…Then Some Bleeding Hearts
In the last few weeks, there were three killings that really caught my attention. They were all cynically executed and identical. The first took place in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria, while the last one in Lagos. All gruesomely and callously done. More ironic, the suspects were of the same age bracket: 20, 21, and 24. First was Uduak Akpan who deviously lured Iniebong Umoren to his home in Uyo, under the guise of securing employment for her. He ended up raping and cruelly killing her. He dismembered her remains, removed all the vital organs, and buried the rest in a shallow grave. This was followed by the story of the Calabar, Cross Rivers State chap, Christian Edem Eyo who claimed his aunt, Uduak Effiong, a mother of two, was trying to seduce him. He slaughtered her, severed her head which he buried her in a pit he dug inside his room, and then buried the remaining carcass in a shallow grave in his backyard.
Then the most sickening of them all. The Chidimma Adaora Ojukwu, script from a James Bond’s classic, The Spy Who Loved Me. Chidimma 21, had confessed to stabbing her “Sugar Daddy” Micheal Usifo Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of a private television station, Super TV, to death out of anger fueled by drugs and alcohol while hanging out with him. One common denominator is that the three victims were joined in an ironical fate of love turned to hate, then anger. Uduak could not tell Cynthia his feelings, or rather the lady, a 26-year-old graduate felt Uduak was not her match. Uduak devised an evil ingenious means of getting her. It turned fatal. But what was the need to dismember her body if it’s only forced carnal knowledge? The courts will solve the riddle. The other one claiming his aunt was seducing him? When does mere seduction means killing and severing the head from the body? Why bury the head in dung in his room? Courts too, I believe will help us out here. Then the Chidimma’s story. Since her arrest, so much conflicting information has come into the open about the 21-year-old undergraduate. But all pointed to one fact: she was a “runs girl”. Runs girls, a euphemism for prostitution. They are so-called because they are the trendy young girls in high institutions. They don’t want to be classified along with the street prostitutes. They are fast, classy, quite fashionable, and demand more from patrons.
Michael Usifo Ataga, before now was minding his broadcasting business in a corner of the obscurity of his cozy Banana Island enclave. He was out of the hoopla that was the societal noise mainland Lagos. But coolly, he was perhaps, living it wild and reckless. For those who know, most of those living in that axis of Lekki Peninsula hardly ventured out. To them, the typical hustling and bursting life of the Lagos Mainland are irritating stress not meant to be endured. But Ataga was dragged out of his obscurity, into the open marketplace of Oyingbo where he only glances a view in his Super TV channel where he was the Chief Executive Officer. Ataga was 50 years. A young old man, with a restless libido, very restless without taking the various ‘Jedi’, ‘ale’, ‘afato’ and other dangerous concussions on sale among the lower class populace of the Mainland to boost his libido and enhanced his between the coverlets performances. His last known predatory game, Chidinma Adaora Ojukwu, a baby-faced 21-year-old part-time Mass Communication undergraduate of the University of Lagos ended his life in a fit of fury and indiscretion, fueled by drugs and alcohol. Chidinma looks rather too shy, innocent for the breaking story swelling around her. But here we are. Michael’s libido would not allow him to rest. And so also is Adaora’s avariciousness for good and easy life without a sweat. The two met. A philander and a glutton. The game was balance initially until the Angel of death intervene.
Chidimma could have well been on the front page of an edition of Forbes magazine, a cable network, CNN, BBC, or we are scrambling to stream her video on a YouTube channel to watch her stunning beauty and performance in a World Beauty Pageant. But nay, here she was being dragged down from a Police van from a detention cell, like a common criminal. She was paraded by the Lagos State Police Command before pressmen over a heinous crime. She had been apprehended for stabbing a loving patron to death when she should be on the klieg lights celebrating a beauty pageant success or academic attainment. This is the reward of her errant lifestyle, also a reward of improper home training. The generation that detests work ethics, that detest honest toiling but looking for an easy route to success is endangered. Living an Instagram life, a social media life, will only fetch you “likes” and some fanciful comments. Adaora attempted emptying Ataga’s bank account is a pointer to this. She wants to kill them off on Campus. Buy the latest Lexus jeep, iPhone, aside from the one she stupidly stole, forgotten about tracking device embedded in an iPhone device. She wants to rock designers wear. She wants to live big. Now she’s down to earth. Bereft of all the illusion of the past weeks. The home is now the dingy cell at Area F, Ikeja, and maybe the Ikoyi Correctional home, or is it Kirikiri Maximum or the Medium Correctional home, whichever they decided to lodge her in should become her 5-Star hotel for now. Price of greed!
