It was a day of peace and relief for everyone in Bauchi State, over five hundred youths come out to surrender their weapons voluntarily in the presents of Police, Religion, traditional and community leaders aimed at erasing fear in the mind of people on the activities of banditry in the state
The development has brought a lot of relief to communities in Bauchi metropolis and around as residents now sleep with eyes close without fear of attack from political thugs who attacked their victims at will and any time of the day.
Speaking over the five hundred youths who willingly surrendered their weapons to Police and denounced their membership of thuggery, Chairman Bauchi State Youth for Peace and Unity Malam Rabiu Samba said they were once members of the deadly political thuggery in Bauchi popularly known as Sara-Suka meaning cut and Chuck with dangerous weapons, but they have now repent and become useful to the society. Samba said, Sara-Suka is not good for community development and youth must learn to leave in peace with one another in the communities and beyond.
He said most of the youths are married with children but they don’t sleep in their houses because of fear of the unknown but they have reconciled all the warying faction in all the communities and peace has returned.The Peace leader, called on community leaders, religion, police and those aggrieved with the youth banditry activities to forgive them of their sins since they have decided to repent and surrender their weapons voluntarily. On his own part, the community leader of Gwallaga Bauchi Alhaji Nadada Ahmadu lamented that that root cause of banditry among youth emanated from lack of skills, jobs, and lack of basic education while some of them have no vision at all.
He said for the youth to come voluntarily to denounced their membership of Sara-Suka that means peace have returned to our communities and government should intervene by rehabilitating and train them on various skills of their choice so that they can be better people in their communities
“Now killings and social vices would reduce because those who are doing it have repented and it is our earnest prayer that the changes have come to stay”.
In his remarks, one of the repentant Sara-Suka Ibrahim Kaka by God grace Sara-Suka has come to an end in Bauchi. “I am calling on all my brothers and friends to repent because Sara-Suka is not good and is taking us to nowhere”.
In his addressed, Commissioner of Police Bauchi State Command, CP Habu Sani said, as part of the action plan of Police, the Command sets out a goal that will give emphasis of not only arresting and prosecuting the Sara-Suka thugs and other criminals but to also investigate the root cause of the menace, so as take decisive action that will lead to total eradication of the problem once and for all.
He said the Command through coordinated Puff Adder Operation which involves all its Tactical and Operational Units successfully cracked down many notorious Sara-Suka gangs and arrested most of their members including those supplying them with dangerous drugs.
CP Sani said, the Command have reviewed it’s crime fighting strategy and came up with action plan that is more proactively inclined to preventive actions and community solving approach. “It is important to note that, since it’s implementation the strategy has been very effective as a lot of criminal activities in the state were checkmate and over five hundred (500) suspected criminals in connection with Sara-Suka thuggery, Armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes were arrested, large number of arms and ammunition and other dangerous weapons were equally recovered between the months of May and July, 2019.
According to him, most of the youths engaged in Sara-Suka thuggery are creative and have a lot of potentials I life if their current situation is well managed and the Command is not mindful if such potentials as such granted them the olive leaf and towed the carrot approach but with strict conditions to repent and be good citizens. “Among the repented youths about two hundred and ninety four of them are skilled in various trade hand jobs, thirty one are students while one hundred and seventy are unskilled. Finally the command calls on the youth to go and seek forgiveness of Almighty God, their parents and members of the public.”
A city overwhelmed by unusual means of transportion
They were supposed to relief pains for commuters pains on the roads. but in Lagos, the introduction of motorcycles, tricycles and small buses on the roads as means of transportation has become a source of pain to Lagosians. Not only are they reckless, they are also a threat to lives of other road users as OLUWATOSIN OMONIYI writes
hen a former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, was in office, his dream was that Lagos State would live up to its status as a Mega City. He planned to rid Lagos of motorcycles, commonly called Okada and commercial buses, otherwise called ‘Danfo’. Hence, Ambode embarked on the acquisition of high capacity buses, which he believed would especially ease the traffic situation in the state.
But exactly few months after his exit, the Lagos transportation system has virtually collapsed.
Noticeably nowadays, they are probably more commercial motorcycles, better known as Okada on Lagos roads than commercial vehicles.
Ambodes’s dream of a mass transit system with importation of hundreds of buses has remained that: a dream. Lagos residents, who were looking for relief from the menace of the tricycles, popularly known as Keke, got a rude shock when the matter became compounded; mini-buses-Suzuki, with capacity for only seven passengers also became the new addition to the nuisance on Lagos roads.
As a matter of fact, Okada means of transportation has even upgraded in outfit and operation. From the conventional ubiquitous Okada, now to uniform-corporately operated Okada called O’Pay ride. They are seen at every nooks and crane of Lagos city, in most cases creating nuisance on Lagos roads.
Although, in the present day Lagos, it has become faster and more convenient to ride both local Okada and corporate bike-O’Pay within the city because of the horrendous traffic that seems to have become a permanent feature of Lagos State, especially in this December.
There is a noticeable sudden surge of movements in Lagos, consequently making it difficult to drive or go out freely in the state. Hence, most residents resort to Okada that is not really held up by Lagos traffic.
With the endorsement of O’pay ride however, comes a subtle penetration of unauthorized local Okada. They have also gained ground like O’Pay ride, bold on the road and uncontrollable. Unfortunately, most of the local riders cannot and do not understand English. Even the known Hausa language, most of them do not understand and cannot speak! They take one-way, face and zoom past oncoming vehicles. While Okada and its attendant nuisance is gaining ground, Keke becomes unbearable; they get on motorists nerves with their recklessness and audacious driving. They also take one-way and order motorists to give them way, also not minding the safety of passersby by the roadside. They occupy available spaces on the roads, (that meant for passersby mostly) hurl abuses at motorists, who dare challenge them. As a matter of fact, they seem to have overpowered the sanity of the state and that of enforcement agencies that ought to instill discipline within the transport system. Indeed, Police, LASTMA officials and Traffic wardens turn blind eyes to their indiscipline; they rather take money (bribe) that has become a source of daily contribution for them from the commercial motorists. They (officials) wave and even throw banters with both Okada and Keke riders.
For a week observation in some parts of the city, from Ogba motor park (Iju/Ishaga park) through Excellence Hotel by Aguda/Ogba to Omole roundabout, through to Grammar school and to Ojodu Bus stop, it was recklessness galore by Okada, Keke and even Danfo buses.
Also, from Ikeja under Bridge through to LASUTH, Oba Akran, Ikeja-Along, Ojota 7up, New Telegraph observed the way and manner some of the officials were collecting money with impunity (ranging from N50 to N200) from commercial bus drivers and Okada riders, who ply one way.
Riders and drivers express no fear of being harassed by officials. Rather, sighting them from afar, the riders would simply zoom past and hail the traffic officers on duty. But the practice is mostly done when the day is going down- between 3pm and 4,30pm.
Okada and Keke have so flooded Lagos roads that the fear and reluctance Lagos residents had towards patronising them during the Babatunde Raji Fashola and Ambode regime has waned totally. Both passengers and riders now see it as ‘usual business.’ Going through the African Shrine street down to CBD lane, except for private vehicles, the common sight around this axis has become long line of Keke and green colour helmet and reflective jackets of O’pay rider.
At the Central Mosque, Alausa, it is the line of mini Suzuki buses and Keke- all painted in yellow colour. From LTV 8 through to Agidingbi, it is usually a tug of war among private vehicles, commercial buses, Keke and Okada. To most motorists that New Telegraph spoke to, they describe them as ‘annoying and misfit elements’ within the Lagos transport system.
