Do you recall the incident that happened in December 2020 in Gboko where a lady allegedly set her boyfriend ablaze? If yes, you might have heard of a woman who many thought was the landlady of the wrecked apartment because of her long stay over there. She is Mrs. Regina Ubilikya. Mrs. Ubilikya is still living in a half room in that house.
In this interview with our Correspondent, MOSES MBAIORGA , Regina Ubilikya bares her mind on the suffering she has been passing through worst being having no place of abode apart from the damaged building. Excerpts:
Good day ma, can you introduce yourself to the press?
My name is Regina Ubilikya, I am the oldest tenant in the house that was set ablaze by a young female lover. I have stayed here for over 30 years. If I am not mistaking this is my 34th year in this house. At first I was paying rent but later on, I was given the grace to stop paying, and that was how I remained here till date.
What made the landlord exempt you from paying rent?
I came here as a tenant, but reaching here, I discovered that one of the sons of the landlord, Mr. Orjime Viashima who was over 40 years was still single. Having been good to me, I asked him to follow me to my place so that I will show him a woman to marry. He was reluctant given that he was no longer doing anything tangible to meet a family’s basic needs. I insisted, he then obliged. We began courtship and the result was successful too. Thereafter, the landlord Mr. Nanakaa Viashima who was also my kinsman from Mbayongo made me to be incharge of this house so that I will gather money to pay the bride price for the woman whom I assisted his son (Mr. Orjime) settled down with. He (Nanakaa Viashima) also gave me a two-room apartment and pronounced that I should not pay till when I am no longer here; he said it was part of his appreciation for my generosity. When Nanakaa passed away years later, three of his sons including the one I assisted to get married also followed suit. His surviving son Rev. Pastor Nanakaa, also allowed me to stay for free saying if his father who was a pagan can be kind to me, he that knows God cannot do otherwise either. That was how I stayed here at no cost till date. That has even made many within this area believed I am the landlady but I am not.
Does it mean you do not have any other place to stay?
Yes! I don’t have any where to go and fix myself. I can say I am the most affected tenant here after that fire incident. This is because others had at least gotten some where to squat but the opposite is the case with me. Our neighbours among others came to invite my co-tenants to go and stay with them. I don’t know if it was because part of my room was still standing that make people feel I don’t have accommodation challenge. If not, no one cares to help me out. I am staying here not because I am glued to this apartment but because I don’t have a choice, else the place is not habitable at all. It can collapse anytime. I’m wondering how I will cope during rainy season.
Where are your children living?
Personally, I am a barren woman. Only my elder sisters that gave birth to children. However, none of them are close by. They are living far from this town (Gboko).
What are your efforts towards scouting for a better place to live?
I did not ask anyone to give me a room to stay, because I felt even if I do, it would not yield a positive result. This incident has happened for over a month and at the presence of many residents including my neighbours and relatives, so if anyone has good intention to accommodate me that should have been done long ago. Besides, some of us that are sterile usually pass through adverse discrimination and at times, being labelled as wicked. One of my relatives came and told me to approach her son to occupy a vacant round hut in their house but I declined because the man in question is her son and if she cannot convince him on my behalf, who am I to win his mind? Besides, the man is very difficult to operate with, so I was afraid.
Where is your village?
I am from Tse Ubilikya Mlan at Adamgbe, Mbayongo, Kunav, Vandeikya Local Government Area.
What is your source of livelihood?
I was into yams trading but sometime ago, I had a motor accident while transporting yams to east to sale. I was seriously injured and the whole of my right lower and upper limbs were affected. Thank God I did not die even though I am physically Challenged. As a result, I am only doing petty trading for sustenance.
With these little things you sell, couple with your health issues, how did you manage to feed?
Well, God is wonderful and I give Him the glory for everything.