The Danger of Being Too Friendly

October 31, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Articles of the Day


colorwithfun dot com

By Adaora Ude

I was having a discussion with an older friend about how people ought to look beyond their own selves and go out of their way to be courteous and friendly to people they meet regardless of their social standing.  That argument felt right as I defended it because I was brought up to be friendly, courteous and engaging; most of us were, right?

However, my friend did not agree with me and by the time she was done stating her reasons by way of a story, I had totally changed my pers

This lady has four daughters and averred she wasn’t going to let them be chummy with every Tom, Dick and Edet. She had a very valid point and a very touching story.

Her older sister went missing for seven years! Seven years of her adult life stolen from her because of her niceness and engaging demeanor! This young lady had just obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from a reputable Nigerian university and was posted to Minna, Niger State for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps.  Understandably, she was excited to leave Markurdi, where her parents lived and head off to Minna, looking forward to exploring all there was to explore. She had always been an industrious and well grounded young lady and so she rightly assumed that there were possibilities of doing some good business there.

Accordingly, she headed to Akure with a friend to buy some adire and tie-dye fabric for resale at the NYSC Orientation Camp. They had looked at and priced a few fabrics when she heard someone call her by name. Of course she was shocked. Who would know her in Akure of all places? She lived in Markurdi; was from the eastern part of Nigeria and schooled at the University of Ibadan. No one should know her in Akure, she thought. She turned around and there was this young man hawking second hand shirts on hangers, frisking them with vigorous shakes of his wrist while he went along so people interested could get a glimpse at all the shirts he had on his hanger. Anyways, he came closer with a huge grin on his face, teeth seemingly gleaming only due to the sharp contrast with his sun-darkened face.

“Aaaah, are you not *Njideka from Markurdi?”  She responded with a hesitant “Errr, yes?”  He immediately became very excited and animated, calling the names of all her sisters, asking after her mother and such like. He explained he used to be a regular customer at her mother’s restaurant in Markurdi and knew her and her sisters quite well. Of course she relaxed. He was even more excited when she explained she had just graduated from the University and had just got called up for youth service. He asked what she was doing in Akure and she explained her mission and even asked if he had an idea how much the fabric went for. When she and her friend realized they had been offered a fair price, her friend decided to go back 4 or 5 shops back to pay for the fabrics they had just seen, while the young man offered Njideka light refreshment; a bottle of Coke.

When Njideka’s friend came back with the purchases, her friend was nowhere to be found! She had vanished into thin air along with the shirt seller from Markurdi! The young girl looked all over and then raised alarm. Alas, the duo had indeed disappeared.

At this point in the story, my friend had my full attention, as I’m sure I now have yours. Njideka’s parents were notified, the police was notified and an extensive search was launched. But it all yielded nothing; she just could not be found. The pain the family went through, not knowing if she was dead or alive, if she had been a victim of ritual killing, or if she was starving to death, is indescribable. There just was no clue and so, there was no closure for the family.

Seven years later, Njideka was spotted by a cousin who immediately ran to get my friend and took her back to the spot. She had a slightly protruding tummy, looked haggard, tattered and malnourished. The surprising thing however was that she recognized her sister when she saw her, even calling her by name and asking after everyone back home. The bomber was that she introduced that same shirt seller as her HUSBAND! WHAT??? HUSBAND MY FOOT!!! Abductor, kidnapper, demon or thief, yes; not husband!! It was clear that the poor girl was under a spell. All attempts to get her away from this man proved abortive. She refused to leave him and so her family insisted he come and pay proper dowry to her family in the proper traditional way, at least to get that out of the way since their daughter refused to budge. With that settled however, my friend’s mother packed her bags and went with them to their shack somewhere outside Badagry. It was a horrible neighborhood, ramshackle houses and smelly latrines, but Mama wasn’t letting her daughter out of her sight again. Not after all those years.

Several times during her stay with them, Mama tried to kidnap her own child and whisk her away in a waiting cab but Njideka either resisted her or the neighbours got wind and quickly alerted the man. Whenever this happened, Mama would cry and beg not to be thrown out.

However, God has a way of delivering the innocent and when he did, it was awesome!

On a warm quiet afternoon, Njideka burst into the house where her mom tidied the sparse living area very agitated, very unsettled, very nervous. She asked her mother to drop all she was doing and follow her quickly. The shocked mother was still trying to ask questions but her daughter impatiently grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the house mumbling under her breath for her mum to be quiet and just come with her quickly. They walked briskly out of the compound and around the bend as quickly as they could manage without attracting too much attention to themselves and lo and behold, there was a waiting “kabu kabu” parked a distance away. Njideka literally pushed her mother into that cab, got in after her mum and yelled at the cab driver to “MOVE THIS CAR NOW OGA!!!!” As soon as they were off, she broke down in harsh, racking, heart wrenching sobs, saying over and over again “Mummy Coke! Mummy I drank Coke! Mummy all I remember is Coke!!!”

This was in the seventh year after she disappeared! Today, she is a grown woman almost in her 50s. She has picked up her life but she just doesn’t seem right. That man had robbed her of a part of her essence, a part of her soul, a part of her life. All because she didn’t think there was anything wrong in talking to and accepting a drink from a lowly illiterate man who happened to know her.

If she had thought to herself, “So what if you know me from my mum’s restaurant? I don’t have to stand and chat with you, and I definitely won’t be accepting a drink from you”, would she have gotten into the mess she did? If she had just answered his greetings and friendly chats with a curt polite reply and not encouraged any further conversation, would he have the opportunity to steal her youth?

I finally understood what my friend was talking about when she said her girls would be brought up to know their place and remain there. This story was told to me 13 years ago and every time I recount it, massive goose bumps cover my skin again, and I feel the same chills I did on the day it was told to me.

Source: connectnigeria