A disgruntled Lagos civil servant urged government to declare state of emergency on Lagos State transportation. Twice, he had to drag Keke Marwa drivers to the Police Station when a Keke damaged his Toyota Corolla car from behind. “They are very rough and reckless. I believe they are also wicked. I had seen the reckless way he was driving; I slowed down for him, watched his direction, then drove past him to be at his front. I thought I was safe that way, suddenly, I heard a loud bash from behind. I almost lost control of the steering out of fear of what could have happened. Alas! It was the keke driver who recklessly bashed my left side break light while struggling with his fellow keke driver for passengers,”
James Amadi, a lawyer, told New Telegraph that he had a terrible experience that made him thought his vow of never to patronise them again would hold forth. “Truth is that, they have become necessary evils within the Lagos transport system due to the mad traffic in Lagos. For me not to miss appointments and clients, I park my car at a safe park and take O’pay ride. It no longer really makes sense to take Uber or Taxify round Lagos because they are also bind and hindered by the terrifying traffic,” he said.
Samson Ogunbunmi, a writer has come to prefer Okada to Keke and the mini bus, in the case of choosing between two evils. “I narrowly escaped a terrible accident where the driver of the Keke that I boarded almost rammed into a bus in front of us. As he was trying to maneuver, he swerved to the left and I nearly fell off the keke on motion. But thanks to God that I only had a minor head injury and not my life,” he narrated.
He added that, “it’s shocking to see that government seems perplexed with the way Keke, Okada and mini buses have taken over Lagos roads. The level of indiscipline nowadays in Lagos is higher than the past two regimes. I am highly disappointed.”
For Cornelius Olufunsho, the riders have become a law unto themselves. He said since he noticed that they ride recklessly, he took the decision to install an iron protector in front and back of his car. “If you observe, the kekes are made of iron and the irons can damage one’s vehicle. That way, I no longer bother or fear any keke or bike would hit me. If they do, it would be to their damage and loss,” he explained.
Omoyetunde Oguntade, a medical doctor, said Lagos has gone eight years backward by allowing Okada loose on the road to do and move as freely as they wish at the expense of the residents and other road users. She said further that while Okada has become a monster that of keke riders is more of terror scaring Lagos residents in the face. “They (Keke) are more of pains in the neck of motorists and commuters in Lagos. They drive without regards to traffic rules and care for other road users. Their confidence level failed to put into cognizance that their tricycle is made of three-tyres. There is so much breakdown of discipline in Lagos, especially within the transport system,” she said.
However, the Public Relation Officer, of the Ministry of Transportation, Bolanle Ogunlola told New Telegraph that the ministry is trying its best in managing them. “We are trying our best to control their operations and the menace of this alternative means of transportation, it’s a gradual process, we can’t do it at once. But we have never stopped controlling them, though difficult,” she said. Ogunlola added that the problem started with the last administration that puts restriction on enforcement of law on them. She said the riders come from neighbouring countries like Benin, Ghana, Niger, to Lagos in particular do business because they see the customer urge and because it is a big city. She said that they come in large numbers in trailers around 1am by weekends with their bikes, they do what like, what we can do like. She stressed that they can’t do it at once because the riders come almost on daily basis along with their bikes in the middle of the night. “The last time we apprehended and took them to Oshodi Head Office of the TaskForce, there was uproar against the government for discriminating against them. We had to release them and look for better ways of enforcing the rules and regulations on them. Even at that, the riders don’t stay where we restrict them, they do as they like. So, there is nothing really that we can do about them than to be managing them as instructed by the new administration,” she said.
Betting: A new alternative job for youths
Betting has, no doubt, come to stay. It has especially become a lifestyle for most youths in Lagos State, with its enticing reward of quick and easy money. AUGUSTA OTTI and CHEKWUBE CHUKWUMA write
oth young and older ones have come to embrace betting business as a normal routine way of getting income for sustenance, while others spend the little they have on bets.
In the areas of Lagos populated with low income earners such as Orile, Ijora, Ajegunle and its environs, New Telegraph found it to be a lucrative business and a source of livelihood for some residents, mostly youths.
The betting companies such as Bet9ja, Bet King, Merry Bet offer coupons for soccer games, virtual games and zoom. New Telegraph observed that the soccer game which involves staking on the odds of various football team seem to be most popular among the youth; they predict the outcome of the English league, European competition and the German league among others in order to win money.
On the other hand, Baba Ijebu is a lotto where the players pick a number and the person with the lucky number becomes the winner.
With the economic recession, many of the youths have resorted to betting away their youthful age to the extent that gambling businesses and football betting have become a full time job for some of them as they spend their time judiciously monitoring their stakes.
New Telegraph observed that these betting centres are abundant in the aforementioned areas. As a matter of fact, it is almost impossible to pass two streets without coming across any “Baba Ijebu” outlet. Youths between the ages of 18 and 40, including adults, troop in and out of these gambling centres on daily basis.
Kingsley Ibeh, a Bet9ja player, told New Telegraph that, “winning is hard. I have won few times but I play because it just a game and reward for passion of football. It is not something I play every time. There are various things you can bet on, you can even predict the outcome of the US election and stake on it.
“Whenever I’m with my phone, I just like to try it because it’s cheap and I might win. You can stake with as low as N100. Once you stake N100, you will accumulate so many games to get a substantial amount of money like N10, 000 but more often than not, you will lose. People who stake with higher amounts are likely to win more than those who stake with lower amounts.”
He added that, “there are no jobs for the youth. Betting could be profitable which one could use to maintain oneself. I have used money from Bet9ja to pay my rent more than four times. Before these bets came out, there was lotto. So, it’s not something new. The main problem the youth have is playing the virtual game; I won’t advice anyone to play it. The virtual game is a fast betting which you just play and you see your result. The game is on every three minutes. If you win, they pay immediately. If you lose, you lose. Because the game is always on, you keep playing but it is not so with the soccer games which you have to wait for a whole day to know the result.”
In a chat with Oduyoye Tolani, a Bet9ja agent in Ijora, she told New Telegraph that betting is gamble, so people win and lose, though the numbers of those who lose are more than those who win and the number of times they win. Describing her job, she said, “I play the game for people; they stake depending on the odds. I’m having challenges working here because most of these guys who come to bet are touts. Sometimes, they just come and start shouting at me but I’m getting used to it now.”
She added that she wouldn’t advise anyone she cares about to start betting, saying that, “it’s a very dangerous game. It’s like a spirit. When you start playing it, you won’t want to go out from there. You would want to finish all the money with you and you would be getting angry because you are losing. But it is my job; I can’t advice people not play it. I would just do it for them.”
Chidiebere Izuogu, a regular Bet9ja player in Orile, said he will stop playing the game if he wins up to N1million. In his words, “I’m still playing this game because I have not won big money from it. There was one time I was supposed to win N1.7million. I would have stopped betting if I had won that money.”
He added that he wouldn’t consider any money he wins from betting free or easy money because he too has lost countless times to Bet9ja.
Speaking on if he would advise his loved ones to engage in the game, he retorted that he wouldn’t. He added, “I wouldn’t advise someone I know or care about to start betting because it sets people back. Why I’m playing this is because I don’t have anyone to help me, like sending me to school, provide for my basic needs and the rest. You can’t go and ask someone for money in this present economy to give you money and the person will just give it to you.
“The category of game I would not even attempted is the virtual game, popularly called ‘baby’. It is fast money. So, you keep playing and playing till your pocket dries out and it’s when your money finishes that your eyes becomes clear. I call that game ‘spirit’. It’s not good at all. Bet9ja soccer game is better because you have to wait almost the whole day before you can know if you won or lost before deciding to play again”.
He also said that, “I work and bet but some people have used Bet9ja as their jobs, they don’t work. They are there from morning till night and the game these kind of people play is not Bet9ja but Baby.”
