Hajiya Hauwa took Justina in her car to a cozy restaurant in town where she settled for jollof rice and chicken with cole slow and two bottles of cold water. As soon as the waitress served the food, she attacked it like a hungry lion and hajiya Hauwa couldn’t help but feel pity for her. She gave her some time to catch her breath before she started talking.
Hajiya Hauwa: “So, tell me about yourself and your pregnancy. What were you doing under the tree where I found you?”
Justina continued to eat hungrily ignoring Hajiya. After taking four spoonsful, she gulped down a glass of water and looked up.
Justina: “What is there to say about myself? I told you earlier, I am an orphan”. She lied.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Well, I heard that but what about the pregnancy? You certainly didn’t wake up and find yourself with it”.
Justina: “I was raped by armed robbers in my late father’s house where I live alone. I wish that I am not pregnant. I wish I can just get rid of this pregnancy.” She lied again.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Haba mana, you don’t have to talk like that wallahi. Do you know how many people are begging God and looking for children?”
Justina: “God should carry this one and give them now? I don’t want it, how will God give you what you don’t want? How does he want me to keep an armed robber’s child? What will I tell the child about his father when he grows up?”
Hajiya Hauwa: “Hmmn, gaskiya I understand what you mean. I know it is not easy but you have to be patient and keep the child. The pregnancy is obvious already, you shouldn’t risk abortion”.
Justina: “I don’t mind, I am bent on destroying this pregnancy. In fact, that is why I left the village, I am on a quest to getting rid of this pregnancy that is slowing me down”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “I see you dislike the pregnancy so much. What if I tell you that I am interested in the pregnancy?”
Justina: “What! A rich woman like you interested in my pregnancy? How is that possible?”
Hajiya Hauwa: “I am interested. Surprised?”
Justina: “I am surprised. I mean, what do you need an orphan’s child for? Do you run an orphanage home or something? Oh, wait. You mean you want it for rituals? No, I know that I don’t want this pregnancy but I can’t sell my child for rituals. No, no way!” she stopped eating.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Subahannallahi! Who is talking about rituals? I don’t do that and Insha Allahu, I will never do that”.
Justina: “What then do you need my baby for? You want to adopt him or her?”
Hajiya Hauwa: “Well not exactly but something like that. You see, I am the first wife of three wives of my husband. All my co wives have children although all female for my husband except me. For the past ten years that I got married to my husband, I have looked for solutions to my barrenness everywhere including overseas. My husband has spent fortunes on me all to no avail. We have paid different Mallams and Imams to pray and do sadaka on our behalf but nothing has happened.
Even though I am the first wife, I am a subject of mockery and insults among the other wives. I have lost my right as the uwargida because of my childlessness. I am tired and it appears that it doesn’t please Allah to give me a child in this world. I have begged my husband to allow me adopt a child but he has threatened to divorce me if I try that”.
Justina: “I am sorry, ma. But I still do not see the connection between your story and my unborn child”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “There is a lot of connection, my dear. You see, our meeting is a divine connection. Like I told you earlier, I drove past you but something whispered to me to turn back to you. I want your child as my biological child”.
Justina: “My child as your own biological child? I still do not understand what you are saying”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Okay. Let me be explicit; I will rent a place for you to stay, feed you and provide all that you need for the pregnancy. I will collect your child after you give birth and bring it up as my child in my husband’s house”.
Justina: “And then what happens to me after that?”
Hajiya Hauwa: “Oh, I will bring you to live with us as a nanny, that way you will be close to your baby and as my personal maid and my baby’s nanny, you will breastfeed the child when nobody is around so that we won’t raise any suspicion”.
Justina: “Of course they will know that the child is not yours. I mean you are not pregnant; how can you then pose a baby as yours?”
Hajiya Hauwa: “That won’t be a problem at all. How old is your pregnancy?”
Justina: “Four months”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Good, I will tell my husband that I haven’t seen my monthly flow for some months now, I will tell him that my doctor has confirmed that I am pregnant. Then I will demand to go abroad to have the baby, he will be so excited that he will grant anything that I desire. I have some relations there, I will stay there and return as soon as you give birth.
Meanwhile, my step sister who stays in this town will be checking on you to in case you need anything. Call her once you fall into labour”.
Justina: “What is in all these for me? All I get is to end up as a common maid in your house?”
Hajiya Hauwa: “I think that you are the lucky one here. First of all, I will accommodate and feed and pay your bills until you give birth. After which you will live with me in my suite as my personal maid, you will have more than enough to eat and drink and a roof over your head, you will also not have to bother about taking care of your child because my husband will do everything for him as his own child. He will go to the best of schools and have the best of everything in life, he will bear alhaji’s name and of course he or she will have a share in Alhaji’s wealth anytime Allah calls Alhaji to Jannah. That is more that you can give this child”.
Justina: “But, I need some financial benefits too. It is not easy to give up one’s biological child just like that”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “Hmmn. Okay, apart from the official salary that Alhaji will pay you as one of the maids in the house, I will also pay you N20,000 every month”.
Justina: “Okay”, she said with a brightened face”.
Hajiya Hauwa: “But there is a condition attached to all these. You must never tell anyone, not even in your dreams that the child is not mine. Not alhaji, not my co-wives, nobody living or dead must know that I am not the child’s mother. And when the child grows, you must not give him any sign that you are his mother. You are to bring him or her up to acknowledge me as his or her biological mother and this discussion shall be a secret that you will take to your grave. We shall take a blood oath to this effect. If you ever disclose the identity of the child to anyone, you shall remain barren all the days of your life. So, deal or no deal?”
Question: Why is Justina lying about the paternity of her child? Where did she come from before Hajiya found her in the streets? Is Hajiya’s intention genuine? Should Justina accept the offer and the blood oath?
Remember all Inside Arewa stories shared here are inspired by true life events.
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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