I travelled to Adaobi’s place in Lagos. It was the house she brought me to when I first came visiting. When I got there, I met an old woman who told me that Adaobi and her family had packed out of the place. I was very confused when the woman was telling me that. “No be the person wey talk say dem no get money to treat her mama na im come get money to pack out. Abi the old woman dey whine me!” But she can’t be lying because when I got to the flat, it was empty and “flat to rent” sign post was at the door. I even saw a similar sign post at the compound gate. “Have I been scammed? Have I been made a fool by Adaobi and her people?” All that were my thoughts. I felt I had been played on. Something again came up in my mind. That “what of if they packed into a smaller and more affordable accommodation. As I was thinking about that, even if they were moving, she should have just told me, but she didn’t, and now her line was not going. So with that I believed I was defrauded by Adaobi. Infact, I believed that what happened at their house when I first went there was a staged drama. Everything was staged to make me feel compassionate and sq££zed out my heart earned money to give to them. I was very bitter because of what I had in my Account at that moment was N950,000. The money wey I dey save to start a screen printing business. “My online business was no longer moving and Adaobi is defrauding me.”
I boarded a car going to Abeokuta from Oshodi. As I was in the car, I felt disappointed in Adaobi. I never felt she could do such a thing. I trusted her. The thing pain me so-te I dey find someone to confide in. I wished my two guys, Uchenna and Abisoko were around. Na dem for encourage me, infact they would hint me on how to get the money back. The incident spoilt my mood.
When I got back to Abeokuta, my house rent had already expired and I didn’t intend renewing it since I was no longer a regular student. My intentions were just to come for continuous assessment test, practical class and the exams I had for my carry over courses as a final non graduating student (FNG). I had already taken so many of my belongings back home to Ilorin. It was only remaining some electronics which I intend to just give them out.
Few weeks later after I had relieved myself from the worries and pains I went through with the Adaobi’s case, I was going into web designing which I had done the training. I want to start designing websites for people and cooperate organization. “I just wanted to have another source of income since my mini importation business had just collapsed. Nobody was doing any pre-order or asking me to order goods for them.”
“When I was in 300 Level, uchenna and Abisoko had encouraged me that after graduation, I should relocate to Lagos since I had flair for information technology, and that moving from Ilorin to Lagos would help my career. I had agreed but since my guys were no longer available, and I don’t know anyone in Lagos.” “If it was when I was into Yahoo yahoo, the money was there. I would just go rent house and start another life there in Lagos.” But money no dey again. I no know anybody for the Lagos wey I go just stay with till my hand strong for business.
It looked as if there was light at the tunnel because, my web design was gradually picking up even though the money being offered was pretty low. But I felt it was encouraging. I was becoming popular with the work and small organizations were still coming to me for their website management.
Few months later after I had finished my first semester exams in my Final non graduating (FNG) level, I travelled to Lagos for a one week internship program on Information technology. Accommodation and logistics were taken care of by the organizers of the program. Two days of the start of the program, one of our house keepers called to tell me that my mom was in the hospital. “What happened?” I asked. She said my mom was bitten by a snake in her shop. “Chaiiiii.” I called my mom to know how it really happened. She said she doesn’t know how snake got inside her office at the shop. The snake bit her left leg. But she said the doctors were treating her at the hospital. I really felt for her.
After the internship program, immediately I took my certificate of attendance, I rushed back to Ilorin. When I got home, my mom said she was gradually recovering from the pains of the snake bite. Because of the signs I saw, I was happy and encouraged by the health development.
As time went on, I and my mom realized the wound from the snake bite were not healing. We went back to the hospital. The doctors couldn’t diagnose her of any ailment. As time went on she started complaining about leg pains. Days and weeks pass and it was getting worse. The leg got swollen. We would go to the hospital, doctors would carry out tests on her and the leg but they won’t discover anything. We were losing much money going to hospitals. I was becoming restless. “My second semester exams were fast approaching. I never even get time to read.”
