What you are about to read is the story of how an innocent young girls dream of marriage, became a nightmare, as she reveals all the Blow-by-blow account of her bitter experience. This is the debut edition of City People’s new column, Stories That Touch The Heart. It will run weekly. If you have true life stories of your experiences, send to us.
In December 1995 I met a young man, in Ibadan. We exchanged numbers and that was the beginning of our relationship. I was 19yrs old and he was 30 yrs old. He lived in London, UK and I lived in Nigeria. I got admitted into University of Ado-Ekiti (then it was known as Ondo State University) that same year. After exchanging numbers, he left for the UK and I went back to school, we communicated over the phone for 2 years before we saw each other, again and started a courtship officially in January 1998.
In January 2000, for a whole year, we wined and dined, gifts of clothes and other stuff exchanged hands, as our courtship progressed. He eventually, told me he would very much like for us to get married, I agreed but first, he said I had to get pregnant this excuse was that his sister who had a very lavish marriage ceremony in, 1999 without being pregnant was still not pregnant. I agreed since I understood it won’t be nice for the family to have another lavish marriage without such previous experience.
In August 2000, after a series of fertility treatments with a popular Lagos facility doctor in Maryland (then his clinic was in his house in Opebi). I eventually got pregnant. I was very happy because now my guy and I will have our first child and I can relax. The treatments required that I travel from school, the University of Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State to Lagos which is a 4-hour journey to & fro and stay in my dad’s flat in Maryland if my guy was in London or his house in Ikeja, if he was in Lagos, for a week or two. I’ll have missed my lectures and on returning to school, I’ll have to work tirelessly to get my assignments and other course works done. I was also happy because January of this same year, he officially opened his shopping mall in Lagos.
In December 2000, my whole world was falling apart. I was 5 months pregnant and considering all the trouble. He and I both went through for me to get pregnant, I couldn’t believe how he could start treating me badly. He would leave me alone at home and will go out partying and clubbing returning only the morning after. When I started complaining, he got his sister to come and spend time or stay the night with me if she could.
This went on for months and I remember this particular episode so well. I think it must have been February 2001, about 9 pm. I noticed all day that the baby was not kicking as usual. I told my guy who had just popped in to change his clothes and have dinner before going out again that what I had observed and his response stunned me. His exact words: “so if you can’t feel the baby moving, what are you still doing in this house, you should have gone to the hospital to complain. Am I a doctor? I could not believe my ears, I just started crying (and pls note, crying became a hobby not out of pretense but I cried because of the words and treatments that followed. He just took his keys and went out. I went to my sister-in-law’s room and she adviced that we go to the hospital. The time was about 10 pm or past.
There was no driver so we had to walk out of the estate in Ikeja, and crossed over to the bus stop and took a cab to the Medical Centre, which was my registered hospital. The doctor examined me and assured me that all was well. On getting outside, the cab had left and my sister in law said she had to pay him to leave when he was complaining that it was getting late. So we walked from the hospital to Mobil Petrol Station, Maryland to get another cab that eventually took us home at almost midnight.
In April 2001, after being induced, must have laboured for over 12hrs before dilation stopped, the baby’s heartbeat was reducing so the doctor had to do a Caesarean section and our first daughter, was born. The hospital was crowded with my sister, friends and in-laws who had stayed with me all day throughout my labour and everyone was happy. I was still obviously yet to recover from the anesthesia. When I did, my joy knew no bounds. Friends and family came in their numbers to visit and the nurses had to ask if this was our first baby and I laughed because she was right. On both sides, my family and his family, my daughter was the first grandchild.
In March 2001, I forgot to include that my guy and I got married on the 10th of March 2001 at the Ikeja Registry with one of his sisters and her husband as witnesses.
The birth of twin did not stop his behavior of nite crawling. In fact, it became worse because he had opened his own night club, so nite clubbing became his job.
In September 2001, my older sister got married. At the wedding, my darling husband played the perfect son-in-law. He supported my family by paying for the musician, who played at the wedding. How could I tell any of my family members that this same man was bringing tears and pain to my heart?
I thought maybe it was too early in our marriage for me to be complaining. Certainly, I had to be patient and enduring. So we returned to our home in Lagos after the wedding and my husband continued his job while I started learning the act of being a patient and enduring wife.
