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Mnena: The Lady Goes House Hunting



“You aren’t married are you?”
I looked up from my phone screen and shook my head. No. Up until then the conversation had been in Yoruba, a language I did not speak or understand.
For the last five minutes Femi, my housing agent, had been pleading, cajoling on my behalf. He had wanted me to view a place he’d heard was perfect for me. ‘Fenced with running water. You will like it’.

I had jumped the first hurdle when the Landlord’s agent had asked ‘Igbo?’ My agent had rushed to correct him ‘No, Benue’. I tumbled at the second hurdle. Single and Female.
“Where do you work?” the landlord’s agent barked. I answered with no further supplications; I knew they would be of no use. Even if I had come floating down from on high, pure and unsullied, I was still an unclaimed female to him. As Femi and I walked back the way we came, he apologised over and over.
“You know that they wonder if a woman will be able to pay for the next year”
“And a man will surely be able to?”
My friend, a man, continued in this illogical vein.
“Young girls (I am 31) may bring home young guys who may turn out to be criminals”, Fred said.
“So the young guys that rent don’t have young guy friends”
“A guy’s friends are more often than not in the same line of lifestyle as him”
And all I could reply was, “I see.”

And I really did see. I get tired of being a woman sometimes.
The expectations that are on me, that fall on me because I have breasts and a vagina. It has nothing to do with my ability in anything. Everything is meant to be innate. Everything is meant to be present from the day I was born. I am expected to walk a certain way, talk a certain way, be able to cook, be able to love kids, be able to have kids, be nurturing, be quiet, and be demure. The apogee of my life will be taking care of a man and house because that is what women do. Anything else is superfluous.

So why would I be looking for a house of my own, if not to cause mischief.
“You know one of the main reasons my sister’s husband married her was because she was still living with her parents when he met her” my work colleague said concluding the story she had launched into when I told her I was looking for a place to stay, alone.

‘I doubt he would have if it was just her’ I nodded in agreement as we walked to our bus stop. It was always easier to agree. I found that when I opened my mouth to be contrary, it always came out with a sneer.
‘I wouldn’t advise you to live alone’ even my Oga at work was chipping in. I am 31 years old I wanted to retort but yet again I nodded. A 31 year old man, a man of any age, would not be questioned about why he wanted to live on his own. He would be expected to. At what age would I be thought old enough, free enough to stay on my own, to be an adult?

‘What do your parents think?’
My mother had raised my brother and I to be independent; she was surprised it had taken me this long to move out of my friend’s one bedroom.
‘She is in full support’ and Oga quietened down and continued dictating.
‘What church do you go to?’ He asked mid-dictation. I crossed out the question on my notepad when I realised it was directed at me and not the Bank director we were writing to. My usual reply would be ‘Redeemed’, that generic answer which could be given with a made up parish and no one would question it. They were that many parishes and why couldn’t Sinai on the Mount be one? But I was surprised with my truth.
‘I don’t go to church sir. I got tired of watching people rolling around at the front in the name of giving testimony.’ He nodded understanding.
‘You should come to my church. The service is just over an hour. How else are you going to meet a man to marry? Definitely not in a club. Church is where you find them’

Three Sundays and more fruitless house viewings later, I put on my Sunday best and took the BRT bus down to CMS. One Keke ride later and I was kneeling down and murmuring prayers. Would it be too obvious if I asked for a husband? Or hypocritical if I avoided mentioning it to God? Faces were fully bowed in prayer except mine. Head half raised, I discreetly scanned the congregation and late comers from time to time. Searching. For someone who would put a ring on me and make me an adult. An adult, no longer infantilised. An adult worthy of living in a house with a fence and running water.

Mnena hates quirky things and can't come up with a bio. In any case, here are the basics. Writer. Lover of Small Chops. Fan of Hadley Freeman. Visit her website:  and follow her on Twitter @mnena


  1. BN lover

    March 26, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Hahhhahhahhahahahhahaha,life in Nigeria my sister. Nice piece

  2. debs

    March 26, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I feel you. the world we live in is not easy if you single and 35. only one who has been there knows it.

    • slice

      March 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Gej lawmakers, instaed of going after gay pple why not go after pple that discriminate against hardworking people on the basis of gender, tribe, state, accent, color, marrigae status, I would add sexual orientation but the govt dicriminates on that basis anyway

  3. Hotchocolate

    March 26, 2014 at 9:54 am

    My sister I feel you, it’s so bad am thinking of taking a job outside Naija to have some peace. It’s not my fault am single nah, abi dem think say we wey dey single no no?

