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They were dangerous men who for many years terrorized Lagos residents. They robbed people in their homes, on the highways and in the banking halls; raping and maiming in the process. Unfortunately, these bandits were elusive to authorities, and by the early 2000s their activity had gotten out of control…

Laura was a woman who followed love home. As a young woman in Germany, she was so fascinated by black men so much so that the moment she met Laolu at the Free University of Berlin, she instantly developed crushes for him. Interestingly, he reciprocated her feelings; and it wasn’t long afterwards before a lovey-dovey situation took place. For the next four years that they spent together at the university they went strong with their romance much to the dismay of Laura’s parents. This was happening in the 1970s when many none Africans held many stereotypes against the continent, casting unmentionable aspersions against black Africans and their ways. But the love between Laolu and Laura sustained despite the opposition, and by the end of their studies Laura was more than eager to follow her man to Nigeria.

The lovebirds got married in 1978 and lived happily ever after in Lagos where Laolu worked as a customs officer while she [Laura] taught European languages at the University of Ibadan. Laura’s love for Africa was almost insane and made it easy for her to easily adapt to the Nigerian culture…including raising a large family of six. Hers was a happy home, and she had taught her four daughters and two sons to embrace and be proud of their unique heritage while living their lives as citizens of the world.


Unfortunately, Laura’s happy ending didn’t last forever. Everything changed that July night when the bandits unexpectedly stormed her Lekki residence. This was in 2006, several years after that chanced meeting with Laolu resulted in one of the truest romantic stories ever. She was an old woman by this time, a retired professor just like her husband who had also retired from the customs service. Their children were in different parts of the world leading their lives while she alone remained in the house with her beloved husband. And then came the armed robbers! Somehow they got tipped off by someone who knew that Laolu had some millions at home that night; money intended for the completion of a contract he was executing for the government. As the doorbell rang, Laura opened it and was very surprised to see the masked men (about ten of them) forcing themselves into her house. Before long, she and her husband were held hostage in their own home. Lying face-down with several riffles pointing at them, Laura held on to her husband’s hand while praying in her mind for peace. She loved peace and serenity. Never for once in her entire life did she imagine she could find herself in such violent situation.

Laura watched as one of the criminals grabbed Laolu and pulled him up to his feet. Pointing a gun to his head, the masked man told Laolu to either provide the money or say good bye to life. Meanwhile, Laolu was a very confused man at that very moment. Never before had he found himself in such a dilemma. He had nearly fifty million naira at him that moment, money that didn’t exactly belong to him and as such could not afford to lose. But then he loved life and wouldn’t want to get shot in the head. Yet there was no guarantee him and his wife would escape that moment alive even if he gave the criminals the money. So he was confused as these several thoughts raced through his mind in split seconds just as he told the man with the gun that he had no money with him. he knew they would never find the money without him giving it to them because it was in the safest room in that mansion of his, a mansion that was specially built for the kind of emergency situation he found himself. Already the rest of the criminals did ransack the house and found nothing. So Laolu was asked again-
“Where the fuck is the money?”
“There is no money here, son” he replied, sounding as calm as possible. Infuriated, the criminal released a punch to Laolu’s face which sent the old man reeling to the floor. He was soon sprawled out on the floor even as Laura rushed over towards him. But just then she felt the butt of the riffle hitting her face, sending her to the floor next to her husband. She had landed with her head and was motionless as the thieves searched the house one last time before getting frustrated. They then left the place quickly to avoid getting caught…

~Emmanuel Benson



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