Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Open Letter To The Oba Of Ago Iwoye

 I remember growing up on the street of Olopomerin, wishing that one day I would also attend the famous Olabisi Onabanjo University living the free life’s the student were living then things changed, I became a Lagos boy and all that dreamt went away. But as God would have it I came back home and also I got admitted into Olabisi Onabanjo University and my dreams became a reality and I studied happily.
Well it didn't actually go down like that, I actually studied but not happily or should I say not freely. Ago Iwoye was a town you could walk on freely not minding the time or anybody intimidating you but after the horrible event that occurred in 2005 things changed. It took a long while before normalcy and security returned to Ago Iwoye but it did and with that, things went back to normal though not as before but it was better.

I finished from OOU in 2012 and went for service in 2013 but before going for service, in my final year precisely there was a new act in Ago Iwoye an act I use to hear but never experienced it. the Ago Iwoye police most especially Officer Sunkanmi and his crew  (they were later transferred) would be going around on bike harassing students that are using laptops and phone (most especially blackberry users) and it wasn't a funny case at all. Once you are seen carrying a laptop they assume you are a yahoo boy most especially make your lappy come get yahoo messager it is straight to the station. They didn't stop there, they went as far as harassing students with cars and na their own case come worse pass, if you are a student in Ago Iwoye and you were using a car you are a yahoo boy automatically, there is nothing you could or would say unless probably you call you parent to prove that they gave you the car from home. I was never really concerned with this because I don't have a car and I wasn't even using a blackberry but the story changed the day I was harassed and arrested.

To understand the story of my arrest let me tell you an incident that occurred some months before then. I was on a bike coming from limelight, the bike passed through Ololo, I came across my friends so I told the bike to stop. While I was trying to put my hand in my pocket to pay, the bike guy zoomed off, at first I thought it was because he knew me and he didn't want me to pay so I turned around to meet up with my friend and that was when I saw one of the most funny and shocking incident of my life. I was cornered by two policemen pointing machine guns at me and before I could say Jack Robinson one of them said “where your phone, where you phone”. Still dumbfounded I brought out my phone, showed it to them and when they saw the phone I was using they said “bad market they go” and they walked away. I couldn’t say a word because I didn't even understand what was happening, I moved forward trying to locate my friends that I had stop for only to realize they were hiding. After we met they asked what happened and I explained, to my surprise one of them said “na because of the short nika way you wear”, I just laughed because I couldn’t understand what my dressing had to do with them pointing machine guns at my face. It was later I discovered that according to the Ago Iwoye police short nika is an attire for yahoo boys and right there I just shook my head in dismay of what my beloved town was now turning to.

Now to the day I was arrested, I just got back from a the three weeks NYSC camp, I went to see one of my friend in the same Ololo and we decided to trek to the petrol station to get fuel, actually we trekked because we didn't have bike fees, we had exactly N350 and we had to buy fuel and oil. We began our trekking from Ololo and as we got to Mariam, two police bikes cornered us and before we knew what was happening we don reach abobi. We were both putting on short nika and my friend was using a blackberry so I am guessing you already know why they picked us up. At first I was still laughing because everything still seems like a movie to me and after going through my friend’s phone seen he had yahoo messager, the next thing I was hearing was “make una go bring money”. To cut the long story short we didn't leave that station till 6pm since past 12 that we were arrested, though we didn't pay anymore because stubbornly we made them understood the fact that we don't even have N600 not to talk of the 60,000 naira they were asking us to bring.

Let me just quickly stress this, I am not saying arresting yahoo boys is a bad thing neither I am in support of boys doing yahoo, I am more concerned about the numerous number of innocent people like me that they have harassed, arrested and probably collected money from all because they have a car, laptop, blackberry or even wearing a short nika.

Now what baffles me a lot is that this harassment still goes on in Ago Iwoye and the Oba hasn’t or isn’t doing anything about it. I am saying this because I went home during this Ileya period, around past seven in the evening I told my mum I was going to get something at Mariam and the next thing she said was “ma mu phone dani to ri awon olopa yen” meaning “don't go along with your phone because of those policemen”. I acted like I didn't understand why she said so, so I ask kilode maami?” what she said in a nutshell was the fact that the police are still harassing anybody using a blackberry phone and she complained bitterly saying everybody in Ago is tired of the situation and was wondering why the Kabiyesi hasn’t done anything about it. My mum said what annoys her most is the fact incident like this can’t happen in Oru (a neighbouring town), so why is it only in Ago Iwoye? There was one thing she said that I totally agree with and that one of the reasons why student now prefer to live in Oru or even Awa is because of this police harassment (among other things).

So I am openly asking the Oba of Ago Iwoye “why he hasn’t done anything to the police harassing innocent people on the street of Ago Iwoye? Why can’t I drive my car in peace not worrying that one policeman would stop me to ask me “where you take see money buy this car? Why can’t I take my laptop to school without been accused of doing yahoo? Whose job is it to arrest yahoo boys, police or Efcc? When would all these nonsense stop? Is it until every student in Ago Iwoye pack to Oru and Awa?

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