Happiness Gideon, said she hates all forms of gambling. She said: “My elder brother bets. When he loses, which is most of the time, he comes home irritable and angry, shouting at the slightest provocation. He even goes as far as destroying things at sight!”
Wasiu Olaiya said he would not engage in betting first because his religion (Islam) forbids it and because it is naturally a game of risk which is not good. He added that people who bet are likely to become lazy. He said, “people who bet do not value hard work because they are convinced that whatever they could get from working hard, they could get it with just one bet and this is why some of the youths have become lazy.”
Coronation revocation: 21 Obas return to trenches
hen a former Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, constituted a panel of inquiry to review the 1957 Ibadan Chieftaincy Law and create room for installation of more lesser Obas to be accompanying the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso 1, little did he know that he was about to stir an hornet’s nest.
Although the decision of Justice Boade Akintunde-led review panel was not wholly implemented as recommended, Ajimobi, who many observers felt merely wanted to diminish the status of the Olubadan as the paramount Oba of Ibadanland, in order to favour some of his loyalists, who by the arrangement, would climb the Olubadan ladder faster, said he was only implementing what the past government had proposed.
Ajimobi hurriedly installed and coronated 21 High Chiefs and Baales with beaded crowns and coronets on an unusual Sunday evening, August 27th, 2017.
Many people, including the Olubadan kicked and condemned the action but the self-acclaimed “Constituted Authority” called the bluff of everybody. Elevation and coronation of Obas was traditionally done on Friday or Saturday, but Ajimobi chose the fateful Sunday to frustrate any court action that might be filed on Monday 28th to restrain him and his government from taking the action.
Since the coronation, the affairs of the Olubadan-in-Council had hung on tenterhooks as the usual meetings could not be held. The resentment was heightened when the High Chiefs led by the Otun Olubadan (next in rank to the Olubadan), Oba Lekan Balogun, alleged that the Olubadan was desecrating the system of the palace by allowing his wives to sit with them at the Council meeting, calling the shots over them.
Described as laudable as it was akin to the development in some other communities in other states where many lesser chiefs do accompany their paramount leader to ceremonial occasions, the Olubadan and the Osi Olubadan, High Chief Rasidi Ladoja (former Oyo State Governor), however saw the review and eventual coronation of 21 Obas as a move to decimate the consenting power of Olubadan and rupture the age-long peaceful tradition of Ibadanland. Ladoja and Balogun had initially kicked against the move of Ajimobi and went to court but Balogun eventually withdrew from the litigation, saying that he had seen that Ajimobi meant well with the review.
Ladoja and the Olubadan instituted court actions against the review and in 2018, Justice Olajumoke Aiki, in a landmark judgment, nullified the review and declared the coronation as “null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
Dissatisfied with the decision, Ajimobi and his government appealed same and it was still pending as at the time he left office on May 29, 2019.
The series of reconciliation meetings convened by stakeholders did not yield positive result as many observers and analysts insisted that Ajimobi’s action was only intended to rupture the most enviable peaceful transitional system of Obaship in the whole of the Yorubaland.
As an Ibadan man, who came in on the promise to right every wrong that Ajimobi and his All Progressives Congress (APC) party might have made, the incumbent Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) injected an armistice by influencing the government’s withdrawal of the case from the Appeal Court.
The government approached the Court of Appeal with terms of settlement and the latter on August 23 this year referred parties in the controversial coronation of the kings to a lower court.
The High Chiefs and the other Obas however kicked against the settlement and withdrawal of the appeal as its result might strip them of their already won status of Oba within their various communities. Their proverbial claim was that their heads were shaved in their absence as their opinion and consent were not sought before the referral of the case to a lower court.
Led by High Chief Balogun, though, they claimed they were not averse to peace, they however insisted they were not going to drop their beaded crowns or title of Oba so long as the Olubadan also did not drop his new appellation of ‘Imperial Majesty’ . When few months ago they went to the Popoyemoja Palace of the Olubadan to pay obeisance and they did not put on their beaded crowns, Olubadan went to town, claiming that they had eventually agreed to drop their carton-made crowns (Ade Paali) and like a prodigal son, had come back home remorseful.
The Obas again kicked the following day, insisting that wearing of crown was not something that was done anyhow but periodically as the occasion demanded.
To them, not wearing it on the visit when they all prostrated for the Olubadan did not remove their status of Oba but was just a mark of reverence for the Imperial Majesty.
Fifty-three months after they were elevated and controversially coronated, a State High Court Judge, Justice A. Aderemi, on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 set aside all gazettes formalising the royal status of the 21 High Chiefs and Baales in Ibadanland.
In granting the terms of settlement jointly filed by the State Government and the Olubadan of Ibadanland, and High Chief Rashidi Ladoja, (as claimants), Justice Aderemi said since the parties had met and agreed, he was left with no option than to set aside the gazette.
The judgment of Justice Aderemi read thus; “that all the gazettes affecting the chieftaincy laws of Ibadan land particularly gazette Nos.14 Vol.42 of August 23, 2017;15 Vol 42of August 24, 2017 and 3 Vol 43 of March 29, 2018 and the subsequent elevation of High Chiefs and Baales in Ibadanland as Obas during the pendency of this suit be and are hereby set aside.
“That the right to wear beaded crowns and coronets granted by the state government during the pendency of the suit, are hereby revoked.
“That the first defendant shall take steps to reconcile all parties involved in the chieftaincy matters to foster unity and harmony in the protection of the tradition of Ibadan land as relates to the chieftaincy laws of Ibadan land,” the Judge ruled.
In court were the claimant’s counsel, Michael Lana and the State Director of Civil Litigation, Mr. Laolu Ogunniran, among others.
In the belief that the protracted face off was finally doused and that the jettisoned Ibadan Council of Obas meetings which had been truncated since would be reconvened, the affected Obas, two days later, specifically, Thursday November 21, kicked against the court judgment that stripped them of their crowns, describing the court process as shaving the head of a person in his absence.
As the direct beneficiaries of the law that promoted them from High Chiefs and Baales to Obas on August 27, 2017, they said the out-of-court settlement option which the judgment was premised on was without their inputs and there was no way they could accept such.
At the meeting of the Obas at Mapo Hall, headed by Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Sen. Lekan Balogun, it was stated that the government had no business setting aside the gazettes as such action did not show commitment to governance.
According to the Obas: “Those behind the judgment did not consult the interest of Ibadanland. We, as Obas and representatives of the people reject the judgment and we are going to fight it all the through legal and legitimate means. They want to destabilise Ibadanland and we will not allow them”.
The Obas further disclosed that the issue at hand was beyond Ibadanland and the conspiracy against the promoted Ibadan Obas which the judgment was, could not and should not be allowed against the entire state, which the gazette of 2018 and the latest one captured.
They said they had briefed their lawyer, who would give the next directive according to law, reiterating however that their rejection of the verdict would not in any way affect their relationships with the paramount ruler of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1. They described the Olubadan as father of all who commands their respect and unalloyed loyalty and support.
They also said they would be waiting for the Olubadan to convey the Olubadan-in-Council meeting, saying, “we are not quarrelling with our father, Oba Adetunji. He should let our meetings go on regularly.”
The Olubadan has since remained unmoved, insisting that the last judgment stands and that everyone affected must return to status quo.
Whether Governor Seyi Makinde’s intervention would eventually yield a lasting solution or not is still being watched by all stakeholders.
Restoring Tafawa Balewa LG to its status
ollowing incessant crisis that rocked Tafawa Balewa Headquarters in Bauchi State in the past four years, the National President of Zaar Development Association (ZDA), Engineer Isuwa Galla, has disclosed that normalcy has returned to the area and they were now living peaceful with all the tribes in their various communities.
