Early this evening, I sent the security guy on an errand. I was standing by the gate, waiting for him and watching traffic go by when I heard someone yell my name from across the road. I looked in the direction I heard my name and by the time I realised who it was, it was too late to disappear into the bushes. We don’t even have bushes.

I was careful not to smile. I waved a small, barely civil wave. A sensible person would’ve deciphered the wave to mean “Don’t let devul use you this afternoon. Just be going where you’re going”, but not this guy. He was never one to read signals so, with the excitement of a veteran back from war, he sprinted across the road. Unlucky for me, there was no oncoming traffic so he got to my end safely.

He lifted his arms and offered a hug. I offered my shoulder pad.

Then we exchanged small talk and by ‘we’ I mean him. I just did a lot of “Oh really?” and “Oh for real?”… He talked about his new job, how much he’s making now, how he’s about to buy a car, blah blah blah without stopping for breath. Finally, hands on hips, he glanced at the gate and asked, “Do you stay here?”

I said no.

“Oooooh… so your boyfriend stays here ehn?”

I smiled. Deep down, I wanted to sand-paper the stupid smirk off his face. I asked, “So where are you heading to?”

“I’m going to see a friend o. He just moved to the area. Do you stay around here?”


“We really need to catch up o. I called you severally but you never answered. Abi you deleted my number?”

By now, I’m looking over his shoulder, hoping that the security man isn’t going to show up at that moment and hand me my moin moin and plantain chips.

“Same number right?”

“Yeah. Are you waiting for someone?”

“I’m sure I still have it.”

He whipped out his phone. “You know what? Let me just flash you so you can save it.”

I don’t disagree. Instead, while still facing him, I take a small step back, hold my phone up and watch the screen like I’m waiting for the call to connect. With my other hand I shield the screen against imaginary sunlight, even though it’s already getting dark. My phone starts to vibrate and one word flashes across the screen;


“Yup”, I said. “I still have it.”


How much is paracetamol?

Every time I brag about how I’m such a great cook, I burn something as simple as noodles or forget boiling eggs on fire till the eggs and pot turn black. As if the universe is telling me to not brag. Lately, I’ve been bragging about how I walk in divine health and I don’t fall sick, then yesterday I landed in the hospital with Malaria.

It’s funny because I used to secretly judge malaria patients… like how did you allow mosquitoes chew you to the extent you got malaria? Are you a missionary worker sleeping in the jungle? Can’t you cover yourself at night?

Also, I’ve seen people lie with malaria so much that I forgot it was a serious illness.

Why didn’t you do your assignment? I was sick. I had malaria.

Why didn’t you pay me my money? I couldn’t go to the bank. I was sick. I had malaria.

Why did you leave him at the altar? I’m no longer in love with him. Also, I was sick. I had malaria.

Last time I had malaria was in 2006/2007 so I honestly didn’t recognize it for what it was. It started with a sharp pain in my right hip last week. I called my doctor friend and he asked me to go do an xray (or Extray as my uncle calls it). When I heard the cost of an extray and looked at my account balance, I decided to rub anointing oil and speak the word of God directly to my hip.

By Sunday, I was walking with a slight limp and the pain had radiated, up to my right shoulder joint. Brethren, I cannot describe the kind of fear that gripped my soul. You see, I watch the weirdest shit on Tv. There’s a show called Monsters Inside Me… they show true accounts of people who get infected by teeny tiny micro-organisms that cause havoc in their bodies. One day they are on vacation, frolicking in a lake in Brazil, and weeks later, they are having both legs and two fingers amputated. So, I thought, surely something must have entered inside me and must be causing nerve damage somewhere. All this ube I’ve been eating… maybe I didn’t wash them well.

Tuesday morning, I woke up, showered, ate more ube, drank coffee and laid down to read. That was the last time I could stand up on my own without feeling like I was going to fall forward or like my head was going to explode. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I called our caretaker and she was very dramatic about helping me get from my room to the cab. The security man held my bag and watched me like I was about to drop dead. Then I started crying from the embarrassment of being carried like a half-dead 80 year old!

