Nkiruka Umeh is a widow from Imo State, Nigeria. Prior to his death, her husband had engaged in land agency as a source of livelihood. He had pending contracts and was in particular, entitled to the sum of N500,000 as commission for sale of a plot of land valued in millions of Naira. A friend of her husband’s took her husband’s share of the money while her husband was hospitalized and refused to pay it upon learning of his death. Nkiruka’s husband had high blood pressure and after sixteen packets of Intravenous Fluid and admission in two different hospitals, he died leaving her and her kids with nothing. Several more of his friends approached her and demanded that she release some land documents, hitherto in her husband’s custody to them. They promised to bring the share of his commission for the upkeep of her and her children. She had only just lost her husband and already, the pains of poverty were biting hard; so she gave them the documents on trust. The land was sold and again, she was cheated; not one dime of the money was given to her. The friends had melted away.
Life for Nkiruka and her kids has been one travail after another; of her four children, two had to drop out of school because she had been unable to raise money for their West African Examination Council exams. She related that her in-laws did not try to marry her off to someone else, nor did they try to take over her home here in Abuja. They did however complete the house her husband had been building in the village and she had no idea whether they still intended to allow her and her kids use that house. They were not hostile; but they certainly didn’t encourage any communication and they had made it abundantly clear that they didn’t intend to help her and her kids survive. She had to take up selling kunu (a local drink) to make ends meet for her and her children.
To make matters worse, several of his friends have suddenly turned into a pack of wolves, hounding her day and night and demanding sex as though her status as a widow had, in her words, “suddenly made (her) public property.” She said she has so far continued to turn them down and resist their advances; but they remain a persistent lot, trying to take advantage of her loneliness, vulnerability and poverty to lure her into an affair.