He explained that despite efforts by some outsiders to frustrate the peaceful coexistence amongst different ethno-religious groups of the area, the local government is now enjoying peace amongst diverse groups in the area.
The ZDA President, who stated this in an interview with New Telegraph in Bauchi, maintained that there was no problem with the Sayawa people and other tribes in the affected area.
So far, they were able to achieve peace through the peace initiative of Speaker, eight Assembly members of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; late Senator Ali Wakili and Honourable Aminu Tukur.
The ZDA President alleged that the ethno-religious skirmishes that used to occur in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in the past were influenced by outsiders who were bent to see the fall of the local government, which eventually led to relocation of the local government to Bununu village.
Galla said: “Following the peace process initiated by the former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, all the various ethnic groups in Tafawa Balewa have mended fences, hence the peaceful coexistence been experienced in the area now.”
Galla added that the presence of different ethnic groups during 2019 Lemp Zaar annual festival in Tafawa Balewa was an attestation that fences have been mended and the different people have resolved to live peacefully with one another.
He said: “We were able to share a common view on how to work out modalities for sustainable peace and development in the land. In fact, the aim has been achieved. You know Tafawa Balewa to say, once you mention the name, there is impression that is registered in the minds of the people, and that is, it is a trouble prone area. But when you find out, you discover that those troubles that have happened in the past were externally influenced.”
“The people of Tafawa Balewa have never gone somewhere to launch any attack on anybody. No! The trouble used to come from different quarters. Some outsiders used to invade the serene community and cause havoc on them. But with the peace process started by the former Dogara, which we keyed into and the one Barrister Kefas Magaji is championing now, I think a lasting peace has come to stay in such a way that we will never witness any uprising in that area again.”
Galla, who said his community had been marginalised in the area of infrastructural development by the immediate past administration expressed optimism that with Senator Bala Mohammed as the Governor of Bauchi State, the common resources of the state will be equitably distributed.
The ZDA president, who applauded the last administration for maintaining peace in the state however, scored them very low in the area of developmental projects in his area.
“In the fours years of the last administration in the state, you hardly see any developmental project captured in the state budget to be cited in Tafawa Balewa or Bogoro.” He said.
He added that apart from some of the developmental projects that were attracted to the three local governments of Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro by the former Speaker, only few pockets of projects were recorded in some of those areas.
“Since normalcy has returned, the state government should restore the local government headquarters to where it was constitutionally located before it’s relocation as a result of crises.
“The relocation of Tafawa Balewa Local Government headquarters from its constitutionally designed area to Bununu which has been described as unconstitutional by many groups and individuals needs to be reconsidered in the overall interest of the people of the local government.” Galla said.
The President also appealed to Governor Bala Mohammed to actualize the long waiting Zaar Chiefdom as gazetted by the successive administrations in the state.
“About the issue of Zaar Chiefdom, you know, many people have their traditional institution; many people have their rulers and leaders. His Royal Highness, the Emir of Bauchi is the Chairman of Bauchi Council of Traditional Rulers and the Zaar Chiefdom is still under the council of chiefs. So, if given the chiefdom, we will really appreciate it because that is what we have been agitating for.
“So, I think in the interest of justice, fairness, for lasting development, progress, sense of belonging and to balance everything, Sayawa Chiefdom should be actualised now.”
He recalled that several commissions and committees have recommended the actualisation of Zaar Chiefdom in Tafawa Balewa.
O’Pay battling against disgruntled riders
This may not be the best of times for owners of O’pay Motorcycle Company, the new alternative commercial motorcycle transport in Lagos- in place of the ubiquitous Okada. The difference between O’pay and the conventional Okada is that there are guiding rules and regulations for O’pay. While O’pay riders are careful and operate a corporate system, the conventional Okada is its usual rough and dirty form.
However, the company is facing some storm with its employees-the riders.
The motorcycle riders, who embarked on a warning strike action, October 28, alleged inhumane treatment meted out to them by their employers and the ACCOMORAN (motorcycle Union body) members who are treating them like animals.
The grievances against the company includes N2,000 remittance fee demanded by the company’s account daily after which they still have to subscribe for data services, maintain the motorcycle, call the customers assigned to them by the company with their money and update to the latest version of the App every two weeks.
But their annoyance is that the money the company charges is too high to cover all these bills as the fuel they burn to cover the long distance has even taken the bulk of the little money the company gives them.
A rider, Mudasiru Kehinde, told New Telegraph that, “the company is short-changing us as the money the company pays us is too low and we are still made to pay a huge N2,000 to them on daily basis as remittance fee. From the little money we make, we buy petrol, maintain the motorcycle, subscribe for data services, and call credit to contact the customers and the company pays us very little.”
Kehinde explained that from Ikeja to Ikorodu, the company pays them N200, “from Ikeja to Ajah, they give us a miserly N500. How much is this money? It is so ridiculous,” he said.
Another rider, Folorunsho Ahmed, said his grievances is that the company lacks consistency and they appear dubious, because the company brought in local Okada riders to join them and the motorcycle Union saw this as an opportunity to extort money from them. “Since they joined the local riders with us, we have to pay for tickets at every local government Bus stops to these Union officials and the sad thing is that one can’t use a ticket for the whole of Lagos State as you have to pay for different tickets across all the Local Government Bus stops you pass by, and how much are we paid? And these Union officials beat us mercilessly before forcing us to pay for the tickets. So, we complained about this to our company and they told us it’s our business; that we should resolve it amongst ourselves and later we were promised that they will refund the tickets money we paid but up till now, we haven’t been paid a dime and the situation hasn’t changed.”
Another rider who pleaded anonymity said the company lied to them in the case of the health insurance promised them in the agreement form. He said it is yet to be met and there is no provision for vacation or leave.
“Anytime anyone is sick or is being faced by an unexpected situation and can’t avoid not coming to work, he will still have to pay for all the times he missed. The O’pay Company lacks human feelings; they are only concerned about the profit, not sensitive towards the welfare of the riders,” he said.
The strike, which actually started on Monday, October 28, is set to last until the company meets up to their demands. The riders also complained about the seed of dis-unionism the company is planting amongst them, as the company allegedly blocked the WhatsApp platform created for the riders where they air opinions and come together to solve their problems.
Mr. Abubakar Saliu, another rider, while speaking to New Telegraph, lamented on the low welfare package of the company. He mentioned the case of a sick man who was bedridden for two weeks due to appendicitis complications and he was told to pay up the whole remittal fee of the days he was absent at work.
“In case a rider is sick, he will still have to repay the remittals for the days he missed, as these people only care for the profits they make and not about the welfare of the riders. When a rider is involved in an accident, the company will only come to pick up the motorcycle and leave the rider to his problem, without thinking of how to help the rider and to inquire about his well being. After recovery, you still have to pay for all the times you missed and inability to pay up will end you up in the police net. The equipment being sold to us is very expensive compared to what is being sold outside. For example, the head net sold to us for N1,000 is sold outside for N700. So we are tired of these entire tyrannical acts and that is why we will continue this strike until our demands are met. All efforts to get reaction from the company proved abortive.
Lack of organisation was written all over the company-not coordinated at all. When New Telegraph visited, it observed that the company had many Human Resources managers (HR) but none seemed confident enough to represent the company, speak to New Telegraph and address the situation as fear of responsibility was the order of the day, making the “numerous HRs” to be shifting the task to one another. After hours of being pushed around by the HRs, a seemingly qualified HR who is in charge of media and publicity offered to address the situation and asked for questions which were sent to him via email.
But up till the time the story was filed, there was no response from him neither did he pick his calls.
