It was a regular Thursday morning at the office, and we had congregated in one office chatting rowdily about nothing in particular, from the lack of electricity in the country to the hawkers on bootlegged porn DVDs on the streets to nonsensically high costs of primary school fees.
The air was alive with everyone anticipating the weekend and the public holiday slated for the following Monday.
We all heard the noise coming from my boss’s office so we went silent in a moment and turned in the direction of the secretariat. She was bawling loudly and talking at the same time and he was trying to pacify her.
I didn’t think a contractor would be in our office this early or would be over-the-top as such so I guessed my boss’s wife had brought their domestic misdemeanours to his office because it was something that she could do.
At this time, Ify, his assistant secretary was heading to us as we looked on towards the source of the commotion.
“Where is Mr.Ebi, his wife is in oga’s office” she said
Ebitari was at his desk relishing his breakfast of fried yam, akara and fried eggs when Tam tells him to report immediately to the manager’s office.
“Ebi, e don happen oh. E be like say you don commit. Your madame dey oga office”
“My wife?” Mr.Ebi asked with surprise
“She’s relaying all your transgressions to the manager” Tam added
“What? This woman is cruising for another bruising” he said smiling but obviously enraged
Then he stormed off towards the secretariat. We all followed.
We pulled the door to shut it as Ebi entered the office but left it slightly open, so we stood around silently trying to listen to the conversation going on inside before my boss’s secretary, Doris, filled us in on what she had heard so far.
Ebitari had beaten his wife and she seemed like she was hit by a runaway train seeing that he was a very physically strong man. Apparently this was not the first time, in the past she had been almost hospitalised after a good pounding from him. All this was news to me, Mr.Ebitari Peters who wore a smile most of the time, was one of the happier people we had in the department. Unlike me, most of the office folk had never seen him express anger, least of violence.
We could hear her talk to her husband insolently in front of the boss when he refused to answer the queries thrown at him, insisting that she should leave the premises and go home. This was before the door got kicked shut to our faces and eavesdropping ears so we moved away to resume our analysis of this brand new suspenseful episode.
I had met Mrs. Peters at a colleague’s child’s birthday bash and she gave off a certain vibe though there was hearsay about her undying belligerence. Now, it was to be confirmed.
I only hoped the boss was not going to fan the flames of by trying to be a judge. I am far from being impressed by his judgement of quarrels between us subordinates least of all a staff’s domestic issue that has not business in our office.
Tam who was Ebi’s closest friend in the department gave us a sneak peek into the private life of Mr.Ebi, telling us how she had been the most insecure, aggressive and disrespectful wife to her husband and how he had borne it for years.
However, she had brought their issues to his manager, knowing that Ebitari held him in high regard.
Besides my feeling for Mrs.Peters as regards what will happen to her at home for attempting to make a public spectacle of her husband, I sincerely refuse to bother with the consequences of this performance; nonetheless, I am concerned with why this issue should be brought to the office.
This is West Africa (Nigeria) and the society thinks and acts indifferently towards domestic violence than if it was Europe or America. Do our work ethics (if any) allow the use of company time and space for the settlement of such domestic issues?