Going through my mom's documents now, the memories of the bitter experience that we had as a result of her attempt to expose the theft she perceived at her place of work rushed back to me. I was then in Primary 4.

Mom was one of the Community Health Extension Workers that were posted Iwara Community of the old Oyo State of Nigeria around 1980. She has been working at this duty post over the years under the leadership of different nursing sisters until one nursing sister of a neighbouring African country origin, who was married to a Nigerian, was transferred to head mommy’s duty post.

Before the advent of this new Nursing Sister, the state government under its free health scheme had over the years stocked the Community Health Centre with drugs and other necessary goods for the benefit of the people of the community, some of which were still in the store of the health center as at the time that the new Nursing Sister reported for duty.

My mom was on night shift the week that this issue started. Mom had returned from work that early morning when she explained to her mom, my grandma, that while on duty overnight, she had accidentally discovered that the new Nursing Sister was taking things from store and that her check eventually revealed that the place had been noticeably looted.

According to her, the Nursing Sister, in an attempt to silent her tried to offer her a brand new blanket from what she took out of the store that evening, with the assurance that there would not be any problem after.

Mom then said that she, been more resident at that station than any of the Nursing sisters being sent there might end up being the one to answer for what she knew virtually nothing about. Because she had never been transferred from the community since she was posted there, whereas; the Nursing Sisters were being changed. She quipped further that what will happen in case the looter worked out her own transfer before the discovery of the crime, leaving her and others to answer the questions later?

At the end, she reported the case to Police that same day. Investigation started, looted goods were found with the accused and she was detained. Just the second day, a twist happened!

The accused in her statement said that my mom had all along been part and beneficiary of the loots; that my mom decided to report because she was not satisfied with the share she got from the last loot, which was a blanket and that a search of our house would reveal this. Police just appeared in our house the second day and everywhere was searched but nothing incriminating was found.

The blanket she had in mind to support her claim had already been mentioned to the Police by mom in her first statement when she went to report. The accused never knew that mom never brought the blanket home. She left it at the Health Centre, where it was recovered by the Police.

An attempt to expose a perceived crime went awry! Mom and the Nursing Sister were both suspended from work and their salaries stopped. They were both charged to the State High Court to defend themselves, based on the implications of their statements against each other and the police investigation.

There was need for mom to engage the service of a lawyer for her defense, but she had not the financial capacity to do that. This was where her Lagos resident elder step-brother, Rt Hon Dimeji Longe, who coincidentally happened to be a lawyer, came in as a help. My mom took me along when visiting him in Lagos to tell him about the predicament. After listening to my mom, he said that he would be sending my mom with a letter to be delivered to Chief S. Olu Aoko, a shining lawyer in our hometown, Ilesha, who happened to be his friend and secondary school mate at Ilesha Grammar School.

We left Lagos with the letter for Chief S. O. Aoko the second day. Chief Aoko took up the case pro bono from there.

The court case lasted three years; the years I will recall as years of agony. The hardship faced is best imagined than experienced.

To survive those years, mom resulted to mobile sewing service in places like Ijana, Ibala Eesun and other villages along that route. Most times, we walked a distance of about 25 miles in the morning and trekked same back in the evening on daily basis with sewing machine and cloths in bowl. There were few times, we got help of free ride on our return journey from people like Baba Alaran, a furniture maker that had farm in a village along the route.

Though I was made the punctuality prefect of my school then when I got to primary 6, but the toll of situation made my regularity in the school impossible, as I most times followed my mom to work or even went alone, at times on what could be best described as lonely road on some days. For this reason, I was deprived of the gift that was due me as a prefect at our graduation ceremony.

At the end of it all, the case was judged. My mom was discharged and acquitted of the charges while the Nursing Sister was jailed.

Mom was reinstated to work and transferred to another location. Remembering it all now, I find it painful that nothing was done to make up for all she went through. No commendation or damages paid to her in view of what she went through. I doubt it if she did not miss any promotion that she was never reconsidered for during that interregnum.

I remember that some people advised her at the end of the case to never again bother herself with exposure of any perceived infraction on public property or fund, that the best she can do was to never be a party to such crime.