Her stricken scream of 'help me' rented the air at the early hours of Tuesday, jolting residents of Mechanic Village in Jakande Estate, Oke-Afa, Isolo area of Lagos, from sleep.
But none went out to know the cause because it was too late to do so. Her piercing cries gradually subsided, with a man’s voice ordering her to get out of the house.
By morning, her personal effects were seen littered in front of a barbing saloon which served as home for her and her 28-year-old boyfriend. By the time residents went out to find out the cause of the agitation, she was sighted crouching at a corner, with bloodshot eyes.
Out of curiosity and concern for the agonizing teenager later identified simply as Favour, this reporter decided to invite her for a tete-a tete, few days later and her narration depicted that of abuse and torture, right from a tender age.
She stated how she was taken from her widowed mother in Abia state, alongside one of her siblings to live in Lagos with one of her aunts, at the age of eight.. Things went well until she turned 12, no thanks to some friends she surrounded herself with.
Wrong signal according to her, “I am from Abia State. I left home after the demise of my father. I was a well behaved girl and was intelligent and godly. But everything changed when I was in Junior Secondary School 2. Then I was 12 years old. My aunt started complaining of my unruly attitude.
The friends I surrounded myself with misled me . They told me to steal my aunt’s money and bring it to school for them to spend. Hypnotized “Whenever we were returning from school, a barber would be calling me but I would ignore him.
One day, my friends lured me to the barber’s shop and also accompanied me. By the time we got there, he prepared noodles for us. But mine took a longer time.
By the time I was served, I immediately fell in love with the 28-year-old barber, Wale. It got to an extent that I started talking back at my aunt.
When she found out about Wale and confronted me, I told her to let me live my life, after all, she had her own husband.
Unable to tolerate my insolence, my aunt took me to my grand mother’s at Ejigbo. From there, I would come and see my love.
When my grandmother told me she did not want to see me with the Wale again, I left her house and came to live with the barber at age 12.
Things fall apart
Barely had I started living with him than he showed his true self. He would beat me and throw me out of the shop which served as home for me. At a point, I began to wonder if this was the person I fell in love with.
He attempted to kill me several times by strangling me. How I managed to survive those times remains a miracle. He boasted that he would kill me and nothing would happen.
At a point, I left his shop. But each time I left, I saw myself coming back to him. Abortion “I never knew I was pregnant until people told me . One day, when I went home to visit my aunt, she said I was pregnant but I denied. She took me to the hospital where it was confirmed to be true.
When I informed Wale of the pregnancy, he responded with another round of beating, asking why I got pregnant in the first place. Like every other time, he threw me out.
I sought refuge in a family’s house, where the woman advised me to abort the pregnancy, that I would regret my action if I decided to give birth to the baby. With her help, I aborted the pregnancy.
After the abortion, I began to bleed. The woman threatened to get my boyfriend arrested but I begged her not to, out of anger, she chased me out of the house and told me never to set my feet in her house again”.
Unsure of where to lay her head, the teenager said she returned to her boyfriend’s shop.
She said, “ when he saw me, he started laughing and boasted that I would always return to him. He took me to Ibadan, where we took a blood oath never to leave each other”.
Asked how the oath was done, she replied, “he brought something which he said he brought from a shrine. We mix our blood and licked it. He said whoever left the other would die in a car accident. That was the beginning of another round of suffering for me, as everyone I went to anytime he beats me, would not want to take me in. Those who used to help me became withdrawn”.
She stated that she went back to her aunt and narrated what she had been going through in the hands of the barber.. She said, “my aunt insisted that I must go for deliverance in order to break the spell of the blood covenant. A woman who was moved with compassion at my plight, took me to an Alfa(Muslim Cleric) to reveal that Wale had undone his own part of the covenant and that if he cheated on me, nothing would happen to him."
"He further revealed that my boyfriend’s intention was to use me for money rituals and by killing me and burying my remains inside the shop without anyone knowing where I was, since he had succeeded in separating me from my family. He revealed also that my boyfriend had cut a chunk of my hair as part of the ritual process."
"Immediately he finished talking, it was as if a scale fell from my face. I immediately developed the initial dislike I had for Wale, especially when I was made to understand that he cast spell of love on me because of his sinister motive. I began to put things together and recalled how he had boasted of traveling out of Nigeria and that I would suffer to death after his departure”.
She said that another shock awaited her when her aunt went to confront Wale.
She said, “to my greatest shock, he denied knowing me. He told my aunt that he had never seen me in life. Anyway, I am grateful to God that I am alive to share this story. At 15, I have had an unfair experience in life. My advice to teenagers out there is to heed their parents and guardians advice."
Unfortunately, my aunt has refused to take me back. All I want is a place to lay my head. I sleep wherever dark meets me. I don’t want to go back to him", she said amidst tears.