    • Blessmyheart

      March 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Funny piece. Interestingly, I don’t recall any rejection when I was house-hunting. It just may be because I wanted just a studio apartment since that was what I could afford then. I remember my aunt even wanted me to get a bigger place. I also remember someone wanted me to pay for 31/2years and I said, please I’ll get married before then though I wasn’t in a relationship. I also had a car then and I didn’t feel like I wouldn’t get a man. I enjoyed staying alone, it made me independent and I was able to acquire stuff which we’re still using in the house today, tv, gen, fridge, mattress, pots, plates, etc Any man who is intimidated by a lady living alone and with a car isn’t matured enough to be a husband anyway.

  4. Neo

    March 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Bless you for this! My first taste of independence was my masters year and i came back with a voracious thirst for freedom. I moved out of my sister’s house at 26 amidst many many admonitions as to how i wouldnt find a husband and people would think i was wayward. Not one concern was voiced as to whether i could handle the financial responsibilities that came with living on your own. Fastforward almost 4 years later, i live in Abuja with a friend in a house we both paid for. People come visit us and comment that our house is like a married couple’s house, that wouldnt we get too comfortable (read as comfortable enough to prevent us from trolling the streets in serach of a husband) Today I have become very self reliant, i dont wait on a man to change my bulbs or do minor plumbing work for me, i tackle my generator when its misbehaving, i carry my keg and go buy fuel for the gen.

    I am not a lesbian. I do not NEED a man. Do i want one? Yes and i will eventually get one but a man does not validate me as a person. neither is getting one a pre-requisite to getting all the other things i want. I do not want a man who would be intimidated by me because i can afford to live in a good house or buy a car nor do i want one who thinks i’m wayward because of all of that.

    • John de Beloved

      March 26, 2014 at 10:22 am

      Neo thats what I am talking about.. thats what most guys want, a girl who has an Itch for progressing on her own… in fact will you marry me? hehehe just joking. i wish people like you could speak to the many who believe Marriage is the Koko, or a do or die affair. Bigger you. #done

    • Miss Anonymous

      March 26, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Neo, are you and I the same person?

    • Bleed Blue

      March 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Perhaps you are in the Matrix…seeing as the name is Neo and all

    • Grace E

      March 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      chai Eziogu…bia nne I love you oh but im not a lesbian…
      I don’t understand some guys sometimes tho..if u live with your parents, they say u are spoilt and cant do things yourself…if u don’t, they say you are forming independence.. anyway that one is their own problem because all that means nothing to me..

    • Grace E

      March 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      and I believe this lack of independence is what makes some women find marriage to be a do or die affair and have to marry a rich man so their life will be “Secure”… my mum always tells me to establish myself and make my own money and learn to do things myself not be sitting down waiting for a guy with money especially if I don’t know how he got his wealth..afterall, with how uncertain things are in life, what if he is gone tmoro? I do understand that sometimes, men or humans in general can be insecure about other people’s achievements..but then again a REAL man should be able to appreciate a woman who can hold her own..cos then hopefully it is enough proof that she can also support him in the marriage and bring something to the table. that’s just my opinion…I really don’t think we should be attaching any “labels” to ladies who live alone. I think this mentality only rests in some Nigerians oh cos my parents are not like that. Infact, each time I tell my parents I want to move to another location, they tell me to go for it. Give me needed advise ask questions like: can you afford it? how much will it cost u? is the area safe? travel and go chill there first before….I should just make sure as I’m working I save up and have more than enough to sustain me through it all and plan adequately.

    • Just me

      March 27, 2014 at 10:23 am

      You just took the words from my mouth,same as me, I have been living alone for almost 6 years doing my thing, not waiting for a man to do the necessary things I can do for myself , and sometimes it really feels good knowing you can do those little things women think are meant for the men


      March 27, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Well said Neo. I especially like the part where you said- you don’t need a man, but u want a man. Peeps, click my name for a checklist before yoou say I do and lots more on love, relationships, marriage and life

    • Nene

      March 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      we are the same person….my mom lived alone for a long time and got married at 31 had me at 32. She was behind me a 100% when i decided to move out of her sister’s house to stay on my own….

