As a young boy growing up in Nigeria, I had never experienced the life of a boarding school student. However, I had friends who did, and I eagerly awaited their return during the long holidays, knowing they would bring back a trove of stories. They never failed to captivate my imagination. Some tales thrilled me, while others sent shivers down my spine. But among all these stories, one in particular gave me countless sleepless nights — the legend of Ms. Koi Koi.
Ms. Koi Koi was the stuff of nightmares, a mysterious female ghost who haunted young students in their dormitories at night. When I first heard about her, I was initially bewildered. Different versions of the story circulated among my friends. Some claimed she was the vengeful spirit of a beautiful female teacher, tragically murdered by notorious students. Others believed she was a restless soul searching for closure. However, regardless of the version, all accounts had one thing in common: Ms. Koi Koi wore striking red high heels that echoed ‘Koi Koi’ with every step, sending shivers down the spines of those who heard it.
The uncertainty surrounding Ms. Koi Koi’s existence was as unsettling as her legend itself. No one could definitively say if she was real or a product of our collective imagination, and those who recounted her story were just as unsure. As night fell, my young mind conjured vivid images of this spectral figure, making venturing into dark spaces a daunting ordeal. I’d plead with my younger siblings to accompany me, convinced that Ms. Koi Koi lurked around every corner.
Over time, my siblings grew weary of my fearful requests. To persuade them to accompany me, I resorted to offering them parts of my meals, even my precious piece of meat. That’s how deep-rooted my fear of Ms. Koi Koi had become.
For those who attended Nigerian boarding schools and survived encounters with Ms. Koi Koi, this article is dedicated to you. I invite you to share your own stories of how you braved the legend. As for me, the fear of Ms. Koi Koi was one of the main reasons I never attended a boarding school. And even as my friends spun tales of the ‘bush baby’ for years, Ms. Koi Koi remained a legendary presence, haunting our imaginations long after those childhood days had passed.