The Divorce Diary of Jamila Audu

I met my ex-husband Musa at a friend’s wedding in Sokoto. My father was a lecturer at the University of Sokoto. I had just been accepted by the University to study medicine. The year was 1992. I was 18 years old and very beautiful. Almost immediately I entered university men were chasing me like flies. At first it was scary then I started getting used to the attention.The day I met Musa, I wasn’t even in the mood for any man. I was frustrated because I was rushing to go back to school, but my friends would rather continue partying at the wedding cocktail.
When he spoke to me his English wasn’t even good but there was something about him that made me listen to him.He said he was a businessman and that he would love to take me back to school. I agreed.
And on the long drive back to school I learnt that he was originally from Sokoto but he grew up in Kano. He told me he was an importer. He also told me that he was married and had 5 children. I was surprised. He didn’t look it at all.And that’s how our romance started. He spent lavishly on me. He was in Sokoto for 3 months before he went back to Kano. He encouraged getting a transfer to BUK so we could be together. I resisted this knowing my parents would never even agree for me to marry a Sokoto man.
One day I told my mother about him and all hell broke loose. She did not think it was proper for me to be dating a Sokoto man talk less of thinking of marrying him. She scolded me and asked me to face my studies:
‘KO hautete be hausajo? Be wala hakkilo sam. Be anda kandi men. Be hulata Allah! Ta mi meta nanugo. A tita defte ma”
“What are you doing with a Hausa man? Don’t you know they are uncouth and uncultured? They have no fear of God. I don’t want to hear this again. Go back to school and face your books”
Which I did,For a while.

But Musa came back from Kano and I couldn’t resist him. I fought constantly with my parents about him. They forbade my marriage to him. My father found out from his bincike that Musa had only finished secondary school and was married to 3 other women. I thought my father was concocting lies to discourage me. I ran away from home, I abandoned my education then eventually I went to Yola where my aunt’s husband became my waliyy and we got married.

I was taken to Kano after my wedding where I stayed in a beautiful house in an upscale neighborhood. Weeks later the real owners of the house returned, Alhaji Umaru and his 2 wives. I was shocked to my core. So it was a borrowed house that we had been living in. as if that wasn’t enough, Musa asked me to pack up a join his other wives at Rijiyar Lemo. I couldn’t believe it! So my father was right all along.
Hmm that’s how I moved into this dilapidated house at Rijiyar Lemo, a ghetto. My 3 co wives couldn’t stop mocking me. Calling me ‘yar boko. And my life completely changed. We all had one room to ourselves. In each room there was a fridge, mattress and a fan. That was it. I quickly learnt that Musa the husband was very different from the man I had met. He had a set of Rules and failure to comply got us ruthless beatings. Sometimes he used his belt; sometimes he used his bare hand. Some of the rules were:

No one from your family could visit you
No Radio or TV
No going to the Hospital
Our daughters could not go to school
Food must be cooked once a day
You could only visit your family if someone died
No going to school even islamiyya was prohibited
That is how I was cut off from my family. That is how I stayed with Musa and bore him 4 daughters. That is how my first daughter was married off to some bastard without her ever becoming educated. This thing hurts me till today. We were so isolated from everybody that it’s after my divorce that I knew there had been elections and the military had left power.
I accepted my fate and tended to my duties, I took it as a punishment from Allah for disobeying my parents. I prayed for forgiveness. Over the years my co wives and I stopped bickering and we became like sisters. We all had stories of how Musa tricked us into this existence. Our elder wife, Talatu was motherly. She delivered our babies and tended to us in sickness. He treated her like dirt. She had inherited a lot of money from her father and he had squandered it all.
The second wife, Ruqaiya became like a sister to me. We were very close. She was the only one among us who had the guts to talk back at him sometimes. She could even sneak out from time to time. I admired her courage.
One day she got very sick and we all feared for the worst. We begged and pleaded with him to let us take her to the chemist but he refused. For days we all watched helplessly as she declined in health. This man did not care. Ruqaiya died after 2 months. This man did not care,I was so angry. I was so angry when her people came to pack her things and he announced that he was bringing in a new wife.
I looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself what have I done to myself?
I was going to be a doctor. I was a beautiful woman. How did I become a local semi-literate prisoner? Is this how life would continue for me and my daughters? Is this how their lives would eventually play out?
I decide I was not going to end up like ruqaiya.
For months after her death I refused to lie in his bed. He beat me mercilessly and raped me. Things got so bad that he started inserting objects into me as punishment he said.
And then I started fighting back. Whenever he started beating me I would also fight back and hit him one or two times. It emboldened me.I decided to kill him and set everybody free.
In the dead of Night I took a Knife and I went to stab him. His new wife was in bed with him when I did it. She got up and ran away. I stabbed him twice and I took my children and fled.
I had no money. I did not know where to go. I was just going.
I asked an okada man to help me,He took me to a motor park. All I knew was that I would go to yola. I did not know where my parents were. I begged at the motor park for the day and I was able to get my transport fare.
When I arrived at my aunt’s house in Yola nobody recognized me.

They all stared at me like I was a ghost,I was thin and malnourished. The opposite of what I looked like when I left. I learnt that my father was now a minister in Abuja. And that now people had GSM phones.
I couldn’t speak to my father on the phone. I just held the phone and cried and cried.
The next day my mother arrived from Abuja. After the tears and the apologies, we left for Abuja .My children were so excited to fly in an aeroplane.
When I saw my father I broke down again. I couldn’t even say a word. But he hugged me and told me everything will be fine.
It has been 6 years since that day. My husband did not die. He recovered and came to Abuja to demand for his children. He came with policemen and Thank God my father was able to sort out the situation. My Family initially refused to allow him access to the children. But now he is free to visit them whenever he wants. My daughters are in school now. I have also gone back to school. I am now in my final year reading Business at a private University.
Alhamdulillah. I really don’t know what became of my co wives, but I pray for them every day.
I have learnt that without family we are nothing. Without education people are mere savages. Don’t ever compromise your relationship with your family, always seek for a solution with them
Thank You for reading my story.
I hope it has touched you to value your Family more.

We shall all March gloriously to the month of March.
How was your day?Sweet Dreams!!!!

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3 Responses to The Divorce Diary of Jamila Audu

  1. Gloria Ogunbadejo March 8, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Sister your story has moved me deeply. Your story will certainly give even if it is just one other woman in similar bondage the strength to make a break for a better life for herself and possibly her children. You are an incredibly courageous woman and should feel so proud of what you have done to give not only yourself a chance to live but to show your daughters that how you were living did not have to be their fate too.

    Obviously, I don’t condone the stabbing of your husband. This could have resulted in the taking of another life.

  2. Oluwatobiloba March 23, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Beautifully courageous… I still wonder how cruel that man is, keeping his wives as slaves, marrying deceitfully and enjoying the act of being a Warlord. Imagine a man being a warlord in his
    Home. There are many of such men keeping their women in bondage. Some women are held down by the same man that once professed Love to them. I pray that these women find freedom and when they see it, they should recognize it and walk into it. The part of stabbing him, I really support the other comment on this. Enjoy your new life sister.

  3. Ayo Olukanni June 24, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    My dear sister, your decision to fight oppression was indeed very Courageous and you also had courage of your conviction. The struggle for women’s emancipation must be intensified and kudos to Above Whispers in this direction. Progressive and quality Education, Education and Education particularly for the girl child is the answer.


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