      A colleague of mine told me yesterday that it was my responsibility to make the office environment peaceful because women were meant to be nurturing and motherly, to that i replied ” it is everyone’s responsibility to make the office conducive for everyone else”…

      This is the world we live in…hopefully our daughters will have it better

  5. Ewa

    March 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

    lol.. Nice piece

  6. myra

    March 26, 2014 at 10:06 am

    hahahha nice write up. good one. i tell u my sister

  7. mama

    March 26, 2014 at 10:10 am

    hahaha…………..i feel you too

  8. Rachie

    March 26, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Love your write up girl. I live on my own for 5 years before i got married. I worked hard,my parents was not in support of me staying on my own and same idea. A man will not marry u if u live on your own,they would think you are a spoilt girl. It was the opposite for the man i married and i am happy i had the chance to enjoy my single life then. Dont let anyone push you around dear.

  9. choco

    March 26, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Nice one, heading in the hottest topic of the day- “FEMINISM” – direction

  10. adetola

    March 26, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I used to think in this manner and drove from Festac to VI everyday for over 4 years. When work on the 10-lane extension of the Badagry expressway started and I would leave home at 4am and get back at past midnight, even my mother begged that I move closer to the office…just yesterday, I had a conversation with some guys and they said when women say they dont want to buy cars so they can get married, its because “rain never beat them well”…wherever you are on the face of the earth, God’s hands are not too short to reach you…women should live their lives and enjoy it! If you can afford something, please go ahead…

  11. John de Beloved

    March 26, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Now this marriage thing is being Over flogged oh on BN. I understand that ladies want to get married et al, but what ever happened to ladies who want to first build up their careers, and take marriage as something additional and not the “main thing”. Well issoarait, I guess the Nigerian Environment as a whole is over flogging the matter too. Hope most ladies do not end up self destructing cause of what they “think” People say and think. Trust me Ladies, we guys smell desperation in ladies just as mosquitoes smell Blood(I think they do), so focus on making a difference, and guys like me are sure to chase after you like ants chase after sugar.

  12. Amara

    March 26, 2014 at 10:19 am

    haha i loved reading this… This morning i told my boss that It is a man’s world, forget all that one they are saying. I was thinking about moving out sometime last year and i got the same remarks about how it would be difficult to get a husband if i lived alone or if i drove a really posh car….my own parents have no objection o, just uncles and aunties who make sure my upbringing is their business..
    I am still going to take that step sha, just waiting for the right time….lol have no idea when that would be

    • anonymous

      March 27, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Mama, this is from your bestie in CDSSO. Be honest with me, Can you really afford to nove out? cos the you I know would hv moved out oh

    • Amara

      March 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      lol pecs… i know this is you..
      I can move out na, not on my bills o, on my parents’, and they are in support…. still makng up my mind sha

  13. Vanessa

    March 26, 2014 at 10:19 am

    LOL. I liked the way you ended it. I faced a similar situation. I really liked the house, I had to lie that “my husband” was abroad. Later, I opened up to the landlord, who told me not to open up to the wife until I packed in. Foolish me, I had already told them where I was to pack out from. FBI landlady went to enquire from the gods of my former abode and the truth came out. I was called to collect my rent back. Landlady said they don’t want single ladies who would snatch landlord or quarrel with her or keep late nights. I said ok. I left. Where I am living now, it is the men that keep crawling back home by 10pm-ish. It was a guy whom other guys came to attack for stealing their babe. Female and single tenants hardly brew trouble. It is even the men who delay in paying utility bills. Silly logic and reasoning of some house owners.

  14. anon

    March 26, 2014 at 10:22 am

    The article is great, your points are all valid. but moaning about it…doesnt change a thing. We get discriminated on for so many things. Many people wont rent to Igbo tenants ( my husband has an Igbo surname…). One bad experience and the rest of us are tarred. Same twisted logic as a landlord who decides that single black female 28 + over =runschick/ Crazy. But moaning about it…does nothing. Sadder still they’ve now drawn you into the fasting and prayer MFM type 2014 I must marry. Just do a survey and look at how many of the couples we have all ooh’ed and ah’d weddings on BN are still happy together .. a year after., or worse still together at all. I am married, have been for 13 years i married at 27 but even then.. the pressure. I had a company car issued to me at NYSC. It was boldly branded with the company logo, but still ‘well meaning aunties” would exclaim their lack of approval. I thought it at least cleared the air of where it came from, but they were more concerned with it being a symbol of success which ‘men’ would be scared of.
    It truly saddens me these days despite how far we think we come that women are still being subjected to this type of insanity. I pray God gives you YOUR husband, One who will provide you housing complete with fence and running water, but most importantly will value, respect, nurture and love you..forsaking all others. It is well.