In May 2002, after applying to the British Embassy for a Settlement visa as the spouse of British Citizen, (as my husband is) I was finally issued one and off I went to London with my daughter while my darling stayed back. He was to join us later as planned because according to him, London is a very good place to raise a family without any interference and I will have the opportunity to do my Masters degree that I have always wanted! (Maybe Tomorrow).
Life in London became even worse. I could not work initially because my daughter was too young to start school full time and a private nursery was expensive. I stayed home, cleaned, cooked, slept and that was my routine for a very long time, going out only to the malls and to visit the parks.
One day in November 2003, I woke up feverish and sick, a quick test confirmed that I was one month pregnant with our second daughter. I was alone as my husband had gone to Nigeria to participate in politics which had now become his new job. He was a member of one of the parties and was running for the Senate or something. I eventually got him to return to London a week before I gave birth on the 2nd of July 2004 to our second daughter through another Caesarean Section, I stayed five days in the hospital before going home with our baby. He picked us up from the hospital dropped us at home and went out.
I noticed that my daughter was unkempt, so I thought I’ll give her a bath while her baby sister was sleeping. In the bathroom, I smelt the stench from her mouth and asked her why. My 3-year-old daughter said since I left home for hospital, she hadn’t brushed her teeth. She said “daddy dropped me in Auntys house for two days and Uncle’s house for another two days.
Tears filled my eyes. What if I hadn’t come home alive? Is this how my husband will treat his own child? I thought and cried.
I bathed her, dressed her up, I cleaned the whole house (Pls remember that I had CS and I was just coming home with a newborn) and bath my newborn baby with palm oil and all. I cooked, had a partial bath myself, ate and we slept. My husband and father of my two daughters weren’t home till we slept.
And from that day, it was me and my daughters. The mental and emotional torture continued and violence started when my last daughter was about 8 months old.
I had filled an admission form for my daughter’s school wrongly and left it on the table for him to correct. He became angry and asked if I couldn’t do anything right without him. I became angry and for the first time I talked back and before I knew it, I heard someone hit me hard on my head from behind and pushed me to hit my forehead on the fridge (as we were in kitchen). He kicked me and I ran upstairs, he ran after me into my room and kept on hitting me till I fell in front of the wardrobe and I started begging. My daughter appeared from behind the door and joined in the begging. I heard a little voice saying “Daddy pls stop, pls stop hitting my mummy!! He stopped and walked away. My daughter ran to me and I held her and cried, My other daughter was just sleeping peacefully in her dad’s room. I cried my eyes out all nite.
In the morning, he apologized, took me to the movies and I forgave him but it continued, and the circle of apologizing and forgiving continued until.
In January 2005. It was his 40th birthday. I had organized a little surprise family dinner with the children but they both slept off without their dad coming home. I stayed awake until we had someone press the doorbell. I ran downstairs angry, asking why he didn’t bother to call or answer my calls. He just walked past me upstairs into his room and I followed shouting and demanding an answer. He just pushed me down the stairs but I fell on the landing, I stood to run into my room but he slapped me, pulled my hair and pushed me hard till I fell, he then started using his feet, stamping and kicking me.
I screamed and crawled till I could run downstairs to the sitting room. I dialed 999 for the Police and he was arrested.
I became scared and called his friend who told me not to press charges, I agreed and he was released from Kilburn Police Station for Domestic Violence but without Charges. However, his name will be on the Domestic Violence Register. As soon as he was released, he left for Lagos where he stayed for months without calling us. (Me & the children). I had to keep calling and begging him to come back to London. He would hang up severally but I persisted and eventually he returned after over 3 months and insisted that he did nothing wrong instead, I provoked him and called the police. So, I accepted being wrong and begged for his forgiveness.
By this time, from my trips to the malls, I had met old friends and made new ones too. I became very close to my old secondary school mate who invited me to her church Jesus house and I started attending.
With prayers all things are possible. So I prayed, endured more, Sorry became my favourite word, increased my level of persistence patience and started thinking of starting a business. Financially I had gotten on the system since my kids were British so I had weekly & monthly income entitlements.
My husband did all the grocery and foodstuff shopping. In fact, the freezer was always well stocked and our garage was like a mini Supermarket.