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Hadiyat’s parents and their four children are having dinner
inside their shack and at the same time counting the money they
have made and planning when to return to their homeland in
Niger. They discuss their daughter’s betrothal to one of their
fellow Arab named Assam and that the sooner she returns home
for the marriage the better to save her from the constant
harassment of Sule and the other dangerous touts and
hoodlums prowling and roaming about the stadium and
environs. Because, she stands the risk of being assaulted.
Hadiyat agrees with her parents.
“Father, we made quite a sum today,” Hadiyat says with a broad
“Yes. Let us count,” says her father.
They start to count in Arabic.
“950 Naira,” her mother says as they sum up the total amount.
“Not bad at all. Thanks are to Allah,” her father says in
“Hadiyat made 560 Naira,” says her mother.
“She has done well. But, she will soon stop and return home.
Assam will soon come for his bride,” her father says.
“Of course. The sooner we do so, the better. Because, these
infidels have been casting their lustful eyes on our beautiful
daughter,” says the mother.
“I have noticed that infidel called Sule touching her here and
there indecently. If care were not taken, he would defile her one-
day,” says the father.
“God forbid such an abomination,” her mother declares.
“Yes. I want to go home to join Assam before the Ramadan,”
“Yes, my beloved daughter. We will not delay any longer. Look
at you. You are already a full-grown young woman,” her father
“All her mates are getting married,” says her mother.
One night, there is a thunderstorm and in the torrential rain,
people are running helter-skelter to escape from being drenched
in the storm. The commuters that are waiting for their buses
rush to stay under the flyover where the traders are, some of the
touts, bus drivers and conductors are staying inside the buses
or just nearby. The storm continues throughout the night and
floods the whole place, washing away all the shacks and
makeshift camps under the flyover, including the shack of
Hadiyat’s family and her parents have gone to Iddo motor park
to make arrangements for their journey back to Niger. And in the
confusion, she shepherds her siblings into an open bus already
occupied by others, but she does not find any more space for
her to stay with her brothers. She leaves them there and looks
for space in any other bus under the flyover. As she is looking
for the safe bus to pass the night, she finds Sule alone in a bus,
smoking and drinking. She wants to turn away, but he quickly
persuades her to come inside, promising not to harm her. She
agrees and goes inside. Once inside, Sule does not waste time
to talk her into sleeping with him. And under duress and the
offer of a lump sum of money, Hadiyat succumbs and he
discovers that she has been a virgin until now.
“Please, Sule. Don’t hurt me,” Hadiyat says in her smattering
Yoruba with an Arabic accent.
“Hurt you? My sweetheart. My honey. My own Godsent
“oyinbo” baby. Relax and sleep. You are safe here inside my
danfo. I mean it when I said I want to marry you. And you and
your parents and your little brothers will never beg again. See
money here plenty.”
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Sule brings out wads of currency notes of the Naira and cleverly
begins to spin Hadiyat and she succumbs naively. She is
enticed and ensnared as he promises her so many things to
make her life comfortable
“Not that I don’t like you Sule. But, I am already betrothed to
“Assam? Who is Assam? A driver or conductor or is it one of my
boys? And I will kill him.”
“No. Assam is not here. He is in our homeland.”
“So, you don’t want to marry me? I? Sule, the son of the king of
Lagos. So, you don’t know that I am a Prince in Isale Eko. I am
just doing all these motor park work to monitor my business.
Let me tell you a secret.
I am the owner of ten buses and two taxicabs running all over
“True? Kai Hadiyat, do you doubt me? Wait until I take you to
the palace to introduce you to the king. And you will see how the
king and my people will welcome you like a princess. Because, if
you marry a Prince, you become a Princess immediately.”
“But, I cannot marry an infidel. I must marry a Moslem. That is
the Islamic law.”
“Hadiyat, I am also a Moslem. Sule is a Moslem name.”
“Lie! You are not a Moslem. You can’t even recite a verse from
“Suleiman is my real name. I am from a Moslem family. In fact,
I am going to go to Mecca next year.”
“Yes. I am going to Mecca. And if you agree to marry me, you
will follow me to Mecca.”
“I can never lie in the name of Allah.”
“Oh, Sule. I will tell my parents the good news.”
Sule begins to caress her and she makes feeble protestations.
But, she succumbs under his pressure and he makes love to
“Oh, my Hajia Hadiyat. So, you are still a virgin. Oh, so delicate
and so sweet. Hadiyat, I love you and I will take you to Mecca.”
“Sule. I am afraid of what my parents will do if they find out.”
Hadiyat is moaning and groaning in–between sobs.
“Who will tell them? You?”
“Hadiyat, my love. Don’t be afraid. I will take care of you.”