We are getting there…
I really meant to keep going but a second look at the ‘crying girl’ made me stop. She was bleeding on the lower lip, too. So, I asked what the matter was…
She hawks ‘pure water’ at the motor park and when he (one of the touts that collect ‘daily pay’ for every commercial activity at the park) came for her own money (fifty naira o!), she pleaded with him to come back later…as she had not made sales yet.
You know those guys have some sort of short fuse…so he lost it at her audacity to ‘command’ him to come back, instead of scurrying around to get the money-anyhow!
He flung away her wares.
On looking at her sweat and probably her next meal ticket on the ground, she burst into tears and helplessly held him by the shirt.
Ha! Another ‘audacity’ of hers? He slapped her and so hard that her lower lip started bleeding. It was a miffed me that was staring at the girl’s bleeding lip…while thinking of how best to teach a ‘useless human being’ a lesson.
So, you can then imagine my joy when I saw an army guy coming our way. I raised my voice, as I said in pidgin English…WHY YOU GO GIVE A GIRL THIS KIND BEATING, WEY COMOT BLOOD FROM HER BODY? NA SO UNA DEY TREAT WOMEN FOR THIS COUNTRY? IS IT A CRIME TO BE POOR AND POWERLESS?
The Army officer stopped abruptly, came closer, and probably on hearing those words of mine. He asked what the problem was, the girl was still crying (maybe too hurt to speak)…so I told her story to the Army guy…who took just a look at her bleeding lip and went silent as he momentarily stared at the ground.
A part of me was so sure that he was considering what part of a “useless person’s body to use his soldiers” boot on…so, I started again (as if I was about crying). “TELL ME WHY YOU HAD TO DO THIS TO A GIRL and the next thing I heard was GBOOAAH…one kick from the Army guy has sent somebody sprawling on the ground and saying OGA SOLDIER, NOR BE LIKE THAT ABEG, MAKE I TELL YOU WETIN HAPPEN.
Our soldier uttered not a word as another kick on the shoulder followed.
Then he ordered him to stand up and decide how he would replace EVERY single sachet of pure water on the ground. It was at this point that the policeman that seemed rather busy with motorists appeared on the scene. The first thing he did was to take all the money from the tout’s hands, then asked the girl to come with him as he handed N500 from the money to her and put the rest in his pocket-while threatening to arrest the tout…who had already taken to his heels-thanks to the momentary distraction of the police appearing on the scene.
By this time…our soldier (my hero!) was already on his way. Those guys and their boots ehn! He never used his hands all the while he was treating somebody’s ‘uselessness’ and not even a single word was uttered…until he was done!
I hear they, soldiers that is, have a serious aversion to women being maltreated/abused by men. What I know about them is that they do know how to make a woman feel special in their midst. I used to have an army officer friend in town. Whenever he hears from me, he doesn’t ask ‘’how are you?’’ He asks instead, ‘’are you okay?’’ And on the days that I would go to hang- out and have to wait for him at the officers’ lounge, most officers that walk in would give an instruction that one is served anything she wishes to drink/eat…these are people that I had never met before oo. And they keep their distance too-while at it.
Am I considering dumping ALL my boyfriends +somebody for a soldier?
I don’t know o! Ok, back to the gist.
I must admit that a few other guys (one was even spoiling for a fight) tried standing up to the tout, but he intimidated most of them into walking away. A lot of women that witnessed the incident were already advising her to wipe her tears, find water to wash her wares and go her way.
I mean, who wants to collect a ‘black eye’ from a probably ‘drugged out’ tout?
Even as I was running my mouth, I was doing so on a calculated expectation that the soldier I saw coming our way would do something.
In all, I am certainly impressed that guys, most of who are motor park operatives, also tried standing up to one of their own- for raising his hands on a girl.
We are surely getting there!!!
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