While growing up, my dad, Joe Ikwueme would instruct us to always tell someone where we are going before leaving the house, no matter where. He didn’t want to stop us from going out because he knew teenagers will always find their ways but tell someone where you are going. Also, my parents were never in the house 24/7 because of their businesses.

The statement sounded not so cool to us then eeh. How can I be going to do one bad thing laidat and you want me to tell you? My elder brother hated the instruction more because he would always want to hang out with his street crew Joe warned him against.

Joe hated when he comes home to ask where one of us is and the others will say “we don’t know”. He hated it so much. He gave us lecture upon lecture on why it is important to mention where we are going to before leaving the house. He would say:

“You could go missing, knowing where you went to would give me lead on where to start looking for you”. And our thought would be like “we no go loss”

“Your younger ones may need your help and they would know where to find you” And our thought would be like “they no go need our epp”.

“Even if you don’t want to tell me the truth about where you are going to because you feel I may stop you, tell your other siblings the truth”

We kept disobeying, even when it was not a place we were warned against, we still didn’t tell each other where we were going. We just didn’t take the instruction seriously or really understood why Joe was being so insistent. We were just being teenagers until one day my brother didn’t say where he was going, he joined his friends and went to an impromptu party, came back at 10:30 pm. Before he came back, so many thoughts were colliding in Joe’s mind; whether his son is missing or he was just out late (which seldom happened) Joe nearly had high blood pressure that day. Don’t think my brother came back on his own oo, ha for where na? He had to recruit a bodyguard in the person of Mr. Chimalu our neighbour because he knew Joe would peel his skin that night. The neighbour begged and left, Joe waited until 1 am to descend on him. The whole house shook that day.

Esther and her husband were happily married with 3 children. Her husband had the habit of not telling her where he went each time he left the house. He would just say “I am coming”. Esther was concerned and always asked him the specific place he was going to but her husband would say “must you know everything? Woman, stop disturbing me”. Esther’s concern grew when he started keeping late hours and even sleeping out especially on weekends and leaving her in the dark as to where he was. She would call but he wouldn’t take her calls. She would send a text but he wouldn’t reply. When he comes home the next day, she would enquire about his whereabout but gets no response.

Her husband’s attitude continued unabated and Esther’s concern for him and his whereabout whittled down. She turned her concern to her children and work.

One day, her husband failed to come home as usual and she didn’t bother. When she didn’t see him the next day, she thought he had decided to up the days he spends out. When she didn’t see him on the third day, she called his phone but it was switched throughout the day. On the evening of the third day of his disappearance, Esther called his brothers to tell them about it and that was how the search for Esther’s husband began.

His family accused Esther of negligence and carelessness as she failed to ask her husband where he was going the last day he left the house or bothered to call his family immediately he didn’t come home the first day. Esther explaining with tears that she always asked but her husband never told her and that he slept out often so she didn’t bother to call anyone until the third day. Her husband’s family refused to believe her. But the most annoying thing is that they do not know where to start looking for him. They involved police but there was no lead.

Four days after Esther informed her husband’s brother about his disappearance, her husband’s lifeless body was found in a gutter close to his house, dumped there the night before.

They would have known or at least given them a lead that his business partners swindled him and killed him if only he told his wife or even one of his brothers where he was and who he was with.

What will it take you to tell someone where you are going to or where you are? What?

No one is praying you get missing but do you have any idea what it will cost your loved ones (psychologically and emotionally) if you go missing and they don’t have a lead as to where to look for you?

If Esther’s husband wasn’t living a reckless lifestyle and had told her or his brothers where he was, they could have involved the police and found him before they killed him?

If it is another woman you are going to see, of course you can’t tell your wife, tell someone else. ANYONE. Just tell someone. In the event you disappear and the person realizes, they will come through for you and by then, it wouldn’t matter what you have been up to (even to your wife). Everyone would be concerned for your life and safety.

As a single person living alone and no one to account to, tell your friends where you are going to and if possible send them the address and the name of the person you are going to meet. Tell someone.

Parents whose children are leaving for higher institutions, give them this advice; they should, by all means, tell their friends where they are going, even if na man them wan follow or party.

Here is another thing, if you are with the people you are going to meet and you have already sent your location to your friend just in case, if you change location, take out your phone and text your current location to your friend or whoever.

Even if you are not going to any wrong place, say you are going to church or wedding, casually tell someone. You never know.

In case you go missing, give your loved ones a lead.

In case you wound up dead, give them closure.

Save yourself and save your family the stress, tell someone.

With all my love.

Ogechukwu Ikwueme