Days later, I decided to take my mom to a good private hospital in Lagos which was referred to us by one of her friends. We left for Lagos in a chattered car. When we got to the clinic, medical tests and scan were conducted on her. The doctors said the problem of the wound was an infection. It would require a surgery which would cost us N145,000. “Hmmm.” “Since I still had up to N475,000 in my account. Some jobs I had done, the clients were ye to pay me.” I asked the doctor to carry on with the surgery. But the doctor said we had to deposit N85,000 before anything can start and they have to admit her for one week at the hospital for some treatments which would help prepare her for the surgery.
So I had to leave my mom at the hospital on admission. I went back to Ilorin to get some of her clothes and some other stuffs she would need. I went back to Lgaos with one of the house keepers leaving the other two behind to take care of the house and other things.
When I got back to Lagos, I paid N170,000 for the surgery, drugs, bed space and other stuff.
The surgery was carried out and the area of the wound was bandaged. After a week later, it was loosened and we were told that she can be discharged. During all those processes in the hospital, we were regularly communicating with the house keepers on phone. My mom also communicated more often with her sales girls.
After the surgery, the medical team at the hospital asked us to be coming for medical check-ups regularly. After the discharge, I called the house keepers to inform them that we were coming back home, that they should prepare very sumptuous meals before we get back. We went back home straight to Ilorin. When we got to Ilorin, our house on chattered car. The door to our house was not locked with keys. We entered the compound and into the sitting room, it looked deserted. My mom called on the house keepers and no one was answering. The one with us went to their room because they share the same room. “I wondered were the 2 housekeepers had gone to, or maybe they are sleeping,” I thought to myself. Na so the housekeeper wey go check their room upstairs rushed back to us. She said she couldn’t find the other girl’s belongings in their room. We rushed to their room. All their bags were gone. “E be like say those girls done run oo.” “But I spoke with them on phone na that morning.” One of them picked my call and said they were waiting for us when I told her we were on our way.
“Why were they running?”
I took my phone and dialed their both numbers and it was saying “switched off.” “Kaiii, or has any bad thing happened to them?”
As I was wondering, “Yay, owo me,” my mom screamed “her money.” She rushed to her room where she said she kept some money. I followed her to her room only to discover that the N50,000 she kept inside her table locker had disappeared. Immediately, my mom called the contacts of her friends who linked her up with the house keepers to update them of what was going on. As we were busy thinking and wondering what was really going on, there was a knock on the door. I rushed down stairs to check. It was one of the neighbours who came to greet my mom. Na from there other neighbours begin come greet my mama. Na there we ask if they had seen the other two housekeepers and they said they hadn’t. One of them said she thought all of us were at the hospital together. Na so I tell them say na only one them we carry and left the rest two. Two of the neighbours confirmed that they saw the two other housekeepers 3 days back and since then, our house had been locked. Na so we open up to them say we just dey come in and we never see them oo and the money wey my mama keep, them don carry am run away.
A week gone and we hadn’t heard anything from our two house keepers. It was glaring that they had ran away. My mom contacted the people that brought the girls for her to inform and update them on the issue. We even reported the matter to the police sef.
Few weeks later after forgetting the money that the house keepers stole. We had to try if we could locate were they were and we couldn’t. The people who brought them to my mom said they can’t pay the money. “And my mom’s business, Provision supermarket was no longer doing too well. The web design business wasn’t moving again. Some organizations I help manage and maintain their websites were terminating my contracts with them. Clients are longer coming.” It just looked as if things were just wrong in my family. To make matters worse, my mom’s wound on her leg that looked as if it was healing resurfaced again. Infact it started bringing out water which was smelling. The hospital we had the surgery in Lagos, we went back couple of times and they said the only thing was to amputate the leg from knee down which I felt was not possible. I rejected the advice but other hospitals we went to still said the same thing, “to amputate it.” And that if not, the infection would spread. All that made me weak that I began weeping as one of the doctors at one of the hospitals we went was advising us. Me sef I no come understand all the wahala again. Even my mom disagreed on the amputation. We believed in miracle and what God can do. We had been spending a lot on that ailment. Na only N243,000 come remain for my account. My mama provision supermarket, we even struggle to even pay sales girls that some of them began leaving. And my mom was no longer fit to be going to the super market. She had been feeling deep pains on the leg. Walking with the leg had become a problem for her. She couldn’t go to her shop to supervise. Me sef, I had abandoned my own work seeking for solutions to our problems. “The small jobs I was getting from clients sef, I dey even struggle to do am.” Thank God for our remaining house keeper who was ably available in the house.
