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Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Pastor Used the Bible to Persuade Her Not to Pay her Children's School Fees


 The pastor used the Bible to persuade her not to pay her children's school fees, but to invest $1,500 in his friend's farm instead. "If you can't trust a pastor, who can you trust?" the school director from Lagos asks. Now she wishes she hadn't. For the past three years she has been chasing after her money; going to court nine times already and spending the equivalent of $150 in lawyers' fees.
The farmer she has taken to court is just as unhappy. When the police arrested him in 2013, he spent three weeks and four days in Lagos' infamous Kirikiri prison before he was able to make bail. When he returned to his farm, he discovered that his hens had stopped laying eggs. "They're supposed to eat at seven in the morning so they can lay their eggs, but I wasn't around to feed them," he sighs. Since then he has had to appear in court every two or three months. The trip takes a day and costs over $5, which has also hindered his farm.
For the past three years, the school director and the farmer have been embroiled in a seemingly endless court case. Until this morning.
It is the last week of July, and Samuel Ilori Courthouse in Ogba, a densely populated area on the Lagos mainland, has been transformed into a modern day palaver house where hundreds of court cases are being heard by mediators. For the entire week, there are no judges in this magistrates' court, the docks remain empty and the opposing parties are instead gathered around a table where they will try to resolve their conflict.
"Do you want your money back, or do you want this man in jail?" mediator Olayinka Oyelade asks the school director, pointing at the farmer on the opposite side of the table. When she responds that she does not wish prison upon anybody and that her priority is the money, the mediator continues: "In that case, you'd better settle. When he ends up in prison, you will get nothing. And if he has to go back and forth to court, he cannot make the money to pay you back."


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