several internet and card fraud, all kinds of scams, so they jailed him, 25years to life!
Isn’t that foolishness? You are involved in duping people and you are still assaulting a woman that can easily call the police on you?
He knew I called the police on him but I told him I did it for his own good, I knew I should give up on him but…I travel twice a year to see him in jail. Is it convenient, no. Do I regret it no. I still pray for him, he’s my son but being in jail may be the best thing for him.
I have no regrets.
I left America back to the UK again. My last born is grown, we live in his flat and I am looking forward to the day he will graduate from university.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)