    • mrs chidukane

      March 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I used to like Yoruba people until a friend tried unsuccessfully for months to rent an apartment and the landlords refused blatantly cos he is Ibo.I then began to wonder what Ibos did to Yoruba people to warrant such discrimination. Its not like that in the east AT ALL.I began to resent them cos I just don’t get it

    • El patron medellin cartel

      March 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      First Of All How Many Yoruba’s Reside In The East? And Igbo People Can Like Wahala! Stubborn People Especially The Educated ones..Lawyer and Co
      I had nothing Against Igbo ppl,until My Father Made Me the caretaker of his houses..mehn if you are igbo or Your name sounds like Emeka! Don’t Worry! Single Ladies I gat no wahala as long as You Pay!

    • Truth

      March 26, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      mr caretaker @elpatron, which part of lagos is this your house? Igbos like wahala because they wont rollover and give you the other cheek? Landlords in Lagos are notorious for not managing their properties, and expect their tenants to pay for every single thing, even after collecting rent. As a Nigerian citizen, im allowed to live where i please so come chase me comot from lagos. keep refusing igbos accomodation in your face me i face you, inugo, rubbish!

  15. Samantha

    March 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Beautiful write up!

  16. Tru

    March 26, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I remember an aunt remarking (when I bought a car) that she’d thought the husband should have come first 🙂 And don’t get me started on remarks I got when I had to rent a place thanks to Lagos traffic.
    That’s the sad, myopic society we live in, but it’s changing bit by bit, thankfully. Still, I wonder why we keep viewing marriage as the Holy Grail…I mean, why should a single, successful woman be viewed with pity and even abhorrence and get less respect than another one in a bad marriage? From what I’ve seen, marriage is no walk in the park and I’m not going to get into an unhappy one just to please society.
    It’s all good Mnena, someday these memories will make you laugh

  17. Ada

    March 26, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Very well written…very pure and undiluted. I love it. She should consider more than getting married. She has a talent for vividly creating and event. I understood every aspect of what she felt.

  18. harhbeesolar

    March 26, 2014 at 10:52 am

    hhmmm deep!!! sometimes society and family pressure dicatates so much for us that we dont really know what we want for ourselves,we just had to do what society thinks it’s right to keep them from castigating us…but the question is “is that what we really want?” many people are in marriages not because they are happy nor enjoy it but because they are scared of what people will say if they opt out until they find themselves 6fts under the ground due to dejection or battering. may God help us all

  19. optimistic

    March 26, 2014 at 10:53 am

    There is no principle to marriage but there are rather presumed rules. It works differently for different people. Whether a lady is independent or not does not define how soon or how late she will get settled.
    It is only advisable for a Lady to be sensitive and go about it in God’s way because any other way is the Highway to unfulfilled destiny.

  20. C*Witty

    March 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

    i can so relate to this, it happened to me when i got transferred to lagos, they kept asking why i had to live alone and if i dint have family friends i could stay with. it sure pained me but i persevered and finally got a place but even then i had to go do the payment with a male colleague of mine as requested by the landlord. ko easy rara. in this our naija you try so hard to do things right but the conditions and situations would tend to shake you and you wonder how on earth do people even think the way they do. it is well.

  21. iyke

    March 26, 2014 at 11:23 am I stare! My imagination has decided to fore go conventional conversation…which might explain why I stare…
    When you really want to marry in Nigeria, I mean, really really want to marry i Nigeria, You sure know the rules!

  22. Duchess

    March 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

    lol @ Searching. For someone who would put a ring on me and make me an adult. An adult, no longer infantilised. An adult worthy of living in a house with a fence and running water.

  23. linda

    March 26, 2014 at 11:56 am

    This marriage thing Eh!! God help us get the best union as huband and wifey… nice write up mnena……

  24. Lady Tee

    March 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    The truth is buying a car or getting a house doesnt prevent you from getting a husband. None of those thnigs matter to a man who truly deserves to have you. I remember being in the same situation years ago when I wanted to move close to the island based on Lagos traffic wahala. Critis were saying I wouldnt get a husband to marry me as I was too independent. I told them that any man who doesnt want to marry me just because I live alone or I have my own ride is not worthy of having me. Shikena! Today I’m engaged to be married in a few months time to a man who I met while living alone. My advice to single women out there is to that what pleases and makes life easy for them. Those critics, they do not love you. YOU love you! So treat yourself right.

