In JANUARY 2011, I travelled to London on my business trip. After a lot of begging and appeals from his father and siblings, my husband still refused, but I did. When I returned, I found that he had packed all my stuff into the Garage and I begged again.
He accepted my plea but our marriage was never the same again. He became extremely insecured. My every move was suspicious and every word I uttered was screened like I was in a military camp. My husband wasn’t happy with my new image of confidence.
In APRIL 2011, he contested again in the 2011 elections and suffered yet another loss for the 3rd time in a row and I knew this meant triple jeopardy for me because now he will spend more time at home with me, see me doing my business and continue to hate my new confidence. I calmed myself down and played the perfect understanding wife role as best as I could. I have to stay home if he was home, go out only after he’s left and distributed my stock amongst friends to help sell in their shops while I sold others at the children’s school.
This didn’t stop or prevent the arguments and fights. I resorted to just keeping quiet or staying in my room but I was getting really frustrating and unhappy. I started feeling suicidal. I had exhausted my strength and I gave up praying. I just wanted to end it all, walk away from all this psychological, emotional and physical trauma after all these years. It has been 16 long years (friendship, courtship and marriage) so I sent out blackberry messages to all my siblings and my best friend on Oct. 3rd 2011. They rallied round me with encouraging words, prayers and all agreed that I go out and socialise.
On the 7th of October, I told my husband that I’ll like to go to Ibadan to see my dad who will be going to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and to go with my friend. I told him we’ll be back evening of the same day and we left.
On getting to Ibadan, my friend’s driver drove recklessly trying to avoid traffic and got arrested. He was detained at Iyaganku Police station and by the time he was released, it was too late for us to go back to Lagos. We called our families to inform them, I called my husbands phone tirelessly without any reply.
I had to call my maiguard who told me he had travelled which he didn’t tell me as usual. I called the children’s nanny and I gave her all required instructions. We spent the night at a friends house at the Oluyole area of town in Ibadan. We returned to Lagos after visiting our family houses. When I got home, my hubby wasn’t back from his trip so I did my wifely duties and went to bed.
On Sunday 9th October 2011, I was sleeping on my bed when someone yanked the duve off me, I jumped up on the bed, scared and it was him and he started shouting “I’ll kill you Today” I’ll kill you Today” You went to Ibadan and came back yesterday, ‘I’ll Kill You If You Don’t Leave My House Today” and I ran but he held me by my neck and was strangling me, I wriggled free and ran to the box room and got my suitcases, I started packing frantically, and crying while my daughters watched.
I then realised, I couldn’t leave them and I stopped, I turned and told him that I wasn’t going anywhere that this house is my home as long as my children were there. He said ok, wait for me and he ran downstairs, he came back after about 5 mins with a white bowl in his hands and he ran towards me and poured the contents of the bowl all over me and my packed suitcases.
From the odour I knew it was petrol and I started shouting when I saw him trying to light a matche stick. I threw the bags and suitcases out of the room and called out to the children and their Nanny to take them downstairs and they responded carrying what they could, I carried a carton suitcase and left it in the stairway.
He ran towards me still trying to light the match. I ran into the bathroom to avoid being set ablaze knowing my dress was covered with petrol. I poured water and ariel detergent all over myself and quickly changed into one kaftan I got from the laundry basket when I came out of the bathroom the carton suitcase was on fire, I put out the fire after taking a picture of the burning suitcase with my blackberry phone.
A friend of his had ran up the stairs and was holding my husband but he kept on throwing my things out. I got all I could get and stayed at the guard’s house. I called my friend who came and just couldn’t believe her eyes. 2 Journalists are also witnesses.
While outside, he still got Kerosene poured on my travelling bags, lit a match and the guard had to slap him on the hands and confronted him to stop. The guard told his boss not to burn the mother of his children’s loads. He then took the padlock off the gate, got the kids inside and their nanny and locked the doors to the house leaving me and my friend outside.
My friend eventually left after we both agreed that I shouldn’t leave my home and stayed outside alone sitting on my suitcases and looking at the home I had built for over 10 years. I wept like a baby but I had to agree that I tried and I was tired of trying. I had been through so much because I believed so much in the institution of marriage.
My parents gave me the best they could, I am from a very humble background, my dad loved his children to a fault. All our friends envied how our dad used to visit us in school and even in the University. He spent two weeks with me and my sister and stood in the queue to help with our course registration. Our mum took care of domestic and they both instilled the right moral & religious virtues in us.
How did I end up with a man like this? Where did I go wrong? I cleaned my tears and stood up and I walked round in circles. My sister eventually came to pick me after the guard called and pleaded with her telling her that the whole house had been locked and I will sleep outside if she didn’t come.
I loaded my bags in her jeep and we both sat quietly for a while before driving off. In my head, I remembered the words that pierced my heart to pieces each time my husband uttered them.
“I met you as an undergraduate, you cannot come and open eye”! and I will plead saying please if I asked for financial help towards my business, he’ll tell me that I will only hear with my ears that he had money but my hands won’t touch. All these coming from the same man who bought a BMW X5 jeep for me to be driving? Who will believe me if I told my story?
I prayed and fasted. I endured. I was understanding, caring, patient, I heard and saw things that took me to ARO mental home in my mind and pretended like I didn’t. I obeyed all rules and regulations like a recruit in a military camp. I improved my culinary skills to intercontinental standards all to please my husband.
Financially, I wasn’t demanding, I bought my own clothes and the children’s, my jewellery, and accessories. I paid for my own hair and personal grooming bills and the kids weekly visit to the salon. I even paid most of the domestic staff like the gardner, the nanny, the washman and the waste collector. My husband paid only the maiguard’s salary.
My sister also started crying but she consoled me saying, my sister, o try. (U tried) and I had to just believe that if nobody praises my efforts, atleast, the whole family also put in the best they could. And in all fairness, I have to thank my in-laws especially my father-in-law, my husbands siblings and Aunty.
They settled a lot of fights amicably and adviced both of us, but my husband always insisted on doing things and running the affairs of his home the way he wanted. I left everything to God a long time ago, so if this is happening, I believe it is God’s will.
I therefore prayed the court to please dissolve the marriage between me and my husband so I can live the rest of my life happily and excel in my choosen career. I also pleaded that the honourable court grant me the custody of our 2 daughters who witnessed the physical abuse on their mum from a very tender age.
I told the court that as their mother and considering the facts of this case that I have to give them the needed spiritual, moral, phsychological and social re-orientation that only a mother can give with the help of the almighty God.