Eyesores called Lagos public cemeteries
ublic cemeteries in Lagos State are in deplorable, despicable and nauseating conditions, underscoring a total lack of respect for both the living and the dead in Nigeria’s chaotic economic capital.
A detailed investigation on the state of Lagos cemeteries, undertaken by correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) showed that Local Government authorities have failed woefully to maintain cemeteries, despite huge revenues generated from the burial grounds by the councils.
The poor shapes of cemeteries at Lagos Mainland, Ikoyi, Epe and Badagry show that people buried at the places may never rest in peace as envisaged by families of the dead.
At the Atan Cemetery in Yaba, classified as Nigeria’s oldest cemetery, it is a sorry tale of neglect, decay and repulsive smell at the public section of the cemetery, which is also overtaken by weeds with graves caving in.
A check showed that the public section of the cemetery, built in 1868 has been contending with congestion with little or no more spaces for burial of new corpses.
But the story is different at the private section of the cemetery, where some workers have been deployed to make the environment to look good.
A worker at the cemetery, who identified herself simply as Alhaja Korede, told NAN that the private section of the cemetery was maintained because it was costing a lot to bury corpses in the facility.
She explained that burying corpses at the public section of the cemetery was far cheaper, noting that families were paying various sums to bury their loved ones, depending on their choices.
”A single chamber vault at the private section is N250, 000 while the double goes for N500, 00. Three-chamber vault goes for N600,000 while the special three-chamber vault with gate, tiling and engraving of the deceased’s particulars goes for one million naira.”
The same scenario obtains at the Ikoyi Cemetery, managed by the Ikoyi Obalende Local Council Development Area. Ikoyi is home to the old rich in Lagos State.
Weeds and bushes have covered most of the grave sites, while some of the graves have collapsed, due to a lack of care and maintenance.
NAN correspondents noticed that graves were placed too close to each other, owing to inadequacy of spaces.
It was learnt that the cost of burying dead people at the cemetery, ranges from N300, 000 to one million naira.
Ita Marun Cemetery,Epe
”Burying one or two dead bodies would cost you the same amount, which is N950,000 while burying in a family vault of three would cost over a million.
”If you want to bury more than three bodies. It will cost even more and payments must be made a week before the due date so that the necessary preparations can be made.
”The price was recently increased from N750, 000 because the cost of maintaining the cemetery is high. So the increase was made to cover the overhead and others.”
At the Ikoyi Vaults and Gardens, the private section was well maintained, with burying cost ranging from N4 million to N10million, depending on the land size and design of the vault.
At the Ita-Marun Cemetery in Epe, east of Lagos, it is the same story of rot and neglect as the cemetery has been covered by bushes.
Most graves at the cemetery have collapsed while slabs have broken down, due to poor maintenance.
A resident, Mr Opeyemi Ibrahim, told NAN that hoodlums had turned the cemetery into their hideouts.
”The cemetery has been overgrown by bushes and hoodlums hide there to smoke hemp and do other nefarious activities.
”We are calling on the council to do something about the bad state of the cemetery.”
The Cemetery Manager, Mr Ayodele Adeola, told NAN that the bad state of the cemetery was as a result of poor funding.
He said the Epe Local Government Council was facing funding challenges and that the problem affected the management of the cemetery.
”The problem is funding. Once the money is available all these problems will vanish,” he said.
Giving the costs of burying dead people at the facility, Adeola said that burial at the private section of the cemetery, which is better maintained, costs between N150,000 to N300,000 while burial in the public section costs between N50,000 to N70,000.
The manager said that congestion was also a major issue at the cemetery, noting that corpses were buried close to each other or on top of each other because of space constraints.
In Badagry, NAN observed that the Ite-Olorisa Cemetery, one of the major cemeteries in the ancient city, has been taken over by weeds and bushes.
Some of the graves have collapsed while neglect could be seen everywhere at the cemetery.
A resident, Mr Sunday Avoseh, said that criminals were always taking refuge at the dilapidated cemetery and causing problems.
He revealed that hoodlums and fortune seekers were always taking advantage of the darkness at the cemetery to exhume corpses for ritual purposes.
”The state of the cemetery is a disgrace to Badagry town. This is not a befitting resting place.
”We are urging the Badagry Local Government, led by Mr Segun Onilude, to clear the bushes and put the cemetery in good shape,” he said.
NAN correspondents observed, however, that the Christian and Muslim cemeteries, located in different parts of the town are well maintained.
Dr Sunday Hunyinbo, Co-ordinator of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Badagry, said the Christian cemetery was managed by the council before CAN took over the management for proper maintenance.
”CAN, under my supervision, took over the christian cemetery in 2009 because we believe that where our beloved brethren are resting should be kept clean.
”Before, it was bushy. We met the local government people and we agreed on 70/30 per cent on the management of the place.
”Today, the place is very neat because we employed gardeners , who are taking care of the facility.”
Commenting on the state of the ”Ite-Olorisa” cemetery, the spokesman of the Badagry Local Government Council, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, said there were plans to hand over the facility to a contractor for proper management.
”We will hand over the cemetery to a contractor soon to address all the issues.”
Adetunji said the Christian and Moslem cemeteries had been handed over to the leaderships of the two religions for better management.
The story is however, different at Ikorodu as the Ojokoro cemetery in the area is well maintained as a result of a recent rehabilitation by the council .
NAN observed that the environment of the cemetery a fence had been erected by the council to provide security.
A resident ,Mr Salawudeen Shokunbi ,who resides very close to the cemetery thanked the council for the renovation.
”I just have to commend the LG Chairman for the renovation and reconstruction of the cemetery.
”In fact,it seemed like it had been totally neglected until the council came to the rescue.
”At a point ,the cemetery was a hide out for criminals owing to the neglect apart from fact that people were dumping refuse and defecating there .
”Now,the story is different;we thank God and the council for the intervention ”,he said.
Another resident Mrs Aderonke Shittu said fencing of the cemetery had helped to banish the fears some people living close to the cemeteries used to have .
She applauded the council for improving the environment of the facility and improving the standard of things there in.
”The cemetery was an open place before and if any of your family members were coming to visit you ,they were always afraid of coming in the night due to the proximity of your house to the cemetery.
”Now that the place has been fenced,that is no more fear”she said.
Another resident, Mrs Aderonke Shittu, said that fencing of the cemetery had helped to remove fear among people living close to the facility.
She applauded the council for improving the cemetery and uplifting the standard of things there in.
Speaking to NAN, the Chairman of the Ikorodu Local Government Council, Mr Wasiu Adesina, appealed to residents to make good use of facilities provided at the cemetery.
He said the council would employ more workers to ensure proper maintenance of the cemetery at all times.
”Proper maintenance of the cemetery remains the priority of this administration.
”Rehabilitation is not completed yet. After everything has been put in place, we will employ more workers for proper maintenance,” Adesina said.
Bolaji writes for News Agency of Nigeria(NAN)
60 years after: A new head for Oshodi lineage
shodi is a popular name among the Yorubas, considering the spread in almost all the states in the South West. It was gathered that Oshodi family exists in almost all the states in the South West-Ondo, Osun, Ogun, to be precise coupled with the firm existence of Oshodi community in Lagos.
To the people of Egboro land, in Ijebujesa, Oriade local government area of Osun state, Oshodi lineage is the home of warriors whose roles and efforts at ensuring peaceful and conducive atmosphere for the people of their communities cannot be overemphasised.
The burden in effectiveness and performance of the significant roles according to the people of Ijebujesa lies in the hand of the Head of Oshodi lineage known as Oshodi of Egboro land. He traditionally works in accord with Elegboro of Ijebujesa, the traditional monarch of the town for security of lives and properties of the people and its environ.
