My madam, I call her mummy is a good woman to me.
So, the things that happened to me wasn’t because I wanted to dupe her or steal from her and carry away her jewelry, no.
There’s no reason for me to repay her good deeds with wickedness. Up till today, more than two months since that thing happened to me. I still don’t understand it fully.
I came to work for mummy four years ago in Anthony village.
Mummy has been very good to me. When I came, I was almost 17 years old and was almost in SS1. I said almost because it was after I did my JSS3 that my parents said I should start working. They couldn’t feed and send all five of us to school. Even my senior brother too had left school and was already learning work at the mechanic place in our town in Akwa Ibom.
My aunty was the one who has a friend who has an agency where she helps people get jobs. So that is how I got this job with mummy in Lagos. I had worked with one woman selling food before but the woman was very wicked; she sold food but starved those of us working for her.
But mummy is different, she is a real mother to me. She said, “Why are you not in school?” I told her my parents needed the money but I liked school a lot. So she told me she didn’t want me to waste my young age; after working for her for about a year, she enrolled me in one of the schools in the area and I have been going to school. I make sure I finish my morning work, early, then I go to school. I return at 2pm to continue working in the house and the work isn’t even much because mummy is old, she is almost 70; she doesn’t get up until that kind 11am in the morning. I would have put her tea in a flask and set her breakfast; sometimes it would be in the oven to keep it warm. She taught me these things.
By the time I am back from school, she would have taken breakfast and may be back to bed…she sleeps a lot in the day and at night doesn’t get to sleep until about 2am…she’s an old woman, so I think that’s how they are.
Mummy always sends me on errands to her friends and her other family members around Lagos. She had taken me to these places and I know how to board buses going to these places as well. So this day, she told me I should go see her friend at Iju and collect the aso ebi for one wedding she wanted to attend.
It was a Saturday. I got to the bus stop and was waiting for bus to take me to under bridge Ikeja where I would go and find Iju Ishaga bus. I was standing there at Anthony bus stop when two men were talking about finding a street in Anthony. They were saying, “Olorunlogbon is on the other side of Anthony…” Olorunlogbo is a popular street in Anthony, I know the place, so I told them, “Olorunlogbo is not far, just follow that road…”
I don’t remember what else I said. I just know I was seized by something that held me tight as if someone used a thick cloth to wrap me very, very tiiiiighttt.
Then the two men began to tell me to take them to our house.
Deep within me, I knew something was not ok. I was telling my self, ‘no, go to Iju, go and get mummy’s aso ebi.’ But another voice in my head was saying, “take them home, take them home…”
I wanted to ask the people passing by to help me but I as I opened my mouth to talk, the words didn’t come out well.
One of the men told me “If you open your mouth, I go make you craze.”
So, I just obeyed what they told me…”go to your house.”
Then deep in my mind, I just began to pray…”Let them not kill me and mummy in the house, God, I beg you…”
We got to the house; mummy was still in her room. I knew she hadn’t come out because she would usually leave her door wide open.
They told me, go and bring out all “your trinkets, your gold…”
Deep in my mind, I was telling myself, “Do I look like someone who has gold? Is it not mummy’s gold?” Everything was in mummy’s room…what will I do?
I walked into mummy’s room, she was still in bed…I went straight to her wardrobe, I opened her drawers and packed all her gold and earrings and money and gave it to the men.
Later later when our eyes cleared, Mummy said that when I entered her room, she asked me, “Rose, what are you still doing here?” she said I did not answer, then when she saw one of the men enter her room with me, she knew they were thieves.
She said, she was just telling them, please, take whatever you want…me, I didn’t even hear her. I only heard the men telling me to “bring everything.”
They took mummy’s wristwatches and mummy has plenty, even gold earrings, money…they collected her ATM and told her to give them her pin number. So one of them took it to the bank close to us and withdrew all our money from there…
They told mummy, “If you call police, we will come back!”
I don’t even know when they left. I know they had a Ghana must go bag. They took bags, shoes…money.
I don’t know when they left. I just sat there in the parlour after they packed everything. Even mummy was shaking, she was crying, she was telling me, I should help her dress up so she could go to the police. She was saying, “Let us go and report, let us go and report to the police…”
Aunty, when we got to the police station…mummy said, “Let us go back home…”
We didn’t report. We just turned around and went back home.
Till today, I am afraid to go out, I am afraid to go to school. Mummy called her family members and they have been living with us. We are so afraid of everything now.
Only God can save us!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)