The omen was precariously bad enough. And it pervades the entire landscape. Schools and colleges fast becoming breeding grounds for prostitutes and drugs addicts. So are religious worship houses. The pull, the lure, may not be crystal clear to many, save the discerning few. This is not the time to castigate anyone, nor apportioned blames. The situation is past the perennial blame-shifting game of an average Nigerian. Mr. Ojukwu might not be the new version of Odummegwu Ojukwu, the fiery Biafra war Lord. But certainly, the resistance spirit imbued in that Ojukwu was concupiscence in his demeanor and disposition. But only if he had been a little circumspect. Like his hero namesake, he fell for academic concentrations. He trusted his daughter, the delectable Chidinma to the death. Chi, as he fondly called her had sold a decoy to the old man on Friday 13th June. She told him she had an offer of a full weekend ushering job somewhere on the Island and so would be off the house throughout the weekend. Gladly, the old man gives his permission. But unknown to him, the ushering job was a rendezvous with Michael Ataga.
Mike, 50, bubbling billionaire, could afford to throw so much good money around. Though he resided in the highbrow Banana Island, Lagos, where only the super-rich could flex their muscles, he chose to frolic at another upscale area in Lekki Peninsula. A serviced apartment was procured. Once they settle down on that fateful weekend, drugs, smokes, drinks, and yummy-yummy meals were ordered. Life was obviously good. Money was lavishly spent on inanities. Then the Arch-Angel of death entered the fray. Every agreement became a disagreement. Chidinma became covetous. She started displaying uncommon greed, avarice, covetousness, and unbridled desperation. Age 21 is when you learn few things for your mother but Adaora was there showing a ravenous “Sugar-Daddy” how to run the show. She is young with a luxuriantly bright future before her. Several mind-bugging questions emerge from here. Where do they meet? How do they start the three monthly old relationships? Was money the foundation of it all? Now, all these shall remain a matter of public discourse. Ataga is gone forever. I doubt if he was killed by the knife stabs. The drugs, the smokes, the drinks might have contributed in no small quantum to his fast journey to the World beyond.
Do I weep for Brenda, his delectable wife? Certainly not! How can I? I do not know what pushed Ataga to girls just out of infancy years, girl’s just attaining puberty. The wife has a high-flying NNPC job in Abuja. A successful career woman by any indices. Just like the husband. But how does the home front played out in this episode? While not blaming the woman, one only should be tempted to wish he could hear from the slain man. But all these are mere fantasies now. The cage has been riddled open, and the golden bird has escaped, flew away, not to be seen again. Chidinma may not have a solid water-tight defense. This depends on the prosecution and whatever other shreds of evidence that they could lay their hands on. But is Adaora alone in this game? Do we start profiling her based on her present predicament? I beg to differ here. Except one is living in a dreamland, many young ladies from age 18 are perfect Adaoras. If they are not into the notorious Yahoo Yahoo cybercrime, they are into this runs a game. Please note her statement to the Police. “I booked the service apartment with the foreign number I generated online”. Wallahi…Adaora is not just a runs girl. She’s a Cyber fraudster and an expert one at that. This angle I believe will help the investigators to unravel the real truth behind this killing and may perhaps, open a vista to unraveling several other cases. Adaora is probably not alone. Her co-conspirators should be traced and apprehended.
The Police will do their job, I believe. And so is the prosecution team of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). But would the theory of love, hate, and anger be properly dissected? While all the legal niceties would be explored, the legal framework examined, and in the face of available pieces of evidence and testimonies, the holes I see now are not that of the stabbing either in Michael’s neck or stomach, but in the legal presentation of the plea for and against the merit or otherwise of the suspected accused. Adaora claims they have been dating for some three months back. They were in love with lots of sweet nothings exchanged between the lovebirds. When did love turn to hatred and then anger? This is more than a drug-influenced act, rather a growing resentment within. Adaora should speak out. She needs to. Ataga is now but imagery being. So nothing can be gotten from him, but all from Adaora, the sweet runs girl turned around by what only she and her collaborators can tell.
