BY MARY OMOKHAGBOR
With all the stories of kidnap, ritual killings and rape all around us, what is the wisdom in sending a 15-year old girl to Lagos all by herself?
This question tugged at my heart just recently following an encounter with Favour Aliu, who was just put in a Lagos-bound vehicle by relatives in Auchi, Edo state.
This was on January 5, via Cliffosa Motors, and Favour had neither a phone nor a guardian for the long and obviously risky journey.
All one could learn was that one Mr Paul Afes, Favour’s guardian who brought her to the motor park, just liaised with the driver to, upon getting to Lagos, drop the girl off at Berger.
Further enquiry by this writer revealed that Favour is Mr Afe’s maid, but was being handed over to his daughter Mary Afes in Magodo area of Lagos.
But how on earth would the obviously naive girl navigate her way to Magodo, where she is to reside and with the lady while plans are perfected for her to continue with her education.
You needed to see Favour on the day in question – she was a mixture of naivety and anxiety, because it was the first time she was travelling out of her immediate neigbourhood – Okpella in Estako East Local Government Area of Edo state, without a known guide.
On the relationship existing between her and the supposed guide, Favour said her mother and Mr Afe’s wife were friends, and that her father was old and not strong enough again to work and take care of the family.
For Favour and her parents, it’s like a lifeline which despite fraught with danger could not be resisted.
She gave in to being literally, packaged for Lagos, but without all the due precautions.
You could then understand the mild dramas that played out in the course of the journey. At Ore where the bus had a stopover for example, Favour was stuck on her position, while other passengers promptly disembarked, refreshing, stretching and emptying their bowels, having sat for such a long time.
Yet, it was obvious she was not very comfortable. She opted to try managing her discomfort until her unease attracted an elderly man, who remonstrated her to get up and go to ease herself.
He was equally furious with the guardians that they could just put such a vulnerable girl on a long journey unaccompanied.
At Berger bus stop, the driver had put through a call to someone who was supposed to await Favour’s arrival, but lo and behold, the fellow at the other end, was not anywhere near Berger.
This meant that either the vehicle waits, or the driver drops off Favour and continues with the other passengers, some of whom may obviously object to a long wait.
In fact, the driver was livid with anger and resolved to taking Favour down to Mile 2!
-As to what next, you may want to keep a date with this column.