This particular Monday, I had just finished cleaning off the surface of my mom’s wound. A client called me on phone that he would be needing 2 good laptops not more N200,000 for both of them. Well I gave him my account number to pay in which he did and told him that his goods would be ready in a week time. He agreed. I called the distributor who I normally buy laptops from in Lagos about the deal. He was able to beat it down for me for N93,000 for one. “At least make I get my own share na.” My distributor even said he would send someone to deliver the laptops. So I was to pay N188,000 into his account. After the call, I already have my distributor’s account number so I immediately went to the bank to pay in. I made the exact payments we agreed in the bank and returned home. I called my distributor to tell him I had made the payments. He said the laptops were packaged so once he gets the alert he would send the boy over to bring it to Ilorin to me from Lagos.
That evening, i took my mom to a popular prayer house that people had been referring us to. We went there for prayers. We met the pastor of the church and we explained everything to him. He laughed and told us that it was the enemy that was at work. As he was saying, my mom was nodding in affirmation to him. “The pastor said the plans of the enemies was to kill I and my mom.” He talk say na enemies wey dey follow us from village. Finally he said he would do 2 days fasting and prayer on our behalf and it would cost us N20,000. After that my mom’s wound will heal with immediate effect and we will regain freedom. I only had N5,000 on me at that moment. My mom had N3,000 with her. She asked if the pastor would start up the fasting and prayer that day so we give him N5,000 and the next day I come to balance him the remaining money. “Pastor no gree ooo,” he said we must complete payment before he starts prayers and fasting. Omo na so I rush go nearby ATM joint go withdraw money. I added to the one I had earlier and gave to the pastor. He told us to write our names down on a paper and gave us a bottle of water. He said every morning, we should use the water to clean our face, head and legs. And we should read psalm 23. He also told us not to panic that after 3 days, my mom’s wound will dry up and things would change for positive in our lives. We hoped and believed so, like our lives depended on it.
The next day, early morning, we started what the pastor instructed us to do. We used the bottled water to wash our legs, head and face and read Psalm 23. Few hours later I called my distributor in Lagos to know if his boy was on the way to Ilorin to deliver the laptops to me. The man told me that he was yet to get payment alert. “Ahh ahh, which kyn thing be all these one nah.” I told him that I had sent the money. Maybe his bank hasn’t sent him the alert but he must have entered. He told me to exercise patience because he would be at the bank at noon so he would confirm if the payment had been made and he would get back to me.
Afternoon came and my distributor called and told me that nothing from me had entered his account. There was no credit made to his account. So I had to go back to the bank and there I discovered that I sent the money into someone else’s account. “Chaiii, see Gobe.” Na so we trace the person account and it was a male with the name Chigozie. The bank said they can’t do anything about it that it’s now between me and the Chigozie guy. I got the chigozie’s phone number and called the line but it was switched off. I called the distributor to inform him that I mistakenly paid into someone else’s account. I begged him to send the goods that I will send him the money before the next 5 days. He agreed and said he will send his boy to send me the laptop the next day. I was happy, thinking that I will be able to contact Chigozie so he could send me my money back easily.
I kept on trying Chigozie’s mobile number till finally it went through in the evening. He picked up and I explained to him that I mistakenly transferred N188,000 into his account. He said he was aware of it because he got the alert and was wondering how come that happened. He sounded so friendly and nice. He said he was a banker in Port Harcourt. After talking, he said he would transfer back my money the next two days. I come say “okay oo.” Even though I needed the money urgently. I just had to be patient with him
Two days pass and Chigozie never still send my money back. My mom’s wound was far from healing. Infact it was even spreading and opening up with smelly water coming out from it. “Na house she come dey stay now.” She doesn’t go to her shop again. Market sef no dey move. Na only 2 sales girls na im remain. Others had left because of non-payment of salary. The remaining two, na from my pocket I dey pay them. My mom had only N350,000 in her account. “It was far more than that some few months back but her ailment had eating all.” We spent money going to hospitals, visiting prayer houses. Pastors, Afas will tell us to give them money to pray for her. After everything nothing would still happen. Some will tell us to sow seeds and after sowing the seed, nothing happened. “When one has a problem, many would be advising and bringing suggestions for possible solutions. Na so we just dey take advises from people hoping that solution will come from them.”
