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“The Girl I love hates me!”

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Ever found yourself in this type of traumatic situation whereby the person you love hates you? We all get to have this experience at least once in a lifetime. And trust me, it can be hard to deal with; speaking from experience. In my own case, I tend to blame myself for everything that went wrong. You see, I used to have it with this girl- good communication, gorgeous smiles each time we met, long nights of texting and other great and fantastic moments. At this point, she loved me unconditionally even more than I did  love her. And before I knew it, I allowed the fact that she loved me too much to get into my head. So I began to feel cocky and very important, even as she remained so nice to me in spite of the fact. But then she eventually got tired and gave up on me. And it wasn’t until then that my mind cleared even as I came to my senses.

She had had it with my attitude, tired of having to constantly stroke my ego. As a matter of fact, she was tired of loving me. So she hated me instead! It was such a rude awakening because never for once did it cross my mind that this girl could stop loving me the way she once did. Unbeknownst to me, while I was busy feeling so good with myself and taking advantage of her, I failed to realize that humans have the tendency to change either suddenly or gradually. Until there I was…taken unawares by her sudden hatred for me. It was shocking how disdainful towards me she suddenly became. It was even worse than I ever did treat her. And I couldn’t take.

It does feel bad when someone who once loved you begins to hate you. As a matter of fact, the bad feeling can go from worse to worst when you realize that you still love this person who now hates you. There is every tendency of you making attempts to convince this estranged lover to love you again. You may even embarrass yourself severally in the process of doing this convincing. And at the end of it all, your chances of succeeding with getting your estranged lover back could be zero to none. And then you begin to think of all the things you did wrong to her and how you wish you had been different. And when it so happens that your former lover has moved on with someone else, your jealousy grows and knows no bounds.

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Here is something we should all bear in mind- most of those who suddenly start hating their former lovers do so after trying for long to endure some things about their lovers which they always disliked. In other words, rarely does a boyfriend or a girlfriend just start hating you for nothing. There is always that one thing in your relationship that always caused problem and which one of you complained about but failed to work on. And it is always that one thing to leads to hateful breakups. And here is something else I have learnt- the moment someone who once loved you decides to leave you because of your unrepentant attitude or the way you treated them badly, you will find it difficult to accept the fact that s/he is leaving you. And in your bid to make them stay, you will end up loving them more while they only hate you the most!

That said, it is important to work on yourself as a lover. Ensure to reciprocate the level of love shown you by your lover. And never fail to appreciate your lover too. Remember, he or she could have been with someone else but they chose you. Moreover, there are several other humans out there with whom they could match and flourish. Do be one of those who do not appreciate what they have until they lose it.

Cherish your lover today and always!

-Emmanuel Abara Benson

 

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The Diary of a Non-Male Chauvinist

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I know they think I’m weird. They call me a Feminist, and then wonder if there is even such a thing as a Male Feminist. And so they make light of my masculinity, going short of calling me a woman. But I am not a woman; I just dearly love women. Moreover, I am  by every standard male and masculine. But one thing I will never be is chauvinistic. I cherish the fact that a woman’s vagina birthed me. And in the same vein, I hold the belief that everyone deserves the right to be respectfully treated at all times, no matter whether it is a penis or a vagina that they have in between their legs.

Growing up as a little boy, I was always in awe of women. I always knew that there is something very special about them; something almost beyond human. Their resilience to life’s hurdles amazed me and inspired me. And so did their beauty, which up till date continues to mesmerize me by the way. But with every passing day ever since my childhood days, I came to realize that these beautiful set of humans called women aren’t always treated with as much justice as they deserved. Being female in our clime (African traditions) and indeed elsewhere can be synonymous with disadvantages. Women are short-changed at every level and aspect of life. And so I realised earlier on that this injustice has to be called out, repudiated and denounced. This is so important, because short-changing our women simply amounts to short-changing the whole of humanity. And this isn’t what we truly want for ourselves; is it?

