By Amusan Tolulope
I stood stunned as the judge pronounced my husband guilty and handed him a thirty years of imprisonment with bountiful hard labour. Yes, i could still remember his countenance and the scream of my younger son and that of my brother-in-law. He fell to the earth and cried. I had lost my voice in shock as the pronouncements had no human feelings. They made my husband feel like a helpless turkey slaughtered on the American’s thanksgiving day.
“Simi, you better grateful to God that he was going to to spend a few years behind bars and not a life imprisonment.” My sister-in-law said and jolted me back to my senses. I looked at her and I detested her.
“How can you call a thirty years imprisonment a few years?” I whispered to myself like a fresh lunatic patient. For crying out loud my husband is fifty years old, who was going to retire next year January. People are wicked. Yes, I can stand anywhere to say this.
I watched how he was dragged into the blackmaria. He looked at me with tick tears raining down like a volcanic eruption on his face. I knew he had lost faith in his God. I did to at the initial stage.
Everybody from my family gathered to consoled eachother and bids him goodbye. But I ran after the blackmaria. He tried waving at me to stop but I was so desperate to follow the Jeep anywhere as long as my strength can carry me. I was not athletic so in few minutes of running, I lost altitude and I fell to the ground wailing.
My husband was not the only person convicted of that crime, but the testimony of other culprits shows he was not among them. I felt there must have been a higher power trying to downturn the truth.
I remained on the ground until Kunle and his wife came and dragged me to their car. I refused to walk.
I have three children (two girls and a boy) and all of them are in the University. I have tried my best to keep the truth from them. My brother-in-law called them one after another to inform them of their father ordeal. He affirmed that “your father stole money, and he has gone to the prison to spend it.”
I saw my kids and we all cried our eyes out. Little did we know that more drama was waiting for us back home. Yes, my husband’s family was waiting for me to explain my husband whereabout to them.
First they did was to prevent us from entering into our home. Mr Kunle, my colleague tried to persuade them, but they harassed him and even went as far as saying he was sleeping with me. I saw his face, he was angry but kept mute. It was as if my sister-in-law with her kids had a premonition that my husband was going to be sentenced, they had some of their belongings with them and were ready to moved into our home. They evicted us and took over everything.
They threw our belongings at us as we stood shocked at her sudden change of attitude. She was the nice type and could do anything to see me smile. Even when my husband and I had issues, she would travel from Onitsha to settle our dispute. I kept wondering how the devil managed to encompassed her totality.
Kunle took us to his house and gave us a BQ to stay. It was the best he could do at the moment. He doesn’t want to be too close so that the wife wouldn’t be thinking otherwise.
My kids returned back to school after series of prayer meetings and fasting for God to step into our situation. We renew our trust and faith in Him. I pleaded with them to let me do the thinking while they concentrate on their studies. They promised.
Two weeks after the sentence, I resumed office and the secretary handed me a letter. I thought it was my promotion letter because I had been due for promotion since the past two years. The letter was from the Chairman and not from the board. I went straight into my office and I was shocked when I met Mrs Ojo sitting comfortably on my seat typing on my computer. I greeted her and even congratulated her for the promotion. I thought I was going to another better office. Little did I know that I was not actually going to another office, I have been sent away totally from the company.
I have been working as an accountant in this company for almost twenty years and no crime of financial impropriety ever leveled against me for once. After reading the letter I passed out and woke up in the hospital.
Not only was my appointment terminated, all the benefits that should have been my reward was cancelled. My BP rised and I went into coma for four days. Thanks to Kunle who stood by me. He was the Angel God sent to comfort me at my time of need.
You want to ask what my offence was right? They said “having studied your husband’s criminal record and most especially the latest conviction of his crime relating to financial theft, we can no longer be needing your service here in our company as we feel our finances is not safe again under your watch.” I had given my all to the company. I did five years of no salary when the company was under the threat of debt and could not pay most of their expertrates. It was I and Kunle who stood and volunteered to sacrifice our salaries for others. I believe the Chairman has forgotten. He has forgotten when he came to my house and met my family drinking garri without any fish or groundnut. He came with money, but told my husband that, he wanted to give it to his mistress who was waiting for him in his car. My husband wanted me to leave the job that very day, but I pleaded. The same chairman signed my sack letter.
How will I continue to pay for my children school fees. All my savings has been given to the lawyer. He promised to appeal my husband’s jail term. He collected my money and I didn’t heard from him again.
