Jeremiah 33:2-3 NKJV
“Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it, (the Lord is His name),
Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you
Do not know”
It was exactly twenty years ago, she had been sitting on the bed, crying and asking for her mama, she was just seven months old, all she could see were men in black uniforms holding handcuffs, speaking in harsh tones to a man that resembled her papa, she was too young to understand what was happening, her papa had been falsely accused of fraud, he will be going to a place called kirikiri tomorrow, he will be asked to stand in a house, in front of a black man wearing a black gown and a white cap, the men in black asked papa to follow them, papa started to cry, he said he was innocent, the men in black refused to listen, they slapped papa and hit papa on the head with a stick, they called papa ‘ole jatijati’, I started to cry, why are they beating my papa, what did he do? My papa will never hurt anyone, I cried louder and I wouldn’t stop. Then one of them looked at me, the others called him ‘Oga’, he spoke to papa in Yoruba, ‘is that your child’? He asked, papa nodded, his mouth swollen from all the slaps he had received. Where is her mother? She has gone to look for food; we haven’t eaten for two days now papa replied. The man looked at me with sadness, he gave papa 100 naira, he told papa to buy me something to eat and that papa should come to the station tomorrow with land papers and a guarantor.
Papa called his lawyer, they said the case is going to hold next week, 16th march 1995, I have not seen my papa in many weeks, mama says papa is in a house where they keep stubborn people, mama says papa is in kirikiri, I don’t know where kirikiri is. Mama is crying, mama is praying, she says papa is innocent, she says God will Judge. I haven’t seen sister, mama says there is no food in the house, sister is with grandma and grandpa, sister does not know that papa is in kirikiri. Nepa has taken the light, mama has gone to borrow candle and matches, mama said there is no food this night, and mama says we will drink Lipton and sleep.
Tomorrow is March 16th, papa will come home, I will see papa. Mama is watching the television, one woman is reading a paper, and mama says it is called news. The woman says one Barrister Gbajabiamila slept and did not wake up. Mama is crying, she says the man is papa’s lawyer. I don’t know why mama is crying.
Mama puts me on her back, she says we are going to a place, the place is called court, she said I will see papa. Papa has been in kirikiri for 5 months, mama says God will judge.
I see papa! Papa looks sad, he has marks on his face, papa’s hands and legs are tied. The men in black are pushing papa, they are saying ‘ojo iku e ti de’ (the day of your death has come) papa looks at mama, papa is crying, why is papa crying?
The man in black gown and white cap enters, everybody is standing, he sits down, everybody is sitting. He calls papa, they put papa in a cage. They say papa should put his hand on a book and swear, they ask papa if he is guilty, papa says he is innocent. The man in black gown asked for papa’s lawyer, papa said his lawyer died this morning. The man in black gown is talking to some men in black gowns, the man is asking questions, mama is crying, papa is praying, papa says he is innocent, papa says God is the judge. The man in black gown says ‘Discharge and acquitted’. Mama is jumping, papa is crying, mama says God is the judge. Mama is singing ‘ God na elele, God na waya o, nobody be like am, nobody dey like am, ewo wan nne God na elele’ the man in black gown says papa can go, everyone is clapping, papa is not crying again, papa says God is good. I don’t know who God is, but he saved papa, God is a good man.
A year later:
Mama’s tummy is big, papa says mama is pregnant, I don’t know what pregnant means, papa says mama is carrying a baby that looks like me. Somebody is knocking the door, one man comes in, he gives papa a white paper and he walks away. Papa reads the paper, papa is crying, papa says he has a job, mama is dancing with her big belly, papa says they are paying him #20,000 naira per month, mama says we won’t go hungry again. Papa and mama are praying to God again, they said God is good, they say his grace is sufficient. I don’t know what grace means.