As I have become grown with my worldviews expanded, I have come to become a total advocate/supporter of feminism. It is a good thing to be, because having availed myself the opportunity to learn about the long history of female oppression and the struggles that led to breaking down most of the glass ceilings, I knew right away that I had to become a part of the movement- the movement to break down the rest of the glass ceilings that is. Moreover, the truth is that I myself have been negatively impacted by the injustice called gender bias. My paternal grandmother was of course female. And even though I never met her, I knew the story of her life. She was a woman short-changed and disadvantaged by her own father, maybe not purposefully, but because it was what the culture specified. You see, she was the first child of a local Igbo Chief. Her father had the resources to put her through school just like he did her younger brother. But she never got that opportunity because it was uncultured for a young girl to go to school when she ought to be married and “tending her husband and children”. Consequently, my paternal granny never got the most basic education. This was unlike her brother who acquired a masters degree back in the 1960s. To cut this story short, my grandma, who married a local farmer, died as an impoverished farmer, whereas her brother became one of the most influential men of his time. The difference between them was that one got the opportunity to thrive whereas the other was denied that same opportunity…just because she was female.

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The decision to treat women and girls with respect does not do any harm. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case when women’s rights are violated and abused by culture and maybe legislation. I therefore use this medium to call on every well-meaning man to embrace gender-equality; embrace humanity. Respect and empower women, because s it is often said, the rest of humanity succeeds and thrives when women succeed and thrive.

Best!

-Emmanuel Abara Benson

 

WHY IS THE FASHION INDUSTRY SUCH AN ELITIST CIRCLE?

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Ever been interested in the fashion industry as much as I am? Perhaps the glitz and glamour of the Lagos Fashion Week fascinate you too! And of course there are the models, [mostly] skinny and beautiful; gracefully-composed/poised as they walk the runways. Such sophistication! Yet, we must all agree that mainstream fashion represent the perfect example of what everybody longs for but can hardly get to have. Why is that?

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Across the world, the fashion industry is such a closely-knit, exclusively-wealthy and obviously elitist circle. Those beautiful clothes and accessories are reserved for those who are rich enough to afford them.  Indeed, no hungry human can afford to buy a Lanre Da Silva dress or a Zizi Cardow dress. It is almost as if there is a pact between the superrich and the fashion industry experts to make it an all wealth affair, dedicated solely to those who are moneyed and classy.  Perhaps by deliberately making fashion elitist, those involved justify Hadley Freeman’s opinion that “fashion that is not elite is just clothing”.

“Rampant elitism is the cornerstone of fashion’s foundation garments. It’s like… I wear Alexander McQueen, therefore I am part of a select group that can afford it. Fashion has such a sense of self-importance it comes with a dry-clean-only label as standard…”

So why exactly is fashion so elitist? Well the fact that it can be F***ing  expensive forms the basis. Big fashion brands anywhere in the world are quite the luxury items and only those with real disposable income can afford them! Consequently, the price tag automatically excludes a wide range of any given population. They can only be the spectators, looking from outside the circle and never able to have an insider’s feel.  Such is the way of fashion.

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But the belief that fashion must be elitist to thrive comes with very many negative implications. And this can be blamed on the “matriarchs” of the industry. These are the fashion designers themselves, the Creative Directors and the Brand Ambassadors whom can be summarily grouped as “Complete bitches”. These set of humans [perhaps not all] are totally obnoxious in their ways. They feel they alone can dictate everything there is to know about fashion. More so, because they earn quite the money by selling to their select clientele, they inevitably feel like they are the richest and most sophisticated people. They have the highest expectations of newbies, including their demands that models be skinny and extremely beautiful. These recruitment yardsticks are set despite the fact that those who set them more often fail to meet the “standards” themselves.   And then there is the unfortunate aspect of the entire situation- the fact that the “matriarch’s” obnoxiousness overtime [inevitably] robs off on the “recruits” and sadly contributes in further perpetuating this culture of “perfect imperfections”.

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There is a lot on my mind on this topic and I daresay most of them aren’t patronizing. So I will just cut it short by saying that the fashion industry is such an important sector of our economy and society. And in order to ensure its longevity and continued success, it’s imperative that the prevalent culture of classism and “bitchcraftery” be done away with; please!

