MEET DAVID NJOKU
Mama Ruka’s canteen was packed as
usual that Thursday
morning. It was a well-known fact that
if a person made the mistake of coming
after 10:30 am to buy food at her stall,
he or she would have to wait for close to
an hour to even get inside. An incredibly
long queue would have formed outside
her stall, and this was the lunch crowd.
The dinner queue was far longer, more
Funny enough, Mama Ruka did not serve
On a regular day, the queue would start
piling up before 10:00 am, and one
wondered if the people on the queue
had jobs, seeing as they were trying to
buy lunch so early in the day. No one
asked the other, so they just speculated.
The long wait time notwithstanding,
people came from as far away as Ajah to
buy food from Mama Ruka’s canteen in
Akoka. The student body as well as
faculty members of the University of
Lagos formed the core of her clientele,
which was expected: her canteen was
located on their campus
David Njoku, a 200 level Mathematics
student at UNILAG was familiar with the
peculiarities of Mama Ruka’s canteen. He
was what one would describe as a
frequenter as opposed to a regular. As a
frequenter, he visited the canteen 3 – 4
times a week, usually for lunch. The
regulars came in more than 10 times a
week, excluding weekends.
Being the savvy businesswoman she
was, Mama Ruka, a jovial, well-
proportioned woman in her early 40s,
made sure she was familiar with her
customers’ tastes, whether they were
regulars or frequenters or first-timers.
In the midst of the chaos that raged
within the stall, she still found time to
greet each customer warmly, inquire
about their day, their families, and
launch into animated and exciting
discussions on topics selected from an
assorted list: the hot weather, neighbors’
p—y cats, the price of petrol, Boko
Haram, inflation and occasionally,
adultery. In short, they talked about
everything under the sun. Or at least,
under the Nigerian sun.
Adultery was not on David’s mind that
morning. Having just returned from a
painfully boring lecture, his mind was
blank. But by the time he joined the
queue around 10:48am, he got an earful
of gist that should have been labelled
“for mature audiences only.” As could
be expected, the queue had formed in
front of Mama Ruka’s stall and it was
growing longer every minute.
There were at least twenty people ahead
of David on the queue. Of that number,
two men who were directly in front of
him provided a little entertainment while
he waited in line. From their shabby
appearance, he surmised that they were
non-teaching staff members or more
specifically, “errand boys” attached to a
particular department or faculty on
They were engrossed in an intense
conversation that was so loud that David
was sure the next 10 people in line
would have no trouble following their
gist. The decidedly savory parts of the
conversation were prefaced and
punctuated by wild gesticulations that
were just as interesting to watch as it
was to listen to the content of their
“The lecturer don off im cloth o. As im
wan knack de girl, na so those cult boys
break the door–” said the man in the
blue shirt and brown trousers.
“Ewooooo! Why dem no lock de door
now? Which kain rubbish be dat?
Person wey go dey do dat kain tin
suppose get key to lock door,” his friend
in the green and yellow ankara shirt and
trousers observed, as if there was a
training manual for committing adultery,
which the lecturer had failed to read. His
friend hissed and continued.
“Siddon dere, dey yarn say im no lock
door. Na responsible man be dis? If to
say he dey consider wetin he dey do well
well, he suppose do am for im office?”
“Wait o. Na wetin you come dey talk? Say
e for better make dem go hotel?”
At this point, the man in the blue shirt
who was telling the story to his friend
got slightly annoyed with his friend’s
hotel suggestion. But, he quickly forgave
him and completed his story.
From what this man heard, the night
before, a lecturer had been caught
literally with his pants down in his office
with a female student. After weeks of
threatening to give her a failing grade
for his class if she did not give in to his
lustful advances, she finally gave in. The
class was one she needed to pass to
graduate, and the lecherous lecturer was
the only one who taught it.
Unknown to him, her cousin was a
member of one of the deadliest secret
cults on campus. Up to that time, she
had kept this man’s threats away from
her cousin’s ears. But seeing herself in a
tight fix, and after hearing rumors that
another female student had given this
same lecturer Herpes, she decided it was
time to bring her cousin into the picture.
Knowing the reputation of that
particular cult, she made it clear that she
did not want the lecturer killed. She just
wanted him to learn a painful lesson. Her
cousin had told her that he could not
make any promises, but he was certain
the lecturer would change his ways after
they had finished with him.
On the night the lecturer had picked, the
girl’s cousin and his friends – five men
altogether – waited for the lecturer to go
to his office in the company of his
supposed victim. Then, they waited
outside his door waiting for the girl’s
signal. It was the word “oya.”
As soon as she gave the signal, they
burst into his office, cameras and
camcorders recording his irreversible
moment of shame. Of course, the
lecturer knew it was all over at that
point, and began to plead for his life. But
the cultists ignored his last-minute
repentance and beat him within an inch
of his life. According to the man
recounting the story, the cultists actually
thought they had killed him.
But the man miraculously survived.
“E no go try dat kain tin again, lai lai!”
the storyteller exclaimed.
His friend was not so optimistic.
“Some people no dey learn their lesson
quick quick like dat. He fit try am again,”
the other man observed.
David hissed inwardly. He wished his
lecture had ended earlier. That way, he
would have arrived here before the
dreaded queue formed and would not
have to listen to this silly story.
Lecturers and students .
Was there anything new under the sun?
His stomach growled in response. The
answer was a plain “No.”
Inasmuch as he would much rather have
listened to someone recount the details
of the Manchester versus Chelsea match
he had missed the week before, there
was something in their conversation
that had piqued his attention: the name
of the girl at the center of the whole
drama. Her name was Sade.
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