I decided to relocate to Lagos after my NYSC; maybe I should have stayed quietly in my town, where I was familiar with everything and everyone but I had heard too many fun stories about Lagos; I wanted to come and make it ‘big’ myself.
You know when you want to come to a big city, you will try to find familiar faces, people, places you can start from? So I asked my mother to talk to her sister who lived in Lagos with her family.
Now my aunty has a husband we all knew was a mean man; I had heard several stories about him; how he used to beat my aunt and her kids, how he would even bring his girlfriends into their home and my aunty would dare not raise her voice…all kinds of stories. He was a bad man, I knew.
But you see, aunty Pat was the only familiar face for me in Lagos; she lived in a big house with her children and husband and I wanted to just spend a some.tume there until I got a job and could leave to rent my own space.
I didn’t go to Lagos naïve; I figured it would be rough at the beginning and before I left, I had also managed to secure an interview at a small advertising firm.
I arrived Lagos around 5-5.30pm; the traffic from that Ojota was mad and my aunty resided at Bariga. I had been told what bus to board and so on but traffic will not let Lagos be great. I got to my aunty’s house at a few minutes past 9pm.
Her husband was also getting home at that time, so we kind of entered their gate together; he asked me who I was and I introduced myself. I had seen his photos, so I recognised him.
He was a huge man, well over 6 feet and he was as broad as he was huge but surprisingly, carried himself well. He said my aunty had told him about me coming to stay with them for a while and he asked after my parents. He said I was a big girl and that I would soon become a Lagos big girl and boys would be lining up in his house to see me.
That was our first interaction; yes he knew my parents, as per ‘in-laws concern’ but because of all the bad things I had heard about him, I couldn’t relax and take his jokes at face value.
I was to share a room with two of my cousins; the daughters, they gave me a spare mattress that I threw on the floor. I just crashed after a shower and small pep talk with them.
That very night, in the middle of the night, a huge weight came upon me, a hand came to my mouth, the face above me was my uncle, he removed my wrapper and raped me while his daughters, surprisingly had disappeared from the room!
Look at me, I am 4 feet four inches. I hate eating, I can be thrown clean off that window like paper. I was totally powerless; shocked, afraid, deeply disappointed…on my first night! First night, no warning prior, no help from the so called cousins! It looked like it was staged; like they had been told to leave once he came and be back when he left!
I cried throughout the rest of the night and my cousins didn’t ask me why I was crying; they didn’t get up to console me; I didn’t need a prophet to tell me they were accomplices.
I knew I couldn’t stay in that house the following night; my mind was as ravaged as my body was. I wasn’t sure whether my aunty was aware, I thought she was because if her daughters knew, then she must know. I left that house the following morning with0 a clear intention of heading right back to my parents.
My aunty kept asking why I wanted to leave, I was angry she was asking because I knew she was aware, but I couldn’t talk. I was afraid, ashamed…but what if she didn’t know? Then she would go confront a man that would beat her silly because of me?
I told her a friend of mine had a space close to the place I was going for interview; the friend had asked me to come but I promised aunty I would stay in touch.
I went to the bus stop to find a bus back to Ojota, you know Lagos, if you carry load, bus hopping will be difficult because these danfo buses will not stop long enough for you to gather your load and jump in.
I was still wondering how I would jump into the next bus when I someone shouted my name from a moving bus. It was an old school mate who was in another bus, saw me at the bus stop, got down and came to meet me. She was a godsend. As soon as she hugged me, I just burst into tears and before I knew what I was doing, I was telling her what happened to me.
She invited me to come live with her and a few others who all shared a two bedroom in Pedro. There were 6 of them, I joined them, slept on a wrapper for a few days. Got the job that paid N56,340…after tax et al. It was small but I loved it. I stayed in that apartment, paying my share for about two years. I got a mattress, camp gas, small, small things and when I got another job that paid better, I moved with my friend to another two bedroom at Ilupeju.
Now, all of this time, I was still in pain, I was depressed, I still couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents. They were always so happy for me. I didn’t want anything to taint it. But I resolved to have my revenge against these people. my uncle, my aunt, my two cousins!
What did I do to deserve this? Ok, if their deranged father coerced them, they could have shown me some sympathy after he left, but they didn’t say a word to me!
I will have my revenge, I swear, I will go after them when they think I have forgotten; it may take years, but I will wait for all of them, they will become vulnerable one day, then I will hit them hard!
Until then, I won’t rest!
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)