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Mama Roz’s Chronicles: The Dark Side of Love Prison Series (4)

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Amaka’s Story

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Part 2

Later that evening when Amaka got home, she was in a confused state. She was elated that she was engaged of course, even if she didn’t have a ring to prove it. It was a bit strange though that Mr Isaac had told her not to tell anyone what they had done or about the marriage proposal. Perhaps he wanted to tell her parents first in his own time. It was a huge secret to keep but she would obey him, after all he would soon be her husband. As it turned out it did not remain a secret for too much longer.

Mr Isaac was a happy man. Things had advanced much quicker than he had expected. He certainly had not expected her to give in so quickly. He was also surprised to find that she was a virgin. He hadn’t really expected that as some of these school girls could be very experienced. All in all, he was very happy except for one minor detail; the matter of the marriage proposal. He felt a slight twinge of guilt when he remembered that. Undoubtedly, that had hastened things along but surely, she could not really have thought he meant it. Perhaps not. He decided he would not mention it again and hopefully in time she would forget about it.

After that first day, they spent every moment they could together. Since she couldn’t tell anyone about her engagement, Amaka had to sneak out of the house to see Mr Isaac and like Cinderella, rush back home again before her parents got home and noticed her absence. This lasted several weeks until Amaka realised that she had missed two periods. She didn’t know what to do or who to tell about this. If she told her friends, they might spread the news around and she would have to leave school. She decided to tell her sister, Ify.

Amaka had two sisters, both older than her. The eldest had dropped out of school as a result of mental health challenges. She frequently ran away from home roaming around the streets for weeks until her father picked her up and took her home. Sometimes she would go missing for months and once she was away for a whole year. There were usually tell-tale signs when she was about to have one of her episodes and then her father would lock her up in a room until she was sober again. Amaka was not very close to her, no one was really, so she couldn’t tell her about the pregnancy. Her other sister, Ify on the other hand was very accommodating and usually gave her sound advice so she decided to confide in her. She wanted to know how she could remove the pregnancy before their father found out but Ify did not think that was a good idea and alerted their father.

Once Amaka’s father found out, an abortion was completely out of the question.  He however wanted to know who was responsible for this. His daughter was only 16 years old. How could anyone be so wicked? For weeks Amaka would not give his name since she had promised to keep it a secret. Eventually with sufficient pressure from her father, Amaka confessed that Mr Isaac was responsible for her pregnancy.

Amaka had not told Mr Isaac that she was pregnant because she hadn’t seen him for a while. He had travelled and since he came back, he had been unavailable. So, the first he heard of it was when Amaka’s father knocked on his door with a policeman who invited him to accompany them to ‘A’ Division police station.

Mr Isaac was well aware of the full implication of the offence he was being accused of. Amaka was under age and therefore admitting to having had carnal knowledge of her was admitting to statutory rape. Moreover, what would his wife say when she discovered he had impregnated a young girl?

He denied it completely and said that Amaka was delusional. He didn’t know her well and had only given her a ride to school out of kindness, once when it was raining. There was no way Amaka’s father could prove it so he told Mr Isaac that God would judge him and left it at that. If indeed they left it at that, perhaps the events that followed would have been avoided. As it turned out, their lives were intricately woven together forever.

Mr Isaac went to the village and brought back his wife and three children. They had a daughter and a pair of twin babies. He told his wife that ‘they’ were trying to pin Amaka’s pregnancy on him but that he was completely innocent. His wife was furious but not with him, with Amaka. She went to their home and warned her severely to leave her husband alone. “Husband snatcher! Home breaker! Prostitute! Go and find the man that impregnated you”, she ranted on and on at every given opportunity until Amaka was too afraid to come out of her house.

Seven months later, Amaka had a baby boy to her father’s delight. Her father was a successful builder with three beautiful daughters whom he adored but he had no son. He was therefore very pleased to welcome his grandson.

In time, Amaka returned to school, completed her WAEC exams and gained admission to the College of Education, Minna.