Written by Emmanuel Abara Benson

SWEPT BY THE WAVE OF LOVE

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The first time Nedum set eyes on Ginika, he felt the power of attraction. She was a total stranger, yet deep down within him he felt an instant click; that romantic feeling that just overwhelms you when you find the one! It was more easily felt than expressed because it all happened so unexpectedly when they both looked into each other’s eyes from across the concourse. He was there waiting to pick up his girlfriend who was flying in from Abuja…

The awe-striking moment didn’t last forever though because Ginika quickly looked away from Nedum and had hurriedly left the place instead. Truth is, she felt exactly the same way Nedum did. It was nothing short of an instant connection, a typical moment of attraction every sexual human finds [themselves] in every now and then. But then she decided to let the moment slide because it made her feel guilty. She was a married woman although quite unhappy no thanks to her husband and his cheating ways. It had however been a long time since anybody admired her way Nedum did and the encounter awakened a lot of desires within her. She however didn’t know exactly how a married woman was supposed to react to such feelings! Nobody taught her these things. All her life she had been the good girl- church-going, Jesus-loving and married to the only man who knew her private parts. She was loyal and loving to her husband despite his many shortcomings.

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But as she sat at the back of that taxi heading to her deluxe Lekki residence, she kept thinking about the strange man she saw at the airport, the man with who she felt the best attraction ever. She knew quite well that sitting in a cab and fantasizing about a stranger wasn’t exactly the most Christian thing to do as a married woman, yet she couldn’t help herself. So she fantasized that Nedum was every bit the realest man she had always wished she got to have and to hold. She wished she could see him again and feel the same way she had felt earlier. She kept thinking about him as the cab drove her home.

Unknown to her, she was getting home to meet an unexpected surprise. Her husband never expected her home that night. So as she got into the house and climbed upstairs to their bedroom, she met husband in bed, caught up in compromising positions with two women. They were busy doing many things at the same time, so busy they hardly even noticed her presence at first.  Never before had Ginika’s husband been careless enough to let her catch him in the act. He was a pastor, highly respected in church and easily mistakable for a saint. Those were attributes that made her love him enough to marry him. Unknown to her, she would spend every day suspecting him until she finally caught him in the act. And what was more; the two women he was frolicking with were highly respected sisters in the church! That evening, she had the perfect excuse to leave the marriage…

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Fast forward to five months later, Ginika was a divorced woman, facing all the stereotypes and loving it all. She felt good being free and was looking forwards to better days. And then one day after work as she stopped over at her favourite restaurant to have dinner, she met someone she thought she’d never meet again. It was Nedum, sitting just a table away with his back to her as he ate alone. Their gaze met and got hocked again when for whatever turned around to scan the place. And just like the first time, they shared that moment of attraction. And this time, neither of them was going to let the moment slip away. Just like Ginika, Nedum was freshly out of a relationship after his girlfriend left him to become the second wife of a senator. For months he was devastated and meeting Ginika again was indeed the best thing that happened to him the longest of times.

Today their love story continues, blossoming with every single day that passes. Got to love Love!

Written by Emmanuel Abara Benson

THIS IS HOW YOUR CELEBRITIES OBSERVED INDEPENDENCE DAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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Today, Nigeria got a year older since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1960. And to celebrate that, Nigerian celebrities joined the very day people to share their thoughts on various Social Media platforms including Twitter and Instagram. Below [with pictures] are the moments captured for your reading pleasure.  Enjoy, please!

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Osas Ighodaro Ajibade went about her Independence Day message all inspirational, writing on Instagram “Through it all; even the storm… We will and always will stand tall!!! Happy Independence Day Nigeria. #God Is Great.”

Tope Tedela kept it simple and short saying “May all be well with her. Amen.”

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Meanwhile, Iyanya prayed a lot, writing-“On this Independence Day, I pray for a speedy recovery from recession. I pray for the safe return of the Chibok girls. I pray for peace and prosperity in our father land. I pray for long life for you and I so we live to witness our dear country achieve her full potentials. Amen. God bless Nigeria. #Proud Nigerian.”