Days past and Chigozie was yet to pay back my money. The laptops had arrived and delivered to my client sef. After the prayers and fasting from the pastor at the prayer house we went to, there was no positive outcome. “Now na me and Chigozie dey drag now.” The distributor had started disturbing me for his money. “I would call Chigozie on the phone to pay back my money and he would shout and abuse me on the phone.” Sometimes he won’t even pick my calls sef. It would ring ooooo. Sometimes he would pick and won’t even say a word. Na so my credit go dey burn. I went back to the bank again to complain, they were still insisting that they can’t do anything. I had to withdraw from my mom’s account to settle the distributor.
This particular Thursday, I called Chigozie again to ask him for refund of my money. The guy come dey para for me for phone. Telling me that my blood was too hot and if I continue like that he won’t pay me my money. Na so this guy come dey swear for me for phone. Me sef com start to dey hala for him. He had to cut the call. And that was the last time I heard from him again. Each time I try the number it would tell me “number not available.” I was just tired of everything. No money anymore. My mom’s sickness was getting worse.
Two weeks to my academic exam for my second semester extra year. I was gradually preparing even though it wasn’t easy for me. I went for a church program a female friend invited me. “Everything come be ‘try your luck.’ I was just trying and believing for a miracle.” I went with her and after the program I went to meet the invited pastor that came to program. It was my female friend that suggested I did. The Pastor said that God can heal my mom and our lives, bringing peace into our home. He said I should sow a seed of N50,000. “Kaiii, were I wan come get that kind money!” I thought to myself. Wetin remain for my hand na N45,000 and my mom’s account was N202,000. “Indeed the pastor was a good orator in trying to convince me to sow a seed.” “A seed that can move mountain and move Almighty God.” Na so I tell the man of God say I no get that kind money. “Then you don’t want God to heal your mom and prosper you,” the man of God said in response to what I told him that I didn’t have money. “Man of God sef dey para.” He said infact, that as he is looking at me, that he was seeing dangers around me. That infact demons accompanied me to the church that day and they want to kill my mom. And if they succeed, I will be the next. As the man dey talk, I come dey fear. He said even if I don’t have, I should go and borrow. Na so I go ATM go withdraw from my mama account come give pastor. He asked me to kneel down which I did, and he prayed for me. He said I should watch what would happen in the next 21 days. I was expectant to see what will happen and the numbers of people that are my enemies that will die in my family.
Few days later, mom was in pains, serious one that we went to the hospital. She was admitted to the hospital. She told me that she can’t bear it any longer and she was ready for her leg to be amputated. I began crying. She cried too. I never wished for that. I hoped and believed for a miracle but was yet to experience it. She had giving up. I told her to still exercise some more patience that God can still do it. But she said, if God had wanted to do it, He would have done it rather than her experiencing pains. After a week of begging and pleading with her for more patience. She refused. Her mind was made up. “The doctors were on her side, saying that the infection was spreading massively and if we didn’t do anything fast, it would take over her body.” I finally yielded to my mom. We were referred to a private hospital in Lagos were we went and they billed us N220,000 for surgery, drugs and bed space. She would remain there for 2 weeks after the surgery before being discharged.
Na so I go borrow money add to the one we get. We went to Lagos for the surgery. I had already forgotten about my exams. I hoped to write it the next year since I passed the two for the first semester. So na two for the second semester remain which I hope to do the next year.
Few days later, my mom was scheduled for the surgery. I had emptied our (my mom and i) account, borrowed some money to pay for the surgery. I even advised my mom to put up her shop for sale in which she agreed and did.