I got to the hospital and they just threw me on a bed. They were nice enough, extremely helpful. Very friendly. I was an annoying and irritable patient though… I told the doctor, “My sister is a doctor, she said I should do a blood test.”

She said, “Sure, but I just want to get your history first.”

My oversabi was in high gear. “I don’t have a fever, I don’t have headaches. I don’t usually have malaria. Just this pain, the dizziness and nausea.”

“Yes dear. But malaria doesn’t always come with a fever or chills.”

Ugh! What does this one even know sef?… Has she even done PLAB? I should’ve just Googled my symptoms and I would’ve found out what ube-dwelling micro-organism is causing this. Ugh again!

Tests came back and they woke me up to announce that I had malaria. She asked if I’ve been ignoring symptoms for a while and I said no. They gave me some injections inna me selling point and all I could think was, “Thank God I wore fine pyint.” Then I slept for hours and hours.

When they brought my bill, the malaria parasites cleared from my eyes. Niggaz charged me 1,100 for Paracetamol!!!  Must be 100Naira for the paracetamol, 1000Naira for the niceness. It better be magic paracetamol… the kind that cures cancer.

Anyway, I’m home now, feeling better. I still have to go back for treatment.

My friend had malaria a few weeks ago and she lost a tonne of weight. I hope I lose weight too.


Silent victims of domestic violence…

On Wednesday, I was called to separate a fight between my neighbour and her house girl. Every time I tell the story, people are shocked. “How can house girl be fighting madame?”. I understand their surprise, but they don’t know this madame like I do. If I was her house girl, I would pee in her morning coffee.

We are next door neighbours, our rooms share a wall, so I heard everything. It grew from madame yelling her daily morning yell, to an exchange of words, then raised voices then blows and finally, flying furniture. I heard it, but I stayed in bed, watching Crime and Investigation.

A security man came to my door and knocked frantically. He said, “Aunty abeg come help this small girl abeg. This woman fit kill am!”

“Don’t worry Yesuf, nobody go die,” I told him, but he didn’t look convinced. I suggested that he go in and separate the fight, but he turned his face away shyly and said, “Aunty… hmm. I no fit o. Na woman you you be.”

I thanked him for the kind reminder, then went over to the fighting room. I opened the door and, as he suspected, their clothes were already torn. There were sweaty A-cups everywhere! The A-cup owners paid me no mind as they continued to exchange blows. It should’ve been an unfair fight but the house girl wasn’t backing down. Madame’s five year old son cowered in a corner of the room, watching the fight. His school uniform was laid out neatly on the bed.

The house girl was bleeding down one arm and the side of her face. In my mind, I covered myself with the blood of Jesus (against HIV) before throwing myself between them. It stopped the exchange of blows, but they held on tight to whatever shreds were left of each other’s clothes. We stayed that way for a moment, till they calmed down just a bit without loosening their grip. The room was silent, except for their heavy breathing. Their eyes were wide like crazed animals.

Madame broke the silence with a comment, something about picking the house girl from a gutter and the house help made a wise crack about salary. This infuriated madame. With lightening speed, madame reached behind me and slapped the house girl hard. I felt that slap in my spirit. House girl then threw an aimless punch that was meant for madame, but it hit me just above my right eye.

I stepped away, slightly dazed, with my hand over my eye. At that point, I got so angry! I wanted to give them knives and lock them in the room so that they would kill each other. Honestly, I was more upset with myself for going there in the first place.

You see, it wasn’t the first time I was ‘domestically violated’ in that same room. Last month, late at night, I heard raised voices. A man’s voice and my neighbour madame. Then I heard screaming, scuffling and “You will kill me today!” and I jumped out of bed.

I put on my wig (because I cannot be caught dead without it), tied two corners of my wrapper round my neck to form a make-shift cape and headed out the door. I thought, This is for all domestic violence victims whose neighbours stay silent and pretend to not hear! I started to bang on their door and call out my neighbour’s name. I banged louder till the noise in the room suddenly stopped and I realised then I didn’t even have a plan. What was I going to do do? Fight him? Ask him nicely to not beat her? What if he opened the door and dragged me in and KO-ed the both of us with one fist?!