Genevieve Nnaji wrote “That’s how we stay surviving. #HappyIndependenceDayNigeria”. She then added a Nigeria emoji, a palm emotion and a heart emoji. Lots of emojis, girl.

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TY Bello wrote “Happy Independence DAY Nigeria. May we add new feathers… Let it be said that we found new ways to move forward… That we shook off every heavy weight and learnt to fly beautifully again.” She added lots of hashtags afterwards.

Also, Kehinde Bankole wrote “Happy Independence Day Nigeria. You spirit will expel the bad worms eating you up. Ase! Thankful for my motherland…#ProudlyNigerian”.

Others kept it simple, including Enyinnaya Nwigwe who donned a fancy heart with an obvious  Nigerian touch and simply wrote “Nigeria lives in me”. Rita Dominic also expressed hope, writing on Instagram- “A nation that will be great. I believe! Happy Independence Day Nigeria.”

There was also a touch of comedy in the entire felicitations with Falz Da Bahd Guy writing “#istillblieve in a better Naija! Eez juz a mattalov patient.”

ON MY WAY HOME LAST NIGHT…

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Imagine a tired young man leaving the office after several hours of serious work. That’s me, tired and spent as I was. But at least I looked forward to having a great weekend as I walked towards the bus stop, leaving behind the deluxe estate where my office is located. It was already past eight in the night and there was a long journey ahead of me; two bus drops and of course the unpleasant traffic I would surely encounter. Poor me indeed!

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I got through the first half of my journey quickly enough and before long had managed to get into the next bus that would convey me home. The rain was threatening to pour down and I didn’t want it to pour on my body. So as I sat in that uncomfortable space, I wanted more than anything for the bus to start moving already. It did, but unfortunately we came upon a heavy traffic on the main street soon enough. There were yellow buses, tankers and private [fanciful] vehicles all moving bumper to bumper. And even though the rain was yet to start, I knew it was sure to rain down.  I wished more than anything to be in the comfort of my bed before it started to rain. If only I could evoke some supernatural powers and perhaps fly home already. But then wishes aren’t horses, so I remained sat in that cramped up space with the bodies of total strangers pressed against mine.

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The bus was so cramped up so much so I could hardly even move freely much less observe those behind me. But I could clearly see the driver, a middle-aged man who was so focused on the road with his hands gripping the steering as though everything depended on it. Beside him were two individuals I immediately assumed were a couple.  The man was sitting right next to the driver with his right hand draped around the woman’s neck. Yet, as couplie as the two seemed I couldn’t help but notice something rather odd about them. First of all, the woman appeared a lot classier than the man. She even donned what appeared to be gold jewelries. And then I noticed how she seemed uncomfortable with the man’s hand resting on her. But then strange things happen in marriages all the time… I ignored them.

As the traffic stretched endlessly along the road, the driver suddenly decided to divert the course of our journey by driving off the main street into a strange neighbourhood. Nobody in the bus said a word because we figured that bypassing the gridlock was better than being stuck in it for hours.  For a while, we drove freely, passing different kinds of neighbourhoods until we came upon traffic once again. How unfortunate!  We were back to moving at a snail’s pace. And by this time I had no choice than to resign to fat. Blocking my ears with my earpiece, I pressed play on my Play Music and was soon listening to Tekno sing Pana.

