Monday, 2 April 2012


A true story...

I hoard. I love to hoard papers, from old magazines to event booklets to speeches, to note pads, to plenty other paper things…it is not as if I am some kind of geek. But I value books and papers and the words written on them, so once in while I turn the house upside down and do the painstaking act of shredding the papers I have hoarded over time. With a heart wrenching and gut tearing feeling I shred the papers that I used to love, I do this act for the whole day tearing papers I once kissed, magazines that I won’t borrow anyone or If I did, it went away with a stern warning ‘Return it in good condition’. As I go about this task I always wondered why paper recycling is not still a big industry in Nigeria, why these papers can’t reincarnate as tissue paper or note pads…

But I didn’t wake up with the intention of shredding papers today or filling up bin bags of once cherished collected cds long scratched by overuse. It was the news of my friend’s arrest in Dubai that unsettled me. My friend studying in Dubai had been caught travelling back in with leisure drugs and is to go behind bars for 27 years. She could have gotten a harsher sentence if it was hard drugs, but excuse me 27 years is harsh already.  These were stories one read about happening to people in far places now they are so near.  My friend is a 32 year old vivacious and fun loving woman; did she ever imagine that she will go to jail? Perhaps we failed her by not telling her to calm down, that leisure drugs were no longer cool. Did we really fail her? Is this a guilt trip?

The UAE authorities investigated and sentenced her for not only bringing in the tablets but also dealing in them; I hear a pleasure pill could go for as high as 100 USD per tablet in Dubai. My friend is well off, what pushed her to become a dealer is beyond me; why and when she became one are also beyond me. I am still in shock that someone I know could fall into this intricate web of justice and prison mess.

This is not even death, she is not dead and I am scared to go to her facebook page to look at her pictures, -happy pictures, living her life as if it’s golden, but indeed her life was golden.  I remember her picture with Tubaba at Scot Tome’s party on a boat in Dubai, more touching is her picture with her Mom and sister obviously taking them on a tour of Dubai…there are several more pictures of her in a mall shopping and many more in her room in different poses. All these will be reduced to a colourless life in prison with the walls perpetually closing in on her.

For once I am scared of our destinies and the choices we make, for once I am thankful for friends who say ‘Bros calm down, there’s more to life than living life as if it is golden’. Now on the streets of Kaduna where my friend comes from, she is being judged by our other friends the same people with whom they had shared a joint…I am so distraught and confused about the state she’s in, I can only pray…that she comes out sooner and sane, for 27 years is a long time to be away...  

Next time when I read stories of people in similar situation as my friend’s I will remember not to think they are mere statistics of people going to jail, but people with friends and family with life and dreams…not just people whose fate has caught up with them…

As I turn to go back to shredding the papers I remember that my friend’s father has been told that there’s nothing that can be done, he is back home to Nigeria with a broken heart understanding that as a Muslim this is indeed the will of Allah. Now I will pick up a sheaf of papers and continue shredding them, papers I once cherished…and sparing a thought for my friend.


  1. Awww... All will be well my darling, for once there is life, there is hope.

  2. Mmay Allah help us