I visited my husband every two days but I refused to tell him what just befell me. We have been married for twenty-three years, so he knew slot about me. He could tell when am sad and when am happy. No matter how hard I tried to hide it. That faithful day, he just looked at me and smiled.
He told me to my face the exact thing that happened. I knew he knew. We both cried on eachother’s shoulders. Because I didn’t give the prison officer money that day, he chased me out few minutes after I got there.
All this happens in June and there was no hope of getting a better job before the year runs out. I kept my faith in God and hoped for the best. No family helped us. But God used his son, Kunle to bless my family.
One Sunday morning I woke up to start hearing Kunle’s wife shouting at him in their living room. Her voice was so loud. This was the aftermath of Kunle changing the school of their son from a very expensive school to a less expensive school but with greater quality. This move didn’t go down well with his wife, she questioned his audacity. He did apologized but Madam wanted us out of her husband’s house.
“You are saying no abi? Even if you want to sleep with any woman, why can’t you look for a decent young blood and not that old wretched thing?” She bloated. That word hits my entirety like a gunshot. But, Kunle stood his ground to defend me.
At midnight, I packed to our church and I was warmly welcomed by our pastor. He was happy to receive me. I kept this from the kids too. I lied to them I have gotten a house but when they came during the holidays and found out the truth, they were heart broken.
I couldn’t get a job anywhere simply because my husband’s conviction was circulated in all the big companies in Nigeria and they refused to employ anybody with my surname. But wait, how come my brother-in-law is still in that same company where his brother was accused of theft. He has even been promoted. Only God knows why he can use the same surname conveniently but it was a taboo for me. There was no way things was going to be better for my family again. I cried every night.
Thank God for my kids. They were well tutored. They knew my worth, they engaged in legitimate businesses and that they used in supporting themselves in the school.
In October, I got a job at a private school to teach account. I copied with the pressure and the director of the school loved my passion. I prayed with the kids before and after class. The students loved it. And sooner I became friends with some of them. I counsel some and also take private lesson with some. This gave me extra income aside the salary.
On December 15th I heard in the news that a man called Mr Benjamin was assassinated in the prison. That was my husband’s name. I ran to the prison to be sure the news I heard was not real. The officer on duty, refused to let me see him. But when I asked of my husband, he shook his head and told me to take heart. It took the strength of two hefty men to take me out of the prison. I cried all night. I felt my husband died a painful death. I kept seeing him in my dreams. He would look at me and smile.
Few days to Christmas I got a message that my sister-in-law had moved from our house. I thought they wanted to sell it. Since the property belong to their brother whatever they like they should do to it.
On the eve of Christmas I got a message from an unknown number, “meet me at home”. I showed the kids and they said it was the new trick used by fraudsters. I deleted the message.
On the Christmas morning, we just came back from the church and was watching a movie on the African Magic when I heard a knock. My kids and I had just finished eating our rice and chicken and was not expecting anybody. The knock cane again and I went for the door.
Few metres to the door and it opened ajar. I saw Benjamin standing with a open arms. I felt numbed like a statue thinking I had seen a ghost. The kids jumped on him and shared beautiful hugs.
He soon grabbed me and kissed me. He was not looking like someone who was in prison. His skin was fresh and looked chubby. We held ourselves and sang a song if thanksgiving. We thank God for the Christmas Miracle.
” I caught my brother planning to move a huge sum from the company’s account. He was not the only persons involved. Almost the top officials knew about it. It is a move to render the company wreck and that will prompt the Chairman to sell seventy percent of the company’s shares. I warned my brother but he didn’t listen. Since he was involved I couldn’t tell the Chairman directly so I sent him a voice note and the picture of the documents which will be used. Few days after I sent those, I got the news that the Chairman was hospitalised. He was poisoned. He took him five months to recover. It was then he saw what I had sent to him and acted on it. When they found out their secret has leaked, they tried to silence me since I was the only living witness. The same prison officer you give money gave me the food that nearly took my life. But Chairman was timely. He withdrew the case and the head of the prison has ordered my immediate release. I was then rushed to the hospital. All my enemies are behind bars now serving fifty years in prison. I was called back and given the post of managing director. With a twenty percent of the company’s shares. I have a good news for you all, we are moving to Canada.” He narrated.
Do you believe in Miracles? If you do, then sit back and watch your long awaited answer locate you.