The bus kept moving slowly. And then all of a sudden the supposed couple beside the driver began to alight. At first I thought they had gotten to their destination but then I realized their journey wasn’t over. While the man ran across the street as though he was quickly going to see someone or buy something, the woman paced along with the bus while waiting for him to return.  Later on I learnt he had gone to ease himself, but surprisingly he spent nearly seven minutes doing that. No thanks to the traffic, we literarily remained in the same spot waiting for him until he was back. And when he did return, both him and the woman returned to their seats just as traffic coincidentally eased up and we drove along.  For a while we just drove on freely until suddenly I noticed a major drama unfolding in the front seat. The man who had gone out earlier was frantically searching for something. He was sweating as he searched everywhere- his pockets, his bag, the dashboard and even the belongs of the woman I thought was his wife. He then demanded that the driver stop the bus and he [the driver] quickly obliged, parking by the roadside just as I watched other vehicles pass us by. At this point I was beginning to wonder what sort of hellish ride I was in just as I removed my earpiece to learn what exactly was going on. Much to my surprise, the man said he had lost his sixty thousand naira. He said the money was in his wallet, resting on his laps just before he went down to ease himself. And the he couldn’t find it. Some of the passengers suggested he should go back to the place he went to ease himself to look there. Quickly he dashed off there but was back soon enough, saying he didn’t find a thing. His hysteria attracted a little crowd and I imagined the situation could be dangerous because after all this was Lagosians where people are famous for erratic behaviour and mob actions. Moreover, that neighbourhood I suddenly found myself stuck in wasn’t the best of them and the possibility of touts overtaking the situation abounded.

    Meanwhile, my logical mind was already piecing the man’s narrative together and instantly I saw a lot of loopholes in his account. First of all, it is utterly impossible for a wallet to contain that amount of money; too many notes. Moreover, what sort of idiot would carelessly keep such an amount of money on his laps in a bus full of strangers and then leave to urinate without holding tightly to it? By the way, how come it took him so long to urinate, and upon his return never noticed that the money was gone? And then the most important question of all- where in the world could the money have gone to since nobody had left the bus yet asides the man? As he kept on screaming, going short of calling all of us suspects, I wondered whether I should ask him the questions on my mind.  I could tell even the other passengers were suspecting him but being rather careful about what they said. Yet the man went on rampaging even accusing both the driver and the woman of stealing the money just as he tore apart the woman’s bag in search of the non-existent money.

It wasn’t until a long vehicle plying the road nearly knocked the bus and all of us off the road that we all became agitated. The passengers screamed at the driver to move the bus already. It was late and the rain was about to fall. No single individual should ever have to keep almost twenty people stranded for so long. But the man insisted that the driver was not going anywhere until the money is found. This prompted me to address him. I told the man that if indeed he lost his money, it was unfortunate. And as sad as it was, he should be considerate for those of us who were late from work, tired and needed rest. In response he screamed at me for being heartless and said he prayed I lost something valuable soon. According to him, he was the one who deserved all the considerations he lost seventy five thousand naira. Immediately he said that, most of the passengers have noticed the inconsistency in his story and began to shout at him. They questioned how he had suddenly gone from losing sixty thousand to seventy five; who did he think he was fooling, they asked him. As we screamed at the driver take us away from the place or refund our money, the man finally mellowed down and suggested that we contribute anything we can for him as compensation. But people told him sorry that there was recession in town. And just like that, we left him as the bus finally moved.

As we proceeded without him, the passengers began to analyze the incident. Everybody agreed the man was an amateur criminal. Several of his kind exists across the city of Lagos, but we were lucky we didn’t find ourselves surrounded by them all.  Anyway, the bus soon rejoined the main street and thankfully the traffic was no longer as bad. We drove for a few minutes before some passengers began to get down at their respective bus stops. And just as we were nearing my bus stop the controversial man reappeared from nowhere with another man, both jumping into the bus as it moved. The man was beside the driver once again and was threatening to maim the man if he didn’t return his money while the other fellow sat beside me. At this point there were just a few of us left in the bus and the stranger sitting beside me just kept staring at me with those drugged out eyes of his. There was something evil about him as I managed to look into the eyes it was though I was looking into the eyes of Danger. Unfortunately, he knew how uncomfortable he made me feel and had seemed to be really enjoying the moment. So I sat still and pretended to ignore him until luckily for me, we came upon a little traffic jam and without thinking twice I quickly pushed past the stranger and jumped out into the middle of the road. And as I quickly crossed to the other side, I noticed the strange man alighting and following me and so did the other one who allegedly lost his money. Thankfully, there were still people out and about on the main street so I walked briskly in a bid to disappear to my neighbourhood. But it seemed the individuals were intent at keeping up with me. Nobody had to tell me I must not let that happen.

