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Three months after Nneoma began staying with the Igbo couple, something terrible happened. They returned from work one evening  to find their house in ruins; it had collapsed after a heavy downpour earlier in the day caused  a flooding  which  weakened the foundations. Other houses in the neighbourhood we’re affected  and as a result the entire place was thrown into pandemonium. At least seven people died in Nneoma’s apartment; a major catastrophe it was!

The loss had it’s toll on Nneoma’s benefactors because it left  a major financial strain. That house was their main investment in Lagos and it had  no insurance policy . However,  they would overcome even as they moved to a new part of town called Ogba after  one of their relatives offered to rent a flat to them at reduced cost. They took Nneoma along as a demonstration of their  earlier promise when they took her in; they had told her they wished she would become more like a child, taking care of them as they advance in age. In actuality, they wanted her to become their help, assisting them both at the bakery and home front. In return they would pay her a monthly stipend of three thousand naira while also teaching her the business for future purposes. This had gladdened the young woman, but it wasn’t long before she realized the offer wasn’t any less different from the fate she had known in the past.


The financial strain elicited by the catastrophe made the couple to change overtime. Having to pay rent for their apartment and their bakery was too much for them to handle. Moreover, they had just moved the outfit to Computer Village in Ikeja to be closer home and a wider market. And even though business continued to thrive, the profits weren’t enough to meet expenses. And this was the first time the girl began to to experience difficulties with those people. For three whole months she received no kobo for her efforts and to complicate everything she was overused and abused on a daily. The situation would gradually become worst than anything she ever had experienced; another case of her being enslaved by people she trusted…

One day while she busied herself selling cookies at her spot at Ikeja UnderBridge, a very peculiar customer came along. His name was Okunade also known as Ayobo. He was a fine, illiterate young man who (for a while) had been interested in Nneoma in more ways than the tasty cookies she sold. But he had been intimidated by her strong demeanor up until that day he decided to talk to her. If only he knew how life had hardened the once sweet girl into becoming an angry young woman, one who lived each day scared and uncertain while being weary of men in their totality. Anyway, Okunade spoke to her as she wrapped his cookies, and just as he had heard all along his overtures got Nneoma very irritated. She quickly dismissed him, warning him to never in his life tell her about romance. But her rejection only spurred him to keep coming back to woo her until he began to make reasonable progress in the weeks to come.

The more Okunade demonstrated his interest in Nneoma the more she began to develop interest. Even though she was still very traumatized by her experience with Nnamdi, it felt good to have that good feeling that came with a man being interested in her. As their familiarity grew so did their friendship and fondness. He told her he was an automechanic, an orphan and an only child. But she chose to tell him nothing about herself for the meantime; only people she trusted completely will ever get to know the personal story of her life. This was her resolve which interestingly didn’t last forever because Okunade came upon her one afternoon after a particularly bad day with her slave masters and she couldn’t help but tell him everything. Okunade calmed Nneoma down after commiserating with her, and then he proceeded to tell her more things about how he was also enslaved for many years. He never knew who his parents we’re. His mother conceived him as an unmarried teenager and had died while giving birth to him. The father was never present and as a matter of fact had disappeared once he got that teenager pregnant. As a result Okunade was raised by his grandmother. It was a hard time growing up in that cramped Lagos slum, and what was even worse was the zero exposure to education he received. As he turned twelve, his uncle took him up as an apprentice to learn auto mechanics. The man and his family gave the young Okunade the worst days of his life yet as he lived with them. He was beaten, starved, and once had almost drowned in a well after he fell inside it while being pursued by his uncle. He survived all that to become the man that he was. While it wasn’t much, it was better than where he was coming from. He then told Nneoma that if he could overcome his slavery, so could she.

Their romance blossomed from that day. And it continued to blossom until Okunade encouraged Nneoma to move in with him. Today they manage their lives, a happy couple both of whom run small businesses while looking forward to a better future. They are hopeful that their children will never have to enslaved by anyone. And most importantly, they are hopeful that people in the impoverished parts of Lagos and beyond would somehow overcome the people and things holding them in captivity…

~Emmanuel Benson
This story is dedicated to anyone faced with one struggle or another; may you overcome and be on top…



    Lauryn said:
    March 27, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    I almost cried as I read this. To think that there are people who are actually experiencing this sort of thing is just heartbreaking


    Kenny said:
    March 27, 2016 at 10:51 pm


    Liked by 1 person

    Mary said:
    March 27, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    I can’t get over how well you actually tell stories. Keep it up hun


    Mike said:
    March 27, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Hey Nuel. You’ve not responded to my inbox. I’m waiting


    myredlipsstick said:
    March 28, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Was waiting for this…. a wonderful end to story…. it gives hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    Christy said:
    March 28, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Such a human story. More please.


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