We didn’t sleep throughout that night because of the agonizing screams we heard from an unknown woman at our backyard. It was a groaning from a woman in severe pain and trouble. I woke up at about 1:13am when I first heard her scream and I stood up immediately, put on my rechargeable lamp, wore my singlet and headed towards the door and then I heard a small calm voice behind me, “where do you think you are going to?” My wife asked without opening her eyes. I didn’t know she was awake because she didn’t show any sign while I was preparing to go out. “Dear, didn’t you hear that cry outside?” This is a cry from a woman like you who is in pain. We need to help her before something bad happens to her, I said. Help who? She replied. Do you know her? Do you know what is happening to her out there? Do you know if there are people with her inflicting pain on her? You want to go and put yourself in trouble abi? You are not going anywhere, she insisted. My heart was heavy. My wife had a point, but my conscience could not hold me back. My wife was right though, but what if the strange woman truly needs help? I stood there for more than five minutes without knowing what to do. The agonizing scream from the woman increased by minutes. I wanted to dare my wife, damn the consequences and go out to render help to the dying woman, but I remembered the Nigerian police and their way of roping you in cases you know nothing about. My uncle’s friend spent four years in prison for a case he knew nothing about. He attempted separating two people who were fighting, the other man pulled out a local knife, stabbed the other man twice, as he was attempting to stab him the third time, my uncle’s friend snatched the knife from him and that was when the police came into the scene and saw him with the knife soaked with blood and then arrested him. The man who stabbed someone escaped immediately he sighted the police. All detailed explanations by my uncle’s friend proved abortive and did not vindicate him. The man who was stabbed died afterwards, while the culprit who stabbed him was never found again. That was how my uncle’s friend was thrown into jail. The ugly event came fresh to my memory within a jiffy, and my legs became glued to the ground, so I decided to obey my wife by staying back. But I was not at peace as the screams from the woman persisted. I kept praying in my heart for God to save her life. At about 4am, there was absolute silence from the direction where she was screaming. Fear gripped me because I knew something had happened to her. For the fear, I didn’t come out until 7am. This was when I had heard the voices of other neighbours in the compound. I rushed out to find out from my neighbours if they also heard the cries from the woman in the night. I met Mr Taiye, good morning sir, I greeted him. I didn’t let him return my greeting when I asked him if he heard the cries from the strange woman in the night. I was shocked when he said he heard nothing. I was really perplexed that anyone could sleep so deeply not to hear such a cry that lasted for hours. I left him and headed to Mr Leke’s apartment, did you hear the cry? I asked him with a tensed voice. Which cry? he said. Then I knew what happened through the night wasn’t ordinary. How could it be that it was only myself and my wife that heard all the cries? Something must be happening, I concluded.
I quickly rushed to my backyard to find out what happened by myself. On getting to my backyard, I found the corpse of the woman lying just by my window. I was so sad and afraid, and then came the police van from Area C division. Before I could move a step backwards they had surrounded me. What happened here? They chorused. I don’t know what happened, I heard her crying and screaming all through the night, but because of fear I couldn’t come out to help her, I said to the police men. Why didn’t you call 199? One of them asked me.

It was then I realized I had made a blunder. But calling the police never crossed my mind at all. I quickly lied that my phone was off due to power outage in our area. Why didn’t you call since the day broke? They interrogated. I just came out to check now so I will know what to report to the police. Mr Man tell us the truth about what you know about this woman’s death? They asked. Sirs, I don’t know anything about it please, I begged them and uncontrollable tears began to roll down from my cheeks. Okay, no problem sir, just follow us to our station and give a statement, you will come back soon, they said. I knew I was in trouble, history is about to repeat itself. Who does not know Nigerian police when they tell you, “just come with us to write statement”? They took her corpse and took me away to their station.

When we got to the station, I met the husband of the woman whose wife died at my backyard. The police made him narrate everything that happened in my presence. His wife was kidnapped in their house by two gun men at about 8pm the last night. He narrated everything and how it all happened. The police began to interrogate me again in his presence. You said you don’t know anything about the death of Mrs Helen, how come she died right at your backyard? If you were truly innocent, you would have called the police and that would have helped us to arrest her killers. But you intentionally refused to call the police because you are an accomplice. Why was it only you we met at the scene of the crime this morning? If you couldn’t call the police because you had a flat battery, shouldn’t you call on a neighbour to assist? If you want us to believe you, you must help us to get her killers then we will let you go. That was the last statement the investigating officer said when my wife and some of my brothers came in. Their arrival gave me some relief. They introduced themselves and requested to know why I was arrested. Before the officer replied, he ordered his men to lock me up. I was thrown into the cell immediately. That was the last time I knew freedom until I finished serving my jail term.

The case became out of control. My family hired the service of a lawyer who tried to secure my release, but all to no avail. I was sentenced to six years imprisonment with hard labour. I came back from the jail few months ago only to find out that my wife had sold my house, and my business had been closed down and so I had to manage with my brother. I kept asking after my wife but no one wanted to tell me her whereabout until I threatened to commit suicide if they don’t tell me her whereabout. I love my wife so much and coming back from jail without seeing her was like hell for me. My brother invited my uncle and some senior pastors in my church before breaking the news to me.

My wife was having affairs with the man whose wife died at my backyard while I was serving my jail term. As at today, my wife has two kids for the man whose wife died at my backyard. When I heard the ugly news, I went into coma for two days. When I came back to my senses, I found myself on the hospital bed. The pain I went through can’t be described; it hurts like a hot iron in my heart. My people and my pastors kept encouraging me to move on, and I decided to heed their counsels. Though it was difficult for me to let go but I did.

After a year I fell in love again. I fell in love with Sis Florence and we are planning to get married in few months time. Just about three months to our wedding, my former wife brought some people to my house to beg me. In fact, that was the first time I set my eyes on her since I returned from the prison. When I saw her, my love for her was revived like a man under a spell. I didn’t remember all she did to me again. She begged for my forgiveness, and I forgave her because I’m now a born again Christian. More to it, she wanted us back. How will this happen when I had already given my heart to another woman? We are getting married in few weeks!

All alone I have been battling within me. Should I cancel my wedding plans with Sis Florence and take back my wife? Or should I just ignore her and go ahead with my plans? To make the case worse, she told me I am the father of her first child, only the second child belong to the man whose wife died at my backyard. She dared me to conduct a DNA test if I doubt her claims.