Mr Isaac completed his house next door to Amaka’s house and their family moved in. He had not spoken to Amaka again since the pregnancy was discovered. He did not contribute anything toward the upkeep of the child and in fact treated Amaka as if she were a complete stranger rather than a woman he had shared intimate moments with.

His wife on the other hand, did not let up at all. Every time she saw Amaka the ranting would start. Several years after Amaka had given birth to her son, the wife still hadn’t stopped taunting her.

It was 2010 and Amaka’s son was six years old. Amaka, now 22 and in the College of Education, had returned from school and had been home for a while because their lecturers had gone on strike. However there had been a recent announcement on the radio that the school was reopening so Amaka was preparing to return to school. She came out of her house that morning to go to the market to buy the things she would need in school.

At that same moment Mr Isaac’s wife was coming out of her house and saw Amaka and as usual the sight of her just set her off. She started her usual rant, calling Amaka names “useless girl, prostitute, husband snatcher”, on and on she went.

Something snapped in Amaka’s head that day. It was just too much and she had had enough of it. As usual she did not respond to the woman to avoid incurring the wrath of other neighbours, all of whom were in full support of Mr Isaac’s wife. She just ignored her and went back into the house but she felt an indescribable rage consume her.

After Mrs Isaac had gone to the market, Amaka came out again. Mr Isaac’s children and Amaka’s son were all playing together outside. Two years earlier, Mrs Isaac had been pregnant again and had given birth to another child, a little girl. All five children were playing together outside their house.

As Amaka walked by, she picked up the two-year old baby and took her to an uncompleted building nearby. She put a Bagco bag over the baby’s head and tied it up. The child struggled as she tried to breathe but Amaka held her down and strangled her until she was still.

Then she carried the baby in the bag to a farm nearby. She saw a farmer there. “Amaka how are you?” he greeted.  He knew Amaka quite well. Her mother owned one of the farms in the area and she often came with her mother and her sister to till the farm.

There was something strange about the way she looked today though; a certain glint in her eye. He couldn’t place it but he was a little unsettled by it. “Is all well?” he asked. Amaka nodded “All is well” she said. He looked at her again, then went about his business. She sat down on the ground holding the bag until the farmer left and then she hid the bag in a secluded part of the farm still tied up and went home.

When Mrs Isaac came back from the market, she started looking for her baby. The children had all been playing and had not noticed when the child went missing. Everyone got involved in the search. Mrs Isaac came to their house and asked her father if he had seen their child but he hadn’t. He, Amaka’s mum and her sisters all joined the search for the missing child to no avail. The next day Amaka returned to school.

A month later, Amaka came home for a visit. She had been home for a few days and was preparing to return to school when a policeman came and knocked on their door asking to speak to her. Her father asked her if she had fought with anyone in the market that day but she said no.

“Maybe it’s about the missing Isaac child. Do you know anything about it?” he asked. She said she knew nothing about it. The policeman was under instructions to bring her back to the station so she went with him and her parents accompanied her. She kept denying any knowledge of what had happened to the child until they told her that the farmer said he had seen her on the farm that day carrying a Bagco bag. They promised to let her go back to school to take her exams if she confessed.  Sensing that the game was up, she confessed to murdering the baby.

The case was concluded in 2014 and she was sentenced to death by hanging. It was commuted to life imprisonment in 2020 after she had been incarcerated for ten years.

Amaka regrets what she did. She has spent about 11 years inside and is now 33 years old. Her father died 2 years ago. Her son, who was raised by her parents is now 17 years old and out of school as he has no one to pay for his school fees. He lived with her uncle and his wife for a while but they really maltreated him and he went back to her mother.

Her parents had sought Mrs Isaac’s forgiveness and if she has the chance, she would also love to apologize to her. To date Mr Isaac has still not admitted that he was responsible for the pregnancy and she feels that he completely ruined her life.

Amaka regrets her anger and her desire to revenge. She hardly sees any members of her family now. She hasn’t seen her son since she was incarcerated. Since her father died, her sister with the mental health challenges disappeared and has not been seen since. Her other sister, Ify lives in Minna with her husband and family.

Amaka is working towards retaking her WAEC examination again and is planning to attend the open university to study Guidance & Counselling.