I am a 36 years old nursing mother with a three month old baby and it is not true that a man died on top of me at the hotel.
By the time I met Ajani, the one who died in the hotel room, I was half way out of Kilani’s house; that is my husband. Kilani was not treating me well. He beats me at the slightest excuse; came home drunk and when he is drunk that’s when he wants to have sex.
And he never gave me money to take care of the house nor our son. We have a boy of 9 years.
Then I met Ajani. He was much older than I; about 60 something. We met at the Miliki joint. I used to be a cook at the place. We serve food during the day time and at night, we serve pepper soup and fried meat for people who come to drink beer.
I have been their cook for the past 5years.
Ajani was one of our customers and I knew he was already married with three wives; he himself told me two of them didn’t live with him; only one did. As a Muslim, I knew he could marry up to four wives, so when he began to show interest in me, I was not thinking him being married was a problem.
We began to ‘meet’ regularly at the hotel that is in another area. Why? Haba, I can’t be seen going with a man to a hotel around where people know me. Anyway that is how I got pregnant.
When I told Ajani, he said he would take the child, he said I shouldn’t worry. But I knew that my husband would kill me if he found out I got pregnant for another man. So, I let him think the pregnancy was his. That was how I was doing it.
Then around six months into pregnancy I began “spotting” blood so I went to General Hospital. The doctor said I must stop work and stay at home till I am due. I really wanted the pregnancy to last because, though I have a son, I wanted another child to hold and I wanted to carry Ajani’s child. So, I told him about it and my madam at the shop. They both agreed I should rest at home until I am due.
I stayed home for six months. The first three months was when my baby was due. I delivered her at General. The next three months was because the baby was born CS so I was home and my mother was taking care of me. I couldn’t do anything because of the surgery. But throughout all this time, Ajani was calling and sending money to my account, especially after the baby was born, he gave me N50, 000!
Meanwhile, my own husband began to beat me again shortly after the baby was born, despite the fact that my mother was with us to help me care for the baby, he was still coming home to beat me over any small quarrel.
So, whenever Ajani called me to come see him at ‘our’ hotel, I would go there to ‘meet’ him but I didn’t tell my mother what I was doing. My mother will never agree to that kind of thing. I would just tell her I was going to the market and from there, go and see Ajani.
That day, we had even ‘finished’ and he was already in the shower. He was telling me about his plans to rent a flat for me; that he had asked one estate agent to look for a flat not too far from where he lived at Magodo area.
We were talking, him in the shower, me in the room when I heard him make one funny sound, ‘Ha, what is that?’
I went to the bathroom to check; I found him on the floor. I was shocked. I quickly pulled him out from under the shower and dragged him to the bedroom. I was shaking him and calling his name but his eyes were just rolling back and there was small foam in his mouth. I said God forbid bad thing. I quickly pulled on his trousers, so that if I called for help, nobody would see him naked. Then I called for help. I called the hotel manager who knows us very well.
That was how we bundled Ajani to the health centre but they refused to take him, doctors were on strike. I refused to take him away from there, I told them, do something to revive, him, at least. They did, then they said, take him to General. I was just crying, Ajani, don’t die, don’t die please, my own is finished if you die.
He died before we even got to general hospital at Ikeja.
I don’t know who went to report the case. I just know that before I even left the general hospital, police came, asked me my name, asked me if I was the one who was with Ajani when he collapsed, arrested me and brought me to station.
Look at my breasts, they are gorged with milk; my child is waiting for me. Its three days now, my husband has been bringing the baby to the station to be breastfed and then he takes her back.
I repeat, Ajani did not die on top of me, he fell in the shower.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)