For over 60 years, the position of Oshodi of Egboro land has been vacant leaving the traditional roles abated. Realising the implication of this, the traditional monarch of the community, His Royal Majesty Oba (Engr) Moses Oluwafemi Agunsoye 11, the Elegboro of Ijebujesa went down the memory lane and revive the old history from sinking into extinction.
It was gathered that Oba Agunsoye, made traditional consultation with the elders to deliberate on installation and occupant of the position. Friday 25th of October, history was said to be brought back to limelight in the community with emergence of Aare (Dr)Adekunle Ishola Oluwatise as the 3rd- Oshodi of Egboro land. The event came up at Elegboro palace Ijebujesa, Osun state. At the installation ceremony, Oba Agunsoye charged the new Head of Oshodi to be up and doing in discharging his traditional duties in the community. Oluwatise, the new Head of Oshodi is also the president of Agbekoya Reformed Society (ARS) in the South West. Oba Agunsoye urged the new 3rd-Oshodi Egboro land to use his prestigious influence for the benefit of Ijebujesa land. “Oshodi is one big family in the entire South West, spread across the six states.
“In Egboro land, they are historical warriors, I urged the new Head of the lineage to consolidate on the traditional achievements of his predecessors,” he said.
Congratulating the new family Head, Oba Agunsoye advised the 3rd-Oshodi to use his influence to develop and uplift Oshodi family like the one in Lagos and also develop his alma matter -St Matthew primary school in Ijebujesa.
The 3rd-Oshodi received the traditional title and the Chieftaincy crown from His Royal Majesty Oba Ademuyiwa Adedeji Areola ,Arije Lori Agbara 3rd, Aringbajo of Igbajo Ijesha Erinmo of Oriade local government of Osun state .
The title and Chieftaincy crown was bestowed on the 3rd-Oshodi under the supervision of Oba Agunsoye. In his speech, the 3rd-Oshodi gave the assurance that his time would be of immense benefit to the development of Oshodi family and the community in general.
Recounting the historical vacant of the position, Oluwatise said; “The position had been vacant for the past 60 years. The history is almost going into extinction; Ijebujesa monarch discovered this and rose to action, put heads together with the elders in the community in order not to jeorpadise the traditional heritage of Egboro land. “The coronation today has restored and reawakened the important historical tradition there by bringing the historical title into the limelight. Oshodi lineage is highly significant among Yorubas in the South West. “We are everywhere in Yorubaland, Lagos, Osun, Ondo. We are from a single lineage; this coronation has brought back vividness in to the lineage.
While chatting with newsmen during his visit in Ado Ekiti, capital city of Ekiti state, the 3rd-Oshodi of Egboro land stated that; “When leadership position of a lineage became vacant for six decades the implications fall on the existence and activities of the family members wherever they might be on earth, the historical lineage has almost gone into extinction to the extent that forefathers /elders who really know about the historical background of the lineage are passing away.
“Considering this implications, the revered monarch, swung into action to ensure that the coronation of 3rd-Oshodi of Egboro land comes into reality .
“Nevertheless, Ijebu Jesha under the headship of Oba Agunsoye is working seriously on the recovery of historical past of the lineage for record purpose and benefit of the next generation
The new 3rd Oshodi appreciated the Ijebujesa monarch on his doggedness in reactivating the activities and coronation of the Head of the lineage in the community
“Oba Agunsoye is worthy of applaud with what he has done in the installation of the 3rd Oshodi in Ijebu Jesha. I commend the monarch and all meaningful traditional stakeholders in this regard for figured me out as the most qualified to hold the position of the Head of Oshodi Lineage in Egboroland, Ijebu Jesha.
“The traditional title is an important and significant one considering the prominent roles it plays especially on security in the community.
“Oshodi of Egboro land is a warrior, dutifully bound to the protection of peoples’ lives and properties. He’s a traditionalist to the core. The role is enormous, it lies on protection of customs and tradition, ensuring peaceful and conducive atmosphere for residents, mediator between his people and the ancestor with the full support of the monarch.”
The 3rd-Oshodi also described the monarch as a lover of culture and tradition who places the well being of his subjects at heart. “We appreciate God and the efforts of the monarch for the development and historical upliftment being witnessed in Ijebu Jesha, with the installation of the Head of Oshodi lineage again after several years, tremendous developments await the community,” he believed.
Burden of living in Ijora Badia
hile some people pray and rejoice for the rainy season, the residents of Ijora Badia dread the season as it means temporary eviction notice from their homes.
The living condition of the residents on streets like Olodan, Olojowun, Makojunola, Mosadolorun, Ayedetola, Oladihun amongst others in Ijora Badia are actually subhuman.
There are no motorable roads leading to these streets, hence the impossibility of conveying basic needs such as portable water and waste disposal trucks.
Walking through the streets, it is a sorry sight to see fellow humans cohabiting with dirt, insects, reptiles and rodents. The swampy streets of Ijora have been erroneously filled with over two feet depth worth of dirt to create a solid ground for the residents to tread upon. This doesn’t count as anything as the rain still defiles their feeble attempt at creating a pathway, forcing itself into their homes.
Many of the houses are made of wood, only few are made of blocks. The residents have also perfected the skill of hopping from stones to stones, planks to planks as staircase to their destinations. They arrange stones and bags of cement filled with sand in strategic positions in the dirty water and hop on them in and out of their houses.
Walking through the streets of Ijora, the children who are very much at home with their environment were seen playing in the black, smelling canal water . Their playing grounds are on the heaps of dirt. Although, it seemed the residents have made peace with their environment and have decided to go about their daily activities as though all is well, they still carry the scars of horrific experiences of living in the area.
At the sight of New Telegraph’s presence, they were more than eager to voice their displeasure and the traumas living in such community have caused them.
Mrs Nofisat Ojifini was at the verge of tears as she narrated how she had to pack up her property and run with her children to her father’s house anytime the rain comes. In her one-room apartment, the bed was specially constructed to be raised very high above the ground, the two-seater chair and small sized fridge was mounted on a 4feet high bench all in a bid to prevent the rain from damaging them. To sit on the chair, one needs a stool to serve as a step to get to the chair.
Sitting with her children on the bare cemented floor of their one room apartment, Ojifini said that she is tired of running helter-skelter with her children in search of temporary accommodation.
She lamented that they are being terrorised by mosquitoes and some weird looking creatures that creep out from the water into their homes.
Their houses are built with little or no spaces apart and are generously hoisted on filth. When the rain comes, the residents flee to neighboring communities like Orile, Amukoko and Mosafunejo to squat with friends or families.
The water, in a bid to flow into the damaged system-5-Canal, forces itself into their houses and would not dry up until two days after and that is if another rain does not follow up almost immediately.
There is a thick smell of filth engulfing the environment as churches and mosques were seen at almost every turn. The community can be said to be overpopulated, many of the residents live in one room apartments, and people who live in two-bedroom apartments are seen as the “well-to-do” among them.
A widow, Mrs. Vivian Iretekhai, who owns a small grinding shop on Olojowon Street told New Telegraph that she was struggling with her meager income to train her children in school.
“My first child is already serving while the other is in still in the university, she said”.
On the rough unpainted walls of her shop are the lines of where the last rain covered, almost half of the small room. She explained that, “the last rain that fell made me carry my grinding machine to the junction. I stayed there for three days. When I came back, another rain fell. I had to run back. Just a little rain and everywhere will be flooded.
“I am always treating malaria and typhoid. There is a green insect-like animal that comes out of the water. It moves like earthworm and once it touches your body, it sucks your blood. When you come out of the water, your leg becomes white as if you just walked through ashes. Unless you use clean water, soap and sponge to scrub it, it won’t go away. Sometimes, the water is salty; you will see many dead earthworms floating on it. Other times, it just the type that itches so bad.
