SweatingÂ profusely under the scorching sun as she walked along the Seventh Day/Oke-Bola Road, some few days before the last Christmas celebrations, it was the shape and the natural endowments that were the initial attractions to the lone ranger on the ever-busy commercial road leading to the Olubadan Stadium/Iyaganku axis of the Ibadan metropolis.
Speaking with Miss Temitope Egbeyemi, who claimed to be a 26-year-old Public Administration student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, was seen holding a young monkey in her arms, clutching it to her bosom in a way that would make any man turn green with envy. An interview there and then ensued which drew out the love and passion she has for keeping monkeys and dogs as pets and the satisfaction and fulfillment she derives from doing such.
According to her, her love for pet-keeping dates back to some eight years ago when she acquired her first pet, a monkeys which died some few years later. She said that her love for this particular animal stemmed from its friendliness and trustworthiness. â€œI was barely 18 years old when I bought my first pet which was a monkeys. Ever since, my obsession with animals, specifically dogs and monkeys, has been growing in bounds and leaps. Initially, my parents were not too enthusiastic and receptive to my idea of keeping monkeys which they saw as not typical of a growing lady.
â€œHowever, I see pets, particularly dogs and monkeys as the best friends a man can have. I therefore like keeping these species of animals as pets. Ever since my first acquisition at age 18, I have consistently been keeping dogs and monkeys as pets for over two years now. I bought Susan (the eight-month-old female monkeys she was holding in her arms) for N30, 000 from Jos. I have another one, a seven-month-old male monkeys which I named Smith. I also have at home as pet a very beautiful dogâ€, she said.
She further added that the cost of buying the monkeys notwithstanding, she would continue to keep and maintain them as her special pets because of their peculiar character traits which are similar to that of human beings. She noted that she was particularly attracted to the monkeys specie because of how the nursing mothers among them attend to and dot on their babies. â€œThe similarity is so striking; whenever you see the nursing mothers, you cannot help but notice the special attention they always give to their babies. You will see the nursing mothers painstakingly and carefully picking lice and other pests from the body of their babies and keeping them close to their bodies to give them warmth and also protect them. This love, I must confess, is one of the attractions I have for monkeysâ€, she said enthusiastically.
When asked why the preference for monkeys, Temitope, who was doting on Susan like an infant, feeding her with fresh bananas, said that human aversion to monkeys notwithstanding, they are friendly animals and they should be loved and cared for. She, however, said that it would require understanding on the part of man for the animal to be accommodated. She declared: â€œContrary to insinuations and some common beliefs about them, monkeys are indeed very friendly animals.
While most of the people see them as carnivorous animals that should be avoided for fear of harming humans, they share some common traits with human beings. More often than not, they share some common traits with us, behaving like human beings most of the time.â€
Temitope is, however, taking her love and passion for monkeys to the extreme as the strange monkeys-lover revealed that her love for the animals is at a great cost. While most of the ladies of her age are getting married or, at least, enjoying some sort of steady relationship with the opposite sex, the reverse is her own case as the intimacy between her and her monkey is already straining her relationship with her boyfriend. More surprising and strangely enough, she did not see any big deal in this development as she disclosed to the Nigerian Tribune that she placed more importance and priority on her intimacy with her monkeys than with her boyfriend.
â€œThough currently I have a boyfriend the relationship is not cordial because of my closeness and intimacy with Susan and Smith. But I have no regret over this as I will prefer my monkeys anytime because of the intimacy between us. They are my friends and confidants and I am more particular about Susan.
While Smith stays at home most of the time, I always go out with Susan. We are so close and most of the afternoons, if I am at home, we sleep together; she sleeps on my chest. Undoubtedly, the intimacy between us has been the cause of the frictions I have with my boyfriend as he could not understand why I am so close to herâ€, she said.
She, however, went further to say that she had been struggling to put a rein to her close attachment to the two monkeys, trying had to stop or, at best, control the level of intimacy between them as she revealed that most members of her family and friends were beginning to form the opinion that she was not a normal girl and that was something queer about her.
According to her, â€œthe intimacy with my monkeys is also affecting the perception of members of my family and most of my friends about my person and my strange love for the animals. The thinking among them now is that I am not a normal girl and that there is more to my love for the two monkeys. They are beginning to see me as an abnormal girl whose love and passion for monkeys is strange and queer.