Fear and Intimidation
“In Nigeria, I lived a good life, had a boyfriend and a successful career as a criminal lawyer,” says Blessing. “Then everything changed when a cult wanted Samuel’s obedience, time and money.
“Samuel wanted nothing to do with having evil on his hands,” continues Blessing. “But when you refuse to co-operate with the cult, you are in immediate danger.”
Samuel went into hiding for years with only a handful of people knowing his whereabouts. When he eventually married Blessing, he slipped back into society.
“One day, as we walked down the street, Samuel’s cellphone rang,” says Blessing. “The caller described the clothes we were wearing, my accessories and threatened to cut our throats.”
The frightening calls continued. “We will find you. We will kill you. We won’t stop until we know you are dead.” Blessing and Samuel were ultimately tracked down. Blessing was kidnapped and endured a brutal beating. Samuel was taken into the bush where he was attacked and left for dead.
In 2017, Blessing, Samuel and their young daughter fled the country they once held dear. They came to Montreal through the United States and, soon after their arrival, their second daughter was born.
“In 2018, we moved to Toronto with the hope that I could return to my career,” says Blessing. “For months we lived in a family shelter with a few articles of clothing and little food.”
Before long, Blessing heard that The Salvation Army could help.
“The Salvation Army gave us everything we needed—food, clothing, diapers, shelter and a listening ear,” says Blessing.
Today Blessing and her family live in an apartment in the Regent Park area of Toronto. Blessing works at a legal clinic and is waiting for accreditation to be an immigration lawyer. Samuel is a property manager. They both volunteer at The Salvation Army.
“We are not broken,” says Blessing. “The Salvation Army gave us hope for a better future—one with new possibilities and more personal strength. We are here to stay.”