“I live in Orile. I just rented this shop for business. The machine I use for grinding yam flour (Elubo) has been parked in a safe place; I don’t want the rain to spoil it. So, I no longer grind yam flour and other dried foods. When I bought the grinding machine, it was N50, 000 but now it sells for N100,000 plus,” she said.
Ijora Badia is well known as one of the major slums in Lagos that has a high rate of vices. It is a common sight to see young boys idle, puffing cigarettes at every corner of the streets when they should be working or in school. These young boys engage in street fights as sport betting and a decoy to steal amongst other atrocities they perpetuate; although, nothing new about this practice of theirs, it’s part of their lifestyles.
New Telegraph discovered that these boys form gangs in their street of residence and declare themselves opponents with another street and engage in fierce battle which could sometimes lead to loss of lives.
Speaking to Mr. James Ugwuanyi, a resident, he said that poverty is a huge factor in the vices in the community. He explained that some of the families in the area could barely afford three-square-meal a day. Consequently, these could lead their children to engage in anything that will put food on their tables.
“The younger boys start out by serving as errand boys to the older ones for peanuts. Before you know it, the younger ones are hardened and they go out to become gang leaders and the cycle just keeps playing over and over again. There are lots of bright destinies which have been swallowed up in this community,” he revealed.
Teenage mothers are not a rare sight in the community at all. Some of them strap babies to their backs while dragging another by the hand. Oluchi Vincent, a teenage mother and resident of Mosadolorun street, said that she is tired of living in the community.
“The government should please come to our rescue. We are dying here. When I dress up and go out, people will think I’m coming from one posh place like Ajah or Victoria Island. They won’t know that I’m coming out of dirty water. Malaria drug is now like food to us because not one week passes by without one of us treating malaria.”
On close examination of Vincent’s baby, there were red swollen bites on his body. She complained that the things on her baby’s body are from the water. She added that she was always treating one ailment or the other for the boy who is barely a-year -old.
Titilayo David, who lives in a make shift plank house with six other family members says if the government are ready to work on the canal, they are willing to cooperate and move out. The floor was covered with pieces of worn out rug of different colours; the house is just beside the canal and there is no provision for a toilet. They throw their feaces into the canal alongside other wastes. The stench oozing out from the canal into their house leaves one to wonder how they have survived in such condition. Mrs David said that malaria is the disease they suffer most.
Cecilia Oguntunde, also a resident, said anytime she gets ill, she treats herself by going to a “chemist” to get treated even though there is a Primary Health Centre available.
She added: “I just go to treat myself with my money not because there is a primary health care. I have never really been ill to an extent that requires going to a hospital.”
Mrs Funmilayo Nosiru told New Telegraph of how her activities were brought to a halt by the rain, adding that it means a forced holiday for her children as they cannot go to school. She emphasised that are no schools close by and the ones that are close are private schools which she can’t afford. She added that whenever it rains, the water gets as far as her stomach length and the water itches so bad at times she feels like pulling out her skin.
Explaining that her case is that of the available being the desirable, she said: “Many landlords have ran away from this environment leaving behind their houses. I also desire to leave the moment I have enough money to do so.
“Malaria is the sickness we suffer most in this area. Every day, I take my child to the hospital because of malaria. For over 13 years that I have been living here, there have not been any substantial efforts from the government to help better this place,” she lamented.
Most of the people living very close to the canal on plank constructed houses are landlords, who claim that if they abandon their lands because of the canal, some other people will claim it.
Omowumi James, a seamstress, expressed her doubt saying that, “people have always been coming to ask us questions and to snap pictures and still, we haven’t seen any improvement. They have always been promising and failing us.”
Showing her feet to New Telegraph, she said the water smells so bad and after walking in it, they start having sores on their legs.
She added that the Primary Health Centre is functional and that is where she goes when she falls ill.
The Vice Principal of Hope Model College on Olojowon Street, Mr Korede Tunde, told New Telegraph that, one of the major reasons they experience flooding is because of the System-5-canal, which is not properly channeled. “The filth in the canal prevents the water from flowing. The flood gets to our school when it rains. The primary school, St Francis, that was formerly behind us has been forced to move out because of the floods.
“The last time the canal was cleared was in the first tenure of former Governor Babatunde Fashola. The canal was just cleared and nothing more. This place was not always like this but with the cancelation of the monthly environmental exercise, it gave the people more guts to continue throwing their dirt into the canal, then starts filling up and when it rains, there is no channel for it to flow through. So, it has to force itself into peoples’ houses and shops. The people have a share of the blame but the government has the larger share. Dropping the blame game, the government just needs to construct the roads on this Ijora Badia axis and channel the canal to flow smoothly into the lagoon. Once this is done, getting the people to comply with government’s directives on waste disposal wouldn’t be a big deal and even if it does, the government can always sanction or fine defaulters.” He said.
Speaking with the Baale of the community, Chief T.A Igbalaiye, Baale Olojowun Oke Oja, he explained that the System-5-canal which is the major problem of the community is a Lagos State government project. He said that series of reports have been written to the government.
“The canal has been like this for a very long time. The fault is also from our people because anytime a little rain drops, they bring out their dirt for the rain to flush away and it ends up coming back to them.
“If there was continuity of projects in the government, the System-5-canal would have been completed.”
He finally appealed to the current government to come to the rescue of his people.
All efforts to reach to the local government chairman proved abortive, as at the time of report.
A day out with Orphanage children
he children did not even know that they were playing host to their non biological parents. The occasion was the birthday ceremony organised by inmates of the orphanage home at the Onitsha Red Cross Society Centre GRA Onitsha for their father and the Anambra State chairman of the Nigerian Red cross society Prof. Peter Kachi.
The climax of the first ever event East of Niger of the humanitarian service was witnessed by a cross section of people from all works of life. Many people in South East however gathered to celebrate the birthday party with tears of joy, mixed feelings, and love. Those who had not been close to the inmate homes were moved emotionally to make open confession and resolution to join in the up keep of the children of circumstance. Tears also flowed when they moved to present their birth day gifts to the chief celebrant, Professor Peter Kachi and Chief Mrs. Ezinne Beatrice Okafor, a 67-year-old woman who also celebrated with the children. Speaking one after the other to New Telegraph, most guests described the occasion as worthy and passionate event. Chief Chike Belonwu, a business mogul based in Onitsha said, “I am a next door neighbour to these children and God has blessed me. I am excited with what I saw today.”
“Unfortunately, I have never set my feet in this compound to know what is happening here. Today, I have learnt a lot here that humanitarian services are duty for all. I promised my God after seeing these children today that every week, I will supply them 50 bags of water. I am overwhelmed with what the management of this home is doing.”
“It is a worthy gesture and I commend the State chairman of the Red Cross Society and his team in Anambra State for their good humanitarian services. I pray that God will always reward them.”
“It is also not enough bringing food items and other materials to them but a time like this, is very important in their lives.”
The beauty of the occasion was that some other children were invited with their parents to share love and humility with their less privilege counterparts at the home. The joy of the children and the guests know no bound as they watch them dance freely, drink and dine together. Meanwhile, some of the children thought the celebration was for the Christmas, (Chimdimma not real name) a 5-year-old said I am happy for the Christmas. I ate rice, drank Bobo, I say thank you my Aunty.”
In an interview with journalists, the Professor said he decided to celebrate his birthday with the children because he is their father and mother. “Here is my constituency.
All I know is charitable. I therefore charge the guests here to be charity particularly to these less privileged children.”
