… Their lives were destroyed one starry night in June.
They were a family in the neighbourhood I spent my late teen years in Ikeja.
What had happened to them that night was kept on the down low.
The only ones who knew of what happened that fateful night was they who it happened to, the perpetrators who made it happen and me because I was dating one of the daughters who witnessed it happen.
It was close to three a.m when it happened.
The neighbourhood was sleeping but the night refused to die because of the barrage of generators that were wailing in several compounds.
At the time, the streets had no gates, and there were no vigilantes patrolling the streets.
So the men of the underworld came unhindered and unheard.
They jumped over the fence that surrounded the compound of the family, woke up the sleeping guard with a dirty slap and promptly led him at gun point to open the gate of the compound for their car to drive in. Then they made the guard knock on the front door of the house which was made of beautifully carved wood.
He knocked and knocked, and finally, a groggy voice called from behind the door.
It was the voice of their father.
“Who is that?”
“Na me, sir.”
The guard responded with his heavily accented Hausa voice. It was shaky. But their father didn’t hear the fear in his voice because of the wailing of the generator.
“Wetin you want?”
“Na di generator. E dey do wan kind. I say make I tell you before e quench.”
The armed robbers had told him what to say.
The bolts of the door unlatched, and the door swung open, but before their father could see the three men that were standing close to the guard, they had leapt at him, rained punches on him and bundled him into the house.
The guard was taken back to the guard house, gagged and tied by two other armed robbers, who then proceeded to assume guarding the now closed gate and keeping an eye on the deserted street.
Inside the house it was mayhem.
The robbers had assembled the wife and their three daughters.
They had donated more slaps and kicks, in between laughter and the downing of bottles of beer, which they had helped themselves to from the refrigerator.
They didn’t ask for money but instead announced themselves as hired assassins on a paid mission to terminate the life of the father.
The wife and the daughters had pleaded with the assassins not to kill their father. They offered all the jewelry, the electronics, the money they had in the house in place for their father and the assassins had refused to budge.
Their father, on the other hand, a very proud man had refused to beg. Instead, he kept speaking through his swollen bleeding mouth, that his family not be harmed even if they took his life.
Something had touched the assassins, and instead of killing their father, they announced that they will kill him even though they will leave him alive.
The family couldn’t comprehend the meaning of their statement.
Then the meaning became clearer when the assassins had asked their father to have sex with the two older daughters while the mother and the youngest daughter watched.
He bluntly refused.
The beating resumed.
He still refused.
The wife begged them to stop beating her husband.
The daughters begged him to do as the assassins requested.
Their father begged the assassins to kill him instead.
Then the assassins announced that they will kill all gang rape the youngest daughter, who was six at the time and then kill her.
The family wailed and pleaded with their father to do as the assassins wanted.
He still refused.
They stripped the crying girl naked.
They laid her down on the carpeted floor.
And as one of the men advanced towards her while unbuckling his belt, their father began to call on God to do something.
The youngest daughter screamed for her father as the man spread her legs apart knelt down between her legs.
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”
Their father began to sob. It was heavy, and it was deep.
And in a broken voice, their father announced that he would do it.
The man who was kneeling in between the youngest daughters leg got up, and she rolled into a crying and trembling ball.
The assassins ordered the father, mother and daughters to strip naked.
And then goading the father, they instructed him to assume the missionary position over the oldest daughter.
He pleaded that he couldn’t do it while seeing her face and instead asked that he did it from behind.
And received some more slaps and kicks for the request.
They threatened once again to rape the youngest, and when she began screaming again as they tried to uncurl her, their father assumed the position.
The wife wailed, the daughters cried, and their father sobbed.
And as the assassins laughed and jeered, their father slept with each of his two oldest daughters.
The wife closed her eyes tightly shut and had to open it when several slaps furiously ordered her to.
The assassins wanted her to watch every second of the horror.
She watched the men stand around her husband and daughters, gun pointed at them, as her husband sobbed loudly and her daughters wailed hopelessly as he moved in and out of them until he finally ejaculated in the youngest of the older daughters.
The assassins then spoke together in hush tones while stealing furtive glances at the traumatised family.
