Two strangers: Who would you trust your teenage girl with?

A priest and a school teacher both are not known in personal capacity with the family – who to trust with a fifteen year old girl for an overnight trip?

My 15 years old niece was excited about her upcoming trip to Lagos, it will be her first time on her own with no family, she was going from the church to an event whereby selected members meet to see who could recite bible verses the most.

“Fantastic” I told her. So I asked “how many of you are going from your church”, “Just me” she replied.

She must be very good at cramming, I did my part of commending her efforts, I used to be like that so great to be part of something.

I only started getting concerned when Sola said she was the only one going from my town and this is the church with at least a hundred branches, she is going with a 35-year-old church evangelist, he is a nice man, has a family. Sola and the evangelist will be in Lagos for two nights then return home the third day.

Really?

Sighed and said polite goodbye wondering if Sola realised how ridiculous the whole trip sounded.

God, why do I have to be told about this trip, it has nothing to do with me. Sola did not need my approval for the trip, which is a good thing as I was free to share my thoughts – she is under no obligation to listen to me.

Sola lives with her grandparents, Sola’s mother is easy-going and seldom question any decision made about Sola – she trusted my parents’ judgement.

After back and forth talking about Mr Ade, the only reference to trusting this guy was that he was a church goer who earned his living teaching bibles to people. No surprise there.

The only person I was concerned about was my niece.

Sola is a perfect bait – lives with grandparents, stubborn which I admire because one needs to have own mind active in Nigeria otherwise easy to be swept away when the tide is high.

However, she is still a child, she has no idea how manipulative adults can be when they are desperate. I did not question the event but have issue with her going on her own with the guy nobody knew well.

So I told Sola of my friend in secondary school – the talented Rachel – envy of all her mates.  On our valedictory service day, Rachel collected the prizes for all of our subjects. She is known throughout my school as bright.

Sometimes a year or so before we graduated, Rachel’s father who was the sole provider of the family was involved in a fatal auto accident in Lagos, leaving the family shattered. Rachel became very reclusive, so poured all her energies in to her studies, not that she needed to try but this time everyone was trailing behind her academically.

A few months before we graduated, she stopped going to her parents’ church to join a new church everyone was raving about in town that focuses on saving youths from worldly influence.

Apparently, Brother K was sacked from a church where he used to work because he was overwhelmed by the number of secondary school girls needing ‘deliverance’ in my town – his ‘actions’ was putting the church in serious jeopardy.

It was Brother K that took Rachel along with another girl to found a new church. At this time Rachel was 17 years old. Brother K rented a room near my best friend’s house so I heard about late night praying, delivering monsters from the young girls’ minds and bodies.

Long story short, Rachel got pregnant. Drama all over the place mostly among those who wished they had half of Rachel’s brain.

Getting pregnant at 17 need not be the end of one’s ambition, but for Rachel it was. And for most girls in my area, this is the reality.

My mother asked why I was excited for Sola when she was going on a school trip crossing the borders to Accra a year earlier – Well, simple – teachers likely to deviate from doing things that can cost them their jobs, especially those in a good private school.

Teachers for the most part would not be bold enough to request for an overnight trip with a minor because he is sensible, pastor on the other hand will exhaust the trust people have for the church hence Mr Ade made the request thinking being a ‘man of God’ is enough to earn trust.

So I asked my mother, “Jungle justice aside, have you ever seen a ‘man of God’ being punished for any wrong doing by the state, in Nigeria? In her almost eight decades, she could not recall of one instance.