Asked about their hope for the future Professor Kachi said they have brighter future. They are all in school and they go to the best schools around. They are well taken care of and the public are doing wonderfully well to give them the best training any one can afford anywhere. It is obvious that God has been very good to me. I went to school from a poor background entered college from elementary four and today I am professor and God gave me this gift of humanity and I will die being a humanitarian,” he vowed. I had also escaped death severally not because I have security but because of the love of God unto my life. All I want to advice Nigerians and all well meaning people of this country is to do what is right, be your brother’s keeper, and serve the people with love and humanity,” he preached.
High point of the event was the inspection of the guard of honour and parade by the members of the Nigerian Red Cross Society as well as cultural dance displayed by the Odoakpu Catholic Parish women. Award and exchange of gift to the celebrants added colour to the occasion.
11 years after: Ibadan’s house of horror resurface
Another house of horror resurfaces in Ibadan
hen on Friday, February 22, 2008 the Oyo Police Command under Mr. Udom Ekpoudom as Commissioner uncovered an illegal detention camp in Ojoo area of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, where at least 60 inmates were said to have been tortured to death and buried secretly in the preceding two years, it was believed that an end had come to the nefarious operation.
Eleven years after, unfortunately, the same centre which was being run by late Sheik Abdulrasheed Akangbe Olore but now being operated by Khalifa Alfa Ismail Olore came on the spotlight carrying on the same activities where people were being treated like slaves or common criminals. The discovery of the illegal detention centre was unearthed on Monday, November 4, 2019 when an inmate who escaped from another illegal centre in Ibadan hinted the police.
Record has it that the late Sheik was treating mad people and rehabilitating them before his death many years ago. The mentally deranged being treated and rehabilitated were used to being tied down with fetters in order to prevent their escape from the Islamic correctional centre.
Though considered as illegal because the centre was not registered with the government, the centre was reported to have been in existence for ages to the knowledge of the people within the Ojoo community. Many parents were voluntarily taking their wayward and drug addicted children to the Islamic centre for correctional measures and rehabilitation. Such parents even pay some amount of money to the operator for the upkeep of their children.
When the incumbent Commissioner of Police, Mr. Shina Olukolu led his men to the locus in quo, where 259 inmates were rescued, he said that a 17-year-old escapee from the holding facility in another part of Ibadan hinted the police about the development, with some of the victims recounting their gory and blood-cuddling experiences in the torture camp.
While addressing journalists, the angry Olukolu said; “the young man said they were being maltreated; they were not being well-fed; they were being treated like slaves and they were engaged in forced labour, while deaths of some of them were not reported to anybody.
“On the basis of that information, the police decided to check it out. We got to Owode, Apata. By the time we got there, they have evacuated that facility. But from the surroundings, we knew that there were people in that place earlier than the time we arrived.
“However, the young man informed the police that there is another detention facility and that is where we are now at Oloore, Ojoo area of Ibadan. Actually, when the police got here, we discovered that young men, young women are being kept in captivity in a dungeon-like situation. As a matter of fact, man’s inhumanity to man is being manifested in this environment. And we are not happy about the situation.
“So, we got across to the state government and state government officials are around. They are here with a view of ensuring that some of these young men that are kept against their will are liberated and allowed to be in a position where they can talk to themselves and take care of themselves.
“Definitely, this area will be secured and the police will be able to do further investigation, further search and anyone at all, who is found culpable will definitely be arrested, investigated and prosecuted diligently to serve as a warning to others, who may want to operate such houses that serve as illegal detention centres”, the police boss said.
Having been rescued, the police moved the inmates who looked so haggard, skinny and sickly to the rehabilitation camp at Sanyo area of Ibadan where they were being treated. Some of them were even handed over to their parents and guardians.
Reacting to the ugly discovery, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Faosat Sanni stated that “after due profiling of the rescued inmates by the relevant State government agency and security agencies, over two hundred rescued inmates were handed over to their relatives and right individuals with an agreement not to return them to such centers again.”
She urged parents and guardians to always seek government assistance in correcting societal ills rather than subjecting their children to the care of unregistered correctional centers, as according to her, “Cases like this and many societal ills are better handled by social workers in the Ministry. Parents and guardians should always consult the Ministry for corrections and rehabilitation of their wards in a better way rather than subjecting them to torture,” she added.
Sanni stressed that government has continue to ensure that adequate food, water and conveniences were being provided for the evacuate es as about 23 of them were still receiving treatment at the Adeoyo State Hospital due to their critical conditions.
When Governor Makinde visited the scene, he was miffed that such heinous and inhuman operation could be going on in such a community without anyone informing security agents, noting that it was wrong for certain individuals to have used a mosque as a cover up for crime and criminalities. He said it was an eyesore and quite unbelievable that such facility could be operating in such an open and exposed area of the capital city.
Poised to put a top to the operation of the illegal centre, Makinde said, “What we have seen is something that we all have to condemn and this shouldn’t be happening in a modern environment. You can’t use a mosque as façade to perpetrate this kind of evil. Yes we have marked the entire structure for demolition. We have here the Ministry of Lands and Urban Planning and Ministry of Health and Justice. The government will do everything that is humanly possible to ensure that this kind of thing is stamped out in our environment.
“But, there are houses around here, and these are people. They see something strange and ideally, they should say something because this kind of things couldn’t have been going on without all of these people, particularly residents around here, not knowing about it. So, they should have reported this thing to the authorities and maybe we would have unravelled this a long time ago.
“And also, we want to encourage our people, the government, the parents and even family members that if you need to rehabilitate members of your family that are not behaving well, we have government institutions that can do that and we are trying to rehabilitate those places for the people of Oyo state.
“So, whatever is necessary, looking at the laws of our land regarding this kind of thing, we will ensure, we get this place away from those people doing this kind of things within the ambit of the law. And also you have the law enforcement agencies here. All those involved are going to be prosecuted to the full extent of our law.
“For the victims, we have mobi lized the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion and the Social Welfare agencies there. First we need to have immediate palliative for them and then we have to look at the deeper issues and how to resettle them and reunite them with their families. We are not going to leave them alone at this point”, the governor said.
While addressing the victims at the temporary resettlement camp at Sanyo area, Makinde assured the people that his government was on the matter to ensure that those behind the illegal operations of the facility were prosecuted according to the law, disclosing that 22 of the victims were currently receiving medical attention at Adeoyo Hospital as a result of their critical health condition.
One of the rescued inmates who decided to conceal his identity revealed how they were being maltreated and tortured by their master. He said, “My parents bought foodstuffs and many items for me when they took me there, but they didn’t allow me to use any of them. They also collected the pocket money my mother gave me.
“We don’t eat until 2pm every day. They would give us three spoons of rice with poorly-prepared stew; no meat or fish. If we were lucky, we would have the same thing in the evening but most times, they would not give us anything again until 2pm the following day.
“They would bring us out in the morning to pray till 2pm when they would give us food. After eating, they would take us back to our rooms and we would not come out again until the next morning. Whenever my parents visited me, they (the clerics) stayed beside me so that I would not expose what I was going through. If I did, they would beat me after my parents left.
“Relations of one of us at the camp came to pick him. They were asked to bring a discharge fee. When they returned with the money, they said it was the parents who brought him that they wanted to see, whereas the parents had died.
“About 28 persons were crammed into a medium-sized room, with many sleeping on bare floor while few ‘lucky ones’ slept on mats. Many people were infected with bacteria which the camp operators didn’t bother to treat.
“I was in the same room with Abeeb and Sikiru. Abeeb also came from Mushin while Sikiru was from Sagamu. They are in their mid-20s. Females live in separate rooms and some of them already gave birth there. They were impregnated at the centre.
“Four people died while I was there. One of them was my friend and roommate, Wahab. He was sick and they didn’t allow his parents to take him away. He battled malaria for weeks