She opened the door, looking deranged and out of breath, but visibly unhurt. I was taken aback by just how unhurt she was. She said, “Aunty Ngozi good evening.”

“Uhm… are you… is everything ok?”


I looked past her into the room and saw an elderly man pick his hat from the floor and place it over his head. He looked at me with a nasty scowl and asked, “What do you want?” His yellow sleeveless shirt was ripped down the middle to reveal his chest and his large belly. I was so confused, because I’d never seen a Twitter thread on what to do when the domestic violence victim is an old man.

I felt very foolish. “Uhh… nothing. I just wanted to make sure she was fine.”

“She’s fine! Mind your business! Do you know I pay for everything in this house? I bring the money for food, I pay the rent! Do you know?!” He carried on with his rant and I stood there in my nightie and my wasted cape. Thank God I didn’t use my good sheets. She was screaming, “AND SO?! SO?! NA ONLY YOU GET MONEY??”

I turned to her and said, “I’m here if you need me” but God knows I didn’t really mean it, then I went back to my room feeling very embarrassed. At least the fighting had stopped. It was just more shouting for a while, then door-slamming, then quiet. He had gone home to his wife and kids and grandkids.

Fast forward to today where I’m nursing a bump on my head. To me, it’s a huge bump, big enough to have it’s own shadow but my friends say they can’t see it and that I may be exaggerating the punch. Maybe they can’t see it because they are too busy laughing at me.

I saw the house girl later that day. By that time, the pain had spread down to my right jaw. She apologised profusely for her behaviour. She didn’t even know she hit me, and I didn’t bother telling her. As for madame, I ran into her the next day and she told me about her birthday coming up the following week and then described the huge pink cake that “baba” had ordered for her.

Anti-robbery squad

I also thought of calling this post ‘How My Earphones Saved My Life’.

For weeks, like a pregnant woman, I’d been craving food from a particular place. First time I went there, it was with a friend. It was unplanned and I wasn’t sure how much money he had so I ordered food like an anorexic bird. This time though, I was returning with a vengeance. The plan was to annihilate the menu.

Google Maps estimated it to be a 58 minutes walk so on Saturday evening, I wore my trainers, stuck my earphones in my ears and set off on my journey. First mistake I made was not leaving early enough. It got dark quickly, but I wasn’t worried. I stuck to major roads which were still very busy and very well lit.

Fast forward almost two hours later, on the walk back home. That’s when the robbery attempt happened…

As usual, I had my earphones in my ears, deaf to the rest of the world [because I would rather be crushed by a speeding trailer than listen to catcalls and stupid lewd comments from construction workers, okada riders, cab drivers and other disrespectful men on the street].

I held my wallet in one hand, and my bag of food in the other. An okada slowed down beside me and I ignored him. At first I thought he was just a regular okada looking for a passenger, but then he continued to trail me. I stopped, turned to him with a scowl and asked, “Wetin? I call you?”

I wasn’t looking for an answer. I saw his lips move but I couldn’t hear him. He was very dark and skinny, his eyes were glassy and droopy. He looked higher than a very high kite. I hissed, turned and walked away.

He rode up just behind me and from the corner of my eye, I saw him signalling to me. I kept my head down, but then lowered the volume of the music and that’s when I heard him shout, “I say will you stop deer!”

Dread filled me. I immediately increased my pace. My heart was beating hard and my mind was racing…

Shit! Is this dude going to rob me for real? With a million people on the other side of the road?

If I run, he will catch up with me. He’s on a bike. 

Shit! This side of the road is totally empty. No one will see me being robbed or whisked away on a bike.

Dear God, is this because I didn’t forward that Whatsapp broadcast about Ember months??

Please God! Let him take my wallet. Take my phone. But he should not TOUCH.  MY. FOOD!!