  25. Jo!

    March 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Hmmmnn, my dear….. where do I start?
    Weirdly, I have lived in 3 rented apartments in Lag and haven’t had it as bad as I’ve heard, of course I’ve heard the standard, we don’t take single women, and we don’t take ibo’s but usually, it just kinda falls in my lap….. I want to continue and tell you all my ears have heard and eyes have seen in this Lagos, but I can’t afford to get into the doldrums it would bring so let’s stop.
    Advice though, KEEP YOUR SHIT TO YOURSELF! Don’t tell your co-workers your business, if you need to tell them, like so you can get agent’s contact. don’t make it like you’re asking permission, even your family. we love them and they love us but…I’ve learnt to just show up at home and make announcements. shikena

  26. mia

    March 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    i was living alone for about four years, with my TV, my kitchen utensils intact, my generator and the works, before i got married. i can say i had more stuffs to move in when we rented our apartment after marriage. you have a right to your comfort, married or not.

  27. Dts me

    March 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm glad i took the decision last year, i will be 24 in few mths, i got an apartment last year and prior to that, i heard so many stories, i had to move in with a friend just to avoid ‘single girl syndrome’ but when the friend showed me pepper, i didn’t seek advise from anyone, it was after i paid for my rent, i told my people..’mi o e le waku’ getting a car soonest,,in fact the car is on the sea..if i cant enjoy my 8-5 hard earned money,abeg when will i enjoy it..TEAM INDEPENDENT till Mr Right shows ooo

  28. sandey

    March 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Marriage shldnt be an issue,we 1 is ready 1 is ready…..being successful isn’t d sole right to any particular gender,my belief is that a successful woman is a confident woman,she shld know what she wants and be realistic with her choice. In other words its how you see urself is the way u wld be seen. If a females gets married at 21,26,28,30,32, even 40 its still d curse n blessings of marriage she wld still inherit so beingng happy is d 1st call of duty 4 a woman cos I believe happiness attracts good. Men

  29. fashionandstylepolice

    March 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Lol. Nice piece.

  30. portable

    March 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Yes o, I’m a single girl living alone in Lagos and my landlord actually refused to let me move in till my father showed up to state his approval. That was after the land lord had ascertained I had a job o and had collected my money, the very insanely expensive rent he charged. Now, I’m looking to move to a bigger place and I’m actually praying more than I’m searching. I doubt my father has the time to travel to Lagos again just to see one landlord.

  31. Tola O.

    March 26, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Sadly this is what we have here in Lagos,not sure of other cities. I think young men also find themselves in this situation. If you are single whether male or female,you are assumed irresponsible even if you work in Aso rock with FG car & driver. Shame!!!

  32. Grace E

    March 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    oh and I forgot to mention that this is the first writeup ever that I’ve read from beginning to end #youallcare!! anyway nice piece Mnena. These are some of the things we all have to deal with from time to time..but please nobody should rush into marriage because they think it is the solution to some problems.. you may end up wishing you were still single sef…

  33. eva

    March 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    This happened to me. I got a job in kaduna three years ago. I had no relatives in the place. I stayed with a family friend before I moved out. during house hunting, I was rejected in so many places because of my single state. The house which I eventually got was because the Landlady was a divorcee or whateever I don’t know. she still needed verification from someone I had to claim as my uncle. I was tired of the rejection and I wanted my own place.
    Everybody will not get married from their father’s house and I cant be waiting like rapunzel for my Knight in shining armor. I was told not to buy a car by my family that it would chase men. I have a well paying job and trekking under the hot sun it isnt eazy. I cant kill myself. My own will definitely come and I dont think he is trekking or would love to see me trekking with my profile. Shiooor. I have let go like Elsa in FROZEN

  34. Sisi

    March 26, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    ‘Would it be too obvious if I asked for a husband?’ Brilliant, written so well. Strong but not obnoxious, point most certainly made. More please!?!

  35. favoured mama

    March 26, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    me i did not send the audience when they made it their business how i lived my life as a single girl oh…..i moved out of the state where my parents were located to live in lagos after graduation, of course i had to give them a serious excuse like my career depended on it…….thereafter to rent house nko? i waka lagos tire before i saw a landlord that had mercy on my single status…..ironical it was the married woman whose hubby was located in germany at that time who was doing runs and disturbing the aboki with her late nights…initially when i finally was able to afford a car i was abit hesitant..i got well “meaning advice” from concerned friends and family……entering danfos come tire eh…the last straw was the day the bus i entered almost caught fire on 3rd mainland….see jumping out of the window and door and almost landing in the lagoon…God forbid that i should be suffering in lagos when God was prospering me, i just went and jejely bought my tokunbo…..being single aint a curse and don’t let anybody play down what God has blessed you with……the important thing is how you carry yourself..its great to be married but dont let society dictate the terms and conditions…i have been married 9 years and going strong and of course now enjoying hubby play his manly roles and use his muscles as a handyman even for those things i use to do for myself as a single babe…lol….