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As soon as I left the main street and walked down the street that led to my apartment, I became instantly aware of how very desolate everywhere was. The impending rain had caused people to get behind the comfort of their doors. Moreover, it was really late by this time. So I kept walking as fast as I could as those two kept following me, and just then the rain began to fall. Perhaps it was fortunate for me that it began to rain when it did because it was the perfect excuse for me to run. And run I did, quickly diverting to ensure the creeps didn’t follow me home. My heart was pounding heavily against my chest by the time I got home and somehow I knew I had looked into the face of danger and yet escaped its harm…

~Emmanuel Benson

*These were true events.

THE CHARMING, COMFORTABLE AND PRIVILEGED LIVES OF NIGERIA’S AFFLUENT ONES

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Let’s be clear about one thing- wealthy people get away with many things in this Nigeria. What can I say…theirs is a privileged kind of life! It only goes to show how some people are indeed above the law and as a matter of fact use the constitution as their foot mat. But then again they are the privileged ones! Imagine that while some of us have to attend grammar schools, others are flown in private jets to exotic places like the Swiss Alps to attend private schools. Even those whose parents’ are “patriotic enough” to let them study here end up attending schools where a term’s tuition for a single student can pay the salaries of nearly one hundred [UNDERPAID] civil servants. That’s not all. Have you [yet] heard the story about some rich  Abuja kids who literarily fly from Abuja to Lagos everyday to attend school? I mean, they fly into Lagos every morning, get chaperoned to the school  and then fly back to Abuja by the end of the day… under-aged school children those are! It’s almost incredible, right? Well how about those fancy men and women who simply cannot “risk their lives” by taking local flights from Abuja to Lagos;  so they fly to London instead and from there head to Lagos!

In the world of Nigeria’s super rich, life comes with less worries. Everyday is like Christmas, and no place could be better than home. These super rich black humans would rather do their shopping in Paris than actually live there. And the reason is not farfetched- there are numerous privileges they enjoy by being rich in Nigeria which they cannot enjoy elsewhere. Therefore, they travel often but always return home. Home sweet home, they say as they touch down at MMA. The ladies  among them, (who are fanciful by the way and consumes the latest high fashion items from the best designers) have just flown first class from Europe where they shopped  for lipsticks and luxury gowns at Chanel and other well-lit stores in the main streets of Paris. The men on the other hand are good money spinners themselves. They would always import the latest cars and purchase properties in choice cities across Europe, the Americas and of course Dubai. Also the extremely wealthy ones  acquire private jets to be able to fly around, in most cases either borrowing or stealing to do so. All of these things keep happening in the very  place where most people  find it difficult to buy yellow garri and cook okra soup for dinner. Sad stuff!

Now just so we are clear again, I actually do love rich people. I know a couple of them personally, and I’d love to be so fucking rich myself when I grow up. *Winks. The problem I have with the privileged ones however is that most of them get away with serious offenses! You are probably familiar with the likes of Obanikoro, Stella Oduah, Allison Madueke, Bode George… I mean, the list is endless. These people stole billions of naira and never got to face the full weight of the law. But then again there are other stories of crimes committed by wealthy Nigerians we don’t get to read in the dailies. Sometimes last year, a friend of mine in Abuja was walking home from work (because he couldn’t pay the bus fare) when he got knocked down by a fanciful middle-aged rich woman. She simply carried him to the hospital, dumped his a** there and ran away. But that incident was one that ended nicely because a similar incident (also in Abuja by the way) ended tragically. This man was crossing the road when another fancy car crushed him to his death…

These crimes never get investigated. These wealthy people (some of them), they abuse their employees and their house helps and nothing happens. They are the MDs who receive fat salaries and give peanuts to the ones that actually work hard for the money. And when serious economic recessions loom, they quickly sack thousand of employees so that they may continue earning fat salaries. For their crimes they get nothing near a reprimand. Their stories are unlike the petty thief who get cut to pieces and burnt for stealing petty stuff like bread, transistor radios, cheap cell phones.

I am speaking out on this topic because I believe there needs to be change in our justice system. But most importantly, the impoverished masses must be enabled out of their penury. The time is now!

~Emmanuel Benson