Children are vulnerable to negative pressure
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“Say no to Negative Pressure” was the inscription on the frame hanging on the wall. Nnenna and her daughter, Onyinye, held hands, crying together; behind them stood a policewoman.

Onyinye was the only daughter of her parents. She had three younger siblings, and their father, Paul, did all he could to train them in school until his death. Onyinye was in her second year in the university when her father died, so she dropped out of school to start okirika business with the support of her mother.

Things weren’t so rosy, but Onyinye made enough sales to sustain the family until her mother started listening to advice from her friends. She started to make big demands of Onyinye.

“Mummy, how can I give you twenty-thousand naira for asoebi for Mama Chika’s daughter’s wedding when Donatus is waiting for me to give him money for school fees?” Onyinye asked her mum one night.

“Your mates are bringing money home to their mothers, but you are here dulling,” Nnenna scoffed.

“See Prisca, she just bought her mother a new car and she’s doing well in Enugu. See Rose, she has sent her two brothers abroad. Even Chika is getting married to a rich man in Abuja. But you want to continue selling okirika,” Nnenna rubbed it in.

“Mummy this is not fair.”

“It is very fair because if I don’t mount pressure on you, you’ll not do better.”

“Mummy this is negative pressure, not good pressure!”


“Madam, you have five minutes left,” the policewoman said, breaking the sobbing of Nnenna and her daughter.

“I am sorry, my daughter, I know I pushed you into this,” Nnenna sobbed, ignoring the policewoman.

Onyinye didn’t respond, she continued to sob.

Her mind went back to that unfortunate night.

Her friend, Simbi, had connected her to a rich white expatriate in Abuja.

“He has plenty dollars in his briefcase. Just put this substance in his drink, he’ll sleep deeply and you’ll escape with the briefcase,” Simbi had told her.

“Are you sure?” Onyinye asked.

“Of course, just keep my twenty percent o.”

Onyinye had left her okirika business when she could no longer endure her mother’s taunts. She went to Abuja in search of jobs, any job. It wasn’t long before she ran into Simbi who introduced her to prostitution.

On the said night, Onyinye poured the substance in the drink she shared with her white customer, but unknown to her, the man had a serious medical condition which made him allergic to the substance. Once he drank the wine, he started to yell and roll all over. Next thing, he was dialing emergency number of the hotel.

One thing led to the other and Onyinye was in prison for attempted murder and other charges she pled guilty to.


You see, Nnenna is the typical Africa mother who knowingly or unknowingly applies negative pressure on her children because she wants them to do well.

The intention is clear, but there is always a difference between positive pressure and negative pressure. The former isn’t based on comparison, and it often leads to positive improvement. But negative pressure is usually based on comparison and it often leads children to extremes.

As a perent, the choice is yours to make today!

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