I was still brisk walking like an un-robbed diva. I didn’t want to show any signs of fear, if not, I should’ve flung my shoes off my feet and gotten the hell out of there. Suddenly, he stopped his bike, jumped off, and started towards me. Brethren, that was when I RAAAAN! I went from deaf-potential-robbery-victim to Usain real quick. At some point, he gave up chasing me on foot because I glanced over my shoulder and saw him jogging back towards his bike. Seconds later, I could hear the bike’s engine revving behind me so I knew he was close.

I ran till I saw a young man and a girl. The man had huge muscles with tattoos all over his arms. I stopped them and told them what happened. The bike rider was still heading my way, but he had slowed down considerably when he saw me with people.

As I spoke, muscular tattoo guy lit a cigarette and nodded as he puffed and listened intently. He was calm, but the girl with him was freaking out. Turns out that the same bike rider had tried to grab her handbag just minutes ago. She kept saying, “I tok am! I tok am! This man is on a mission!!” She showed me her handbag with one handle ripped off.

I finished narrating my story and muscular guy remained calm, observing the bike rider who was now parked a short distance away. I felt stupid standing beside him, hugging my white nylon bag full of food, and watching him puff on a cigarette. What exactly am I expecting this guy to do? What if these plenty muscles are just for stunting on 2go?

Finally, he said, “Baby, don’t worry. Nothing will happen.”

I was irritated that he had called me ‘baby’, but that was not the time to address the issue. I would’ve responded with, “Ok boo” if it meant not walking home alone.

The bike rider waited, watching us as we watched him. He probably figured that either way, one girl will be left alone. After giving it some thought, muscular tattoo guy walked up to the bike guy. He said something in Hausa and made to grab the bike guy. Bike guy was sleek. He leaned to the side, out of muscular tattoo guy’s grasp, but he leaned so far back that he almost toppled over with his bike.

There was a very short angry exchange during which they yelled at each other in Hausa. The pavement was high and this allowed muscular guy to tower over skinny bike guy. Meanwhile, the girl beside me had her hands on her head and kept repeating, “Hay God o! Chai!”.  Finally, bike guy gave up, hopped on his bike and sped off.

Muscular guy came back, stood squarely with his hands on his hips and said, “You can go. Don’t worry ehn? Nothing will happen.”

I said thank you, but I didn’t move. The three of us just sort of stood there awkwardly, looking at each other like something more should’ve happened. Maybe something more dramatic.

He asked, “How will you go? I have to escort her.” The poor guy was obviously torn between two damsels in distress, headed in two opposite directions. I had interrupted him mid-rescue. I said, I’ll be fine, I’ll jog home. Besides, I need the exerciseand we all laughed.

So if you saw a girl running home with a white food bag on Saturday night, yeah, that was me.

Pounded yam poem

It’s me again.

I wrote this months ago. I shared it on Twitter and just decided to share it here. It’s not a serious poem…


You ever do the stupid love?

The kind where you’re trying to out-love the other person?

There are no limits to what you can do… 

You read those pounding yam tweets and lol in your mind. 

Ordinary pounding? Ees nuffin’.

Your belly is filled with the knowing that you put that smile on his face.

What is ordinary pounding?

He said, “I wish I had XYZ”.

The timing is perfect because you just got money. Bills can wait. 

Your belly needs filling.

Your friends don’t know.

They don’t understand. They calculate too much… always wanting to know how much yam he has pounded for you.

Things are tough. Mortar is leaking, pestle is broken. One day, he will pound. 

They don’t understand. 

He’s chatting with Temi.

Their chats are getting hot and heavy. 

He’s using his good spelling. And he’s talking about yam! He’s talking like he can pound.

You’re angry but you can’t help but wonder… were there lumps in your yam?

You set the whole damn barn on fire. 

Nobody will kuku get yam… freshly pounded, boiled or poundo. Nothing.

Then your eyes clear and the fire dies down.

He says, “You see… it’s this typa shit that makes me not pound yam for you.”