  36. Duchess

    March 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I’m a single lady and I ve been living alone for as long as I care to remember. Having to leave alone is no joke. I ve learned to be independent as I practically do everything by myself even changing bulbs and minor electrical repairs. However, I’m starting to hate doing all those stuff on my own…by myself! I want a man or is there something wrong with that? The other downside of living alone for me is that, I always come back home to an empty house. Can’t wait for mr right to come along cos I think l ve paid my dues in the miss independent department, if there’s anything like that.

    • anonymous

      March 26, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      That makes the two of us. So what are we waiting for? Do you care to for my statistics?

    • babysco

      March 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      I wish BN could do like a dating thing on the site like dating Wednesday and we could share stats
      My stats:Currently in California- gosh it’s so lonely here,25, getting desperate oo
      Menh societal pressures in Nigeria nah long thing o.God bless all the single ladies out there 🙂

    • Eve82

      March 27, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Duchess drop your contacts for anonymous 🙂 I need to feature on AsoEbi Bella. I hope this works out for both of you…best wishes and keep us posted..xoxo

    • Easy n Gentle

      March 27, 2014 at 11:53 am

      It would be nice to read a love story made in BN. Perhaps Bella Naija should look into that and maybe diversify (business idea). From perception, most commenters [commentators] seem like single, well-educated, career ladies… And ladies are all you need, wherever they are in multitude, men will find them

  37. Changing Faces

    March 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    And hardly anyone picked on the fact that she was asked if she’s igbo. Igbos in Lagos are treated like they’re less human because we will not roll over the floor in the name of respect. Ability to rent us dependent on your ethnic group. Thankfully there are enough igbo landlords in Lagos so we don’t have to sleep outside.

    • Ay'

      March 27, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      If only you were a landlord in Lagos…. Igbos can be a serious pain in the neck, they act all nice before they get the keys but afterwards, they show the real stuff they are made of. I am not one to generalise as I know a few who are exceptions but truth be told, Igbo tenants can be real trouble makers

    • Marvel

      April 1, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Thank God.

  38. Adaobi

    March 26, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Very well written! Gender equality is a big issue in Nigeria and many other parts of the world. We have to keep pushing for a societal change so that everyone can truly experience freedom.

  39. Foni

    March 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Gender bias is deeply ingrained in both female and male genders. I have been denied renting houses for vaious reasons including being an ‘omo ibo’ though I am Ibibio; not being a pentecostal; not being an Anglican; being Catholic; being single, etc. I have been labelled ‘asewo’ in the search for a house because single women are ‘asewos’ who cause men to fight, are husband snatchers, associate with drug addicts, 419s, criminals, etc. I got slapped by a caretaker for demanding my facility fee back after they failed to show me the house I paid so much to see way back in 2002. I have been on this single and house search thing for a while and it does not get better. I just want to be free, without societal norms weighing me down! I am not lesbian and not desperate for sex but, I do want to have kids so, I want to be free to choose from adoption, surrogacy, IVF, consensual sex, etc. The choice should be mine without having to second-guess myself.

  40. Dodiey

    March 26, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Hehehe. Nice one. It’s everywhere. The two places I had to rent in Abuja, they only gave in when the agent announced very quickly ‘she’s a doctor!’. Like seriously, you would discriminate me for my sex and marital status but for my job? And then the rules follow. From all your comments we all go through the same things…especially with the owning a car… the comments from ‘aunties’, the withdrawal of some trekking toasters when they see your car. Na wa oh! It’s actually the men that should change their mind set, go work hard and earn, and be ambitious instead of making women let go of their ambitions. Mne my Benue sister, nice one.

  41. mrs chidukane

    March 26, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Anyway,this not renting to ibos I think it’s wrong and @El patron,they’re actually quite a number of yorubas and other ethnicities living in the east even in my hometown and they’re treated the same as everyone else. Where I used to live there were like 20 mallams coming and going and up to 14 sleeping under the stairs and in the compound.I complained of the nuisance yet the Landlord who is ibo told me to leave them, that they’re not doing much harm.Don’t know sha but Ibos are very accommodating especially to strangers, its a pity people of other ethnic groups hate us so much. It doesn’t stop us from thriving though

  42. theodora

    March 27, 2014 at 7:08 am

    yes…. it is very annoying. no one will allow your life to start as a woman unless your supposedly under a man. appearance is everytin, truth is secondary. “dont own a car, becos inside the car your husband mite not see u” , “dont get ur own place becos u will be labelled a slut” d list goes on…. is it any wonder that women just marry anytin just to be set free?? still dere are ways around dis backwards thinking…. in my case i dint buy a car, I use one of my mum’s cars dat everyone knows belongs to her. as for living arrangements, take a 3 bedroom wit another girlfriend, and in a worst case scenario, ask a guy to represent u wit d landlord, itz not as good as d real thing… but it allows abit more freedom that wat u have rite now…. ur blessed sister… don’t let dem get u down 🙂

  43. Shadylaj

    March 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

    My sisters, do not continue to live your life suffering because you are single. Enjoy your ‘singility’ while it lasts. Buy a car if you can afford one and any man who is intimidated because of your car does not deserve you!!! He would probably expect you to continue jumping buses when he marries you.