The disheartening truth today is that no institution is immune from Adaora’s escapades. From Lagos through Ibadan, Ife to the land of Sharia hypocrites, either in Zaria or Kano. The land of the rising sun and the outland areas are not free of drugs, runs, and Yahoo Yahoo rituals. The boys engage in Yahoo Yahoo cybercrime and rituals. The girls do runs. Runs is a euphemism for prostitution, simple. They pray they meet an Ataga, they pray an Otedola, even a Dangote falls into their laps. None pray to meet a Baba Adeboye or President Buhari, but the likes of Ataga that can destroy Automated Teller Machine at exclusive restaurants and nightclubs. They dream all manner of dreams. The issue of drugs intake and abuse among the youths will also now suffice. I have seen secondary school girls in the streets of Lagos smoking marijuana. They now drink Whiskey as if they drink water. They called it ‘ororo’ (Vegetable oil). This trend is too perilous.
Scanty information is available on the parentage of Chidinma. Save for the father who has also was arrested and now released on bail, for obstructing and resisting her arrest, almost violently, little is known of the parentage. The mother is said to live apart from the father. She lives with her father and a part-time Mass Communication student at UNILAG. From available information so far, she is a proper “runs girl”, a euphemism for prostitution. This she does under the roof of her unsuspecting father. I have always affirmed the breakdown in family values and morality in this column. She’s a part-time student. She shouldn’t have excess excuses of going to campus without returning daily. Some of us did the part-time Law program at that University. Lectures are usually from 5:00pm – 8:30pm. We were many. We weren’t living in Alagomeji. We live in Ikeja, Ogba et al. Still we were able to do it daily for years. But Adaora lives in Alagomeji, a stone throw to the Campus, and is said to be a truant in the class. A lecturer even disclosed she did not write the last semester’s examination. This is an indictment on the parents, particularly the mother, wherever she may be right now. Too good the Ostrich of a father is cooling off his head in a cell at the notorious State CID, Panti, Yaba. The mother should also be brought into the open glare to share in the shame of collective destruction of a young, vibrant, pretty, and promising Chidinma Adaora. A beautiful young girl they fail to train properly. What a shame
I watched the CCTV footage of the duo at the exclusive restaurant. The expensive sumptuous meals and all that. They could conveniently pass for a doting father and daughter having a good time on Father’s Day. Even the complexion, the looks, and the smiles gave no clue. But when the issue is that of undies, I mean, pants, boxers, and all that, the beast in man rise the most. Ordinarily, Ataga looked calmed and responsible. He never looked like a junkie hooked on drugs. Several theories will definitely emerge from this unfortunate incident. Brenda, Ataga’s wife, and the two kids only need to deafen their ears and blinds their eyes to all the dirty theories that will be spewed out in due course. The American Father’s Day that Michael did not celebrate with them, but with a chick babe has turned daylight into dark nights for them. They should accept their fate with philosophical and spiritual stoicism. It happened because it was bound to happen. Atanga was just simply unfortunate. He is gone. Good and bad. Otherwise, one should ask the theatre thespian, Omiyinka Olanrewaju, the one called Baba Ijesha in the Nollywood industry.
Yes Baba Ijesha did not die. But he might have thought it the better option. He too was alleged to have had an illicit emotional romance with a minor. Baba Ijesha’s life is an antithesis of Ataga. He is not rich, much unlike Ataga. He lives in the rural area of Ikorodu. He had no access to a serviced apartment. So Princesses, his alleged former benefactor’s living room became the ready spot for his amorous philandering. An appointment at a serviced apartment or a hotel would have saved the comedian all the hassles of the past eight weeks or so. But poverty is something else. It was so easy to monitor him, trapped him, and caught his pants down. And since April 22 when he was circled and arrested till June 24 when he was released on bail, he must surely have difficult tales to tell. The tape now rolls to the men going for younger ladies. We have a lot of lessons to learn from Baba Ijesha and now Michael Ataga. The runs girl is on a mission. She has her targets. And you cannot satisfy a greedy person. Mostly, greed and avarice pushed them out. Between the sweet kisses and succulent flash lies a dangerous dagger. Not far from love are anger and hatred. And death lurks around when anger mixed freely with drugs and alcohol.
The dagger is not to the neck or tummy, but straight to the heart.
Afolayan Adebiyi writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
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