The day of the surgery came. They took my mom to the theatre room by 10pm. I and the housekeeper waited for 3 hours. Sleep don already carry me for the chair wey I sit down. When a nurse tapped me and said the Doctor wants to see me. Na so i follow her go Doctor office and she excused us. The doctor asked me to sit and I did. He asked me how old I was and I told him. He began asking me about my dad. For about 30 minutes we were just having a friendly chat as if we had known each other for a long time, until the discussion shifted to my mom’s issue. I started noticing the way he was sounding which I didn’t like. Na there the doctor come dey tell me say they didn’t complete the process of the surgery. And I asked why. He said during the course of the process, my mom died. “Chaiiii.” It looked as if I didn’t hear what the doctor said very well. “Doctor, you said she’s dead?” I asked to confirm what I heard. He stood up to calm me down, confirming it as he said mom was indeed dead. Na so I run comot for the office like mad man. The house keeper saw the way I was behaving as I ran to the place. She already knew that something was wrong. Na so security just come hold me. I was so devastated as I cried. I couldn’t hold myself as tears flowed. I was taken to her bed. According to the doctor, he said they had already started the operation, but midway, they discovered my mom wasn’t breathing. And they had no choice that to stop the entire operation. “She was gone from the face of the earth.” For hours I couldn’t get hold of myself. I cried heavily like a baby.
I called my aunty in Ofa to tell her what had happened. I also informed some of my mom’s friends and other relatives. I made arrangements and brought her body to a mortuary in a hospital in Ilorin. Na there another problem start.
When I got to the house, some of my mom’s uncles and aunties were waiting at the entrance of our house. Everywhere was moody. Even the tenants wept bitterly. Some of my uncles I didn’t even know neither have I seen them. They began querying me for daring to bring my mom’s corpse from Lagos. They said I should have waited for them to take decision before anything I do. They said I don’t have right to do that. I just ignored them. “Visitors were coming in and out of the compound.” Me no send any body. Mourning mood was activate.
The next day, one of my uncles called a meeting on burial arrangements of my mom. That was where he dropped a bombshell. He said that I should pack out of the house. “Which house?” I said to him. The house he built or his children built for him!’ “The house I suffered to build” He said I should move out that the family would inherit it. “I guessed he was high on paracetamol,” I thought to myself because he was complaining of slight headache before he started his speech. I even saw him taking paracetamol. Na the paracetamol dey make am high wey he say make I leave my house.
I laughed and told him that I wasn’t leaving the house. Even my aunty in Ofa was also supporting him. The whole family was on his side. Infact “I believed they had met secretly, ganged up. ‘For Christ sake, how can you chase someone out of his house.’ The one wey pain me pass be say dem say, my mom won’t be buried unless I allow them to decide and dictate what happens. “See me see wahala ooo.” ‘This people wey no dey wey me and my mama dey suffer, they just want to cut me off everything and be the ones to say what goes about the burial.’ Then I realize what one of the pastors we visited before my mom’s death had said to me. “That our enemies are within our family and they were seriously planning to kill my mom and come for me.” And I won’t allow that,’ I thought to myself.
The one wey vex me pass be say them fix date for burial come fix am for the next two month. So make corpse still dey mortuary! Then who will pay! I refused it.
One week pass, two weeks and the dragging continued. If I had the power, I would have just done it my own way but so many people advised me that I can’t just bury my mom like that without the consent of her family. After all I tried to convince them. Dem no gree.
As time went on, I had to allow my mom’s relatives to have their way in the burial of my mom. I didn’t even know how they got the money to pay for mortuary. I had to just humble myself and took insults just for my mom to be buried in peace.
A day after the burial of my mom, I just finished seeing off some visitors. When I returned to the house. I went to my room and everywhere looked scattered as if someone entered the place. Though my mom’s relatives are in the house but I don’t allow any of them to come to my room. “The last time I checked, when I was leaving to see off some visitors, I thought I locked the room.” Na so I go my bed locker were I dey keep my important files and discovered my international passport, the house document was no longer there. Na so I begin look for those things. I asked people in the house if they entered my room. Because I don’t trust any of my mom’s relatives. They all denied having anything to do with my room. “Na who come enter my room go take am?”