    March 27, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Well said Neo. I especially like the part where you said- you don’t need a man, but u want a man. Peeps, click my name for a checklist before yoou say I do and lots more on love, relationships, marriage and life

  45. Just me

    March 27, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I had same experience when I was in Lag, with Landlords refusing to let out their appartments giving the reason of being single. But since I relocated to Abuja it was much easier for me, I got a flat the week I moved to Abuja. I dont let people dictate how I want to live my life, I have just one life and while waiting for “THE MAN” does not mean I will deny myself the things that make me comfortable in a bid to attract him. Life is too short to deny yourself anything good thats my philosophy.

  46. Me

    March 27, 2014 at 11:29 am

    LMAO abeg when my husband finally arrives if he doesn’t keeping snail pace, I will charge him 10yrs rent at leeast , home and abroad since what is it, honey whereever you are make u pity person now, it’s too much!

    • Easy n Gentle

      March 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Wide grin at this!!!! I’m sure he’d gladly pay and he’d certainly make it up to you. Just chill *winks

  47. Me

    March 27, 2014 at 11:38 am

    doesn’t stop” pls also make that 15 years rent, my “payrents” were supportive with 5 , whence after I spelt I N D E P E N D E N C E. Honey you better be rich nigga or oyinbo, cos aint nobody got time for pennies after all this suffering and waiting.

  48. Easy n Gentle

    March 27, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I abhor anything bigoted, gender-wise, religious-wise or even in the lines of tribe. Yes, many Yorubas in Lagos have reservations as to renting out their apartments to Ibos. And as many have pointed out, Ibos are outspoken and will not be subdued on the grounds of “respect”. On the Other hand, the average Yoruba elder knows only to get his/her way with that “respect” factor, this is their culture. What you should do is understand not criticize. You can not cope with their demands of respect and you want them to bend to yours, of having a say and stating your opinion however true and appropriate it is? Its not going to happen.

    As to men not wanting independent women, i would say this falls in the line of the kind of mother men had (No disrespect intended). Men generally want, subconsciously, someone like their mother. I include myself in this list. My mother is fiercely independent woman who would not suppress herself for any man, not even my father. I would consider marrying any woman less than her a failure. We have our differences but i respect her personality too much. I would hate to think i married a woman with no initiative that can’t do anything until she has my blessing or physical presence. Same will apply to a guy with submissive mums, i suppose.

    As to Marriage and Respect, Everyone knows marriage is all about endurance, and a good dose of taking responsibility for someone other than yourself. Responsibility is Respected in any society/culture. You might be Responsible and Un-married, but i can’t see that because i am not your best friend/family. All i can see are your actions. Marriage is one!!!

    Their is always Two sides (maybe more) to a story.

  49. Nene

    March 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    we are the same person….my mom lived alone for a long time and got married at 31 had me at 32. She was behind me a 100% when i decided to move out of her sister’s house to stay on my own….

    A colleague of mine told me yesterday that it was my responsibility to make the office environment peaceful because women were meant to be nurturing and motherly, to that i replied ” it is everyone’s responsibility to make the office conducive for everyone else”…

    This is the world we live in…hopefully our daughters will have it better

  50. Omo1

    March 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Sometimes the ideology that young ladies still living in their family homes gets a husband faster baffles me! Why is this so? I remember a friend telling me her fiance had refused to tell his father she was living by herself up till the time they got married, just to avoid whatever negative reaction he might have had.