One of them spoke solemnly.
“You lucky say our church mind dey shift today. Go church go do thanksgiving. And pray say the person wen send us no go send other people again.”
With that they finally left, with more unopened bottles of beer, after they had their fill of the macabre.
And the family lay there on the carpet sobbing in the deepest of pain.
It was when the sun broke the darkness of the night, that the mother finally stood up and gently led each daughter to the bathroom where she made them all sit under the shower and she gently and silently scrubbed each daughter clean.
The father rose from the pit of humiliation, went upstairs to the master bedroom, stood under the shower and sobbed again and again while asking God why he allowed what happen, happen.
The mother finally came into the master bedroom, walked into the bathroom and quietly said to him with the water raining in the background.
“You have to go check on the guard.”
Her voice was cold.
He could feel the separation in it.
The waters poured from the shower head on him, and he sobbed for a short while longer before he stepped out of the shower, wore a different set of clothes and walked out to the guard house, where he met the still gagged and tied up guard.
He freed him from his gag and his bonds.
The guard began furiously apologising for all that took place. Their father sensed that the guard had no idea what had taken place inside the house, so he quickly assured the guard that he understood that he had no choice and explained that the money and jewelry the robbers stole could always be replaced so they all should be thankful that no lives were lost.
When their father walked back into the house, he met his wife cleaning the room.
He stood there staring at her.
She didn’t look up at him.
Finally, he sighed loudly.
“I am sorry.”
She responded without looking up.
“Is he okay?”
“Does he know?”
“How are the girls?”
“They know not to talk about it ever again. So should you. We will survive this.”
And that was all that was ever spoken about it in the family again.
But it was not forgotten, neither, forgiven.
And as days turned to weeks and weeks to months, the secret and memories took their toll.
It tore them apart.
Everything directed at the father.
The girls blamed him for not protecting them.
The wife blamed him for sleeping with his daughters.
What did you do for someone to want you dead?
Why did you open the door?
Why didn’t you fight?
Why did you have an erection?
Why did you ejaculate?
Why haven’t you killed yourself?
He aged and aged overnight.
And barely a year after that dastardly night, totally broken and psychologically ailing, he finally moved out of the house.
He lodged into a hotel.
Three months later, no one came looking for him.
Even at work, his wife or daughters never showed up to ask where he had been.
They had washed him off their memories.
Totally beside himself, he reconnected with a lady whom he had been having an affair with in the past.
An affair he had ended three months before the assassins struck.
It was a warm welcome back.
She had wondered why he now lived in a hotel.
He told her that his marriage had crumbled but didn’t tell her why.
The secret was to remain a secret.
They hit it off from where they had ended it.
And as his wife and daughters forgot him in order for them to be able to live with themselves.
He also slowly forgot about them in order for him to forgive himself.
And years passed.
And one by one the girls finished school, began working, dated, married and had kids.
He never was contacted.
He never knew.
His wife had remained in the house he had left. She had risen in the bank she had been working. She had met someone new, a widower with four grown and married children. She didn’t marry him since she was still legally married, but she had allowed herself to fall in love again.
He had remained with the woman he had reconnected with. He moved in with her. They had a son.
And he was born with sickle cell anemia.
Years passed and desperate for a cure he and her had taken him to the Miracle city of Mountain of Fire and Miracles at Ibadan Expressway.
It was one of the prayer and healing retreats.
They prayed and fasted.
And during evening service when the pastor was praying and the anointing was flowing, the woman with whom the father had the boy with the sickle cell anemia was smitten by the Lord…
And she ran to the stage, fell on her knees and screamed that she was burning up.
No one could see the fire.
But the pastor could see what they couldn’t.
So he walked around her speaking loudly…
“The Lord says you must confess or you would burn to death.”
And she wailed loudly in an unearthly voice before she spoke…
“It was me. I was the one who sent hired assassins to kill the father of my son. He ended the relationship with me and I was angry with him. I wanted him to pay. I told them to rape his wife and his daughters before they kill him. I wanted him to watch it. I wanted it to be the last thing he saw before he died…”