I was off work on Thursday ‘cos I had a bad throat infection. I was told to take my antibiotics and try and rest; emphasis on try ‘cos my doctor knows me already. I used the opportunity to see my new landlord whom I share a fence with but haven’t seen since I moved in. I just got this new place and was getting to that point where I was beginning to wonder if I made the right decision. I found out I wasn’t allowed to use my gen, I can only use an inverter or diesel generator after depositing a healthy amount of cash as collateral in case I burn down the landlord’s house; and the plumbing was faulty. PHCN came and cut the light ‘cos some people were owing and clueless people like us who haven’t started to owe are forced to bear the brunt as well. After some resistance by his boys at the gate: ‘Otunba no dey, Otunba dey sleep (At 12 in the afternoon? Yeah right), Otunba just travel this morning’, I was finally allowed to see the almighty Otunba. Surprisingly, he was receptive and promised to do something about my frustrations.

On my way out I noticed a young lady standing outside his gate, in the hot sun. 
I’d seen her the few times I came to inspect my apartment.  We never really spoke, but I remember her ‘cos she’s pretty and chubby and looked out of place in a razz property manager’s office. ‘Have you seen the landlord?’ she asked kindly. I said that I had.
‘...And you, what are you doing in the sun? You live here?’ I asked.
‘No, I work with Otunba’
‘You do?’ I questioned, honestly surprised. ‘What’s your job description?’ She said she was his PR officer.
‘Ok, so you work from where?
She pointed at his duplex.
Hmm. What’s the pay like? I pressed on, wondering what the motivation was for her. She looked around and squirmed, saying she wasn’t comfortable with my onslaught and asked if I was Yoruba. I laughed and said I wasn’t; she relaxed visibly and gave me a range.
‘Ok...so why are you standing in the sun. If he’s your boss my thinking is you should be in there?’ I questioned relentlessly.
‘He doesn’t want to see me?’
‘Huh? Why? What did you do?’
‘Cos...’ She looked away and I could see the tears rolling down her cheeks.
‘Whoa, whoa, easy... Let’s go to my apartment’ I said feeling very concerned and curious at the same time.

She said ok and followed me. I gave her some tissue and sat silently while she tried to compose herself.
It had started like harmless banter-a touch on the shoulder, a pat on the back, a hug after work. For a fresh graduate who knew very little about sex and the workplace, she found his gestures fatherly. And then he started making her work late; so late she would have to sleep over, thankfully, in a different room.

Then things took a different turn. While working Otunba would stop by and grab a handful of her boobs and laugh lasciviously, making nasty comments like ‘one of these days, I go do you’. She didn’t know who to talk to and hoped that her verbal expression of disgust and disapproval would be enough to check his roving hands. It wasn’t.

One fateful night, while working late as usual, she was called to Otunba’s chambers by his PA, who he was dating. She went. As soon as she got to his room, He grabbed her and flung her on the bed, and immediately tried to take her clothes off. She screamed, managed to get off his grip and ran out the door. Otunba yelled at his PA who had been sitting by the door, watching the spectacle all the while, to make sure she doesn’t get away. So, the PA grabbed her blouse and dragged her back to Otunba.

She began to cry again. I just sat there, stupefied; too dazed to offer any comfort.

She blew her nose and continued.

Again, Otunba flung her on the bed and in her words ‘squeezed her boobs so hard she taught they were going to burst’. She begged and screamed and clawed and bit him. Suddenly, he let her go. She ran out the building crying, her clothes in shreds, looking dishevelled. She got home safely that night; thankfully, everyone was asleep.

Though she’d been working for over two months, she had never been paid. She hadn’t been overtly bothered since Otunba always gave her spare change. But since the incident, she’d been coming to the office every day, at least to try and get her salary but she’s been denied access to Otunba. He wouldn’t pick her calls or reply her texts.

I gave her candid advice on what to do but for discourse sake I ask you this: What should she have done?

©Naomi Lucas