  51. Ife Love

    March 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I’m Yoruba and I can proudly say that my dad was never mean to his ibo tenants. Infancy they all moved one of my dad’s houses to theirs and we’ve had 2 ibos, 2 calabars and 4 Yorubas. When we don’t agree with them we tell them to their faces and the Yoruba people gave us more problems at a point. Even at that , they are still humans- you could find yourself in any part of the country and be in dire need of an apartment. I guess most of those Yoruba landlords that do it wouldn’t want to be paid back in their coin. And BTW, when I was injured by robbers a while back enroute work, it was the ibo n Yoruba tenants that rushed me to the hospital as my mum n sister weren’t in a position to drive. See! My experience with ibo people has been nice. Plus when I moved out of the house, my mum had same reservations but then she saw reasons n my dad too gave his blessings. People ask y single ladies like my sister and I live alone and I ask them if it’s better to be as thin as Reed because of Lagos traffic and lack of sufficient sleep. Ladies, do what’s best for you; a guy that’s threatened by your independence is not going to encourage you to greater feats. My two cents….

  52. Dr ng

    March 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    @Neo,ur type is rare to in my mid twenties,living alone n currently under a lot of pressures esp from my female friends telling me how much I wil regret my life if no man comes for me cos of my overtly independent life.wish I hv a friend lik u

  53. Leila

    March 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Well I don’t blame Landlords for discriminating against renting their houses to young ladies. Most of them have
    I don’t blame landlords that discriminate against young women. Some of them scrap up the first year rent and turn your house into a motel and Runs joint. I have a tenant whose was sleeping with her friend’s husband once she found out she almost burnt my whole house down. These group of nasties are the reasons why the decent hardworking ones are being asked all sorts of embarrassing questions just to rent a house.

  54. NaijaPikin

    March 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    It’s sad naija is this way…..In yankee pple actually look at you crazy when you mention you live at home.

  55. okija tins

    March 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    na wa o ….Igbo this, yoruba that….Will this nonsense ever end?

  56. Isabella

    March 28, 2014 at 7:41 am

    darn! this is the best thing have read in a while. the stereotyping of single women in this side of the world is amazing. no one bothers to ask you if you are interested in getting married or not? they forget it is a choice and not a must. when a single lady drives a car twice her size or even a car of her size, first thing people say is ‘how can she attract a man? no man will want to approach her”. if you are at the peak of your career, they would say “she slept her way to get up there” whereas when a man does it, it is tagged as ‘hard work’. my dear, set ypur priorities right, you are accountable for your own life at the end of the day.

  57. clare

    March 28, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Its shameful to see how backward most Nigerians still are. A woman is supposed to be the neck and not the stomach that sits idealy and waits to be fed. How do you support your family and your husband’s goals When they expect you to be dependent on a man.

  58. agbekeyeside

    March 28, 2014 at 8:07 am

    hahahaa…. I live alone. I can’t claim I had it this bad when I was house hunting though. My family was quite understanding. Only the then boyfriend had issues with it and obviously his opinions count for squat. I hear all this stories and I wonder if we still leaving in the dark ages.

  59. Omo Good

    April 3, 2014 at 10:42 am

    WoW……after reading this I feel really bad for the single ladies out there in good old Nigeria. Mnena…..this is a great write up and so proud to know you and be associated with …..through my darling wife back in ur UK Bristol days(Clue). Greater Works to come I believe.

  60. philipo

    April 5, 2014 at 9:40 am

    you keep blowing my mind anytime i read ur piece.keep it up.

  61. mr eazy

    April 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Brilliant article. I think life is full of stereotypes. If u r fat, u eat to much. If u poor, u r lazy, If u don’t smile often u r wicked….Concerning ibo tenants, my dad had a terrible experience wit them a couple of years ago. It was so messy he actually had to involve the [email protected] lol @ withdrawal of trekking toasters..really got me laughing…

  62. ItsDemi

    November 19, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    I am telling you, my first landlord at VGC asked if I was igbo , I said I’m yoruba, he said that’s ok cos he doesn’t want igbo in his house; then he asked do you have a boyfriend, I said no…He went like why? I said God has not done that yet. He said ok his rent is 800k, how do I intend to pay for the following year since I don’t have a boyfriend? I said I have a job. After many questions , he gave me the house oh but with plenty conditions. Guys shouldn’t come visit except if I have a boyfriend and he must meet the boyfriend first, then my friends can’t come see me, they literally have to sneak into the house . This landlord was not staying in the house oh but he told his neighbour to monitor my every move. He called one night to tell me that the estate executive said a customized car comes to drop me and it’s threatening the street security . I was like this can’t be true. Told him I will call him to let him know my decision in the morning . I had to ask for a refund of my rent barely two weeks of living there and I moved to a studio in lekki. Nice landlord, no hassles; he just said make sure you pay your utility bills before or on due date. I have peace now. Some landlords are devils. What about guys? Once they hear you stay all by yourself, they believe an older man is the financier . I tire for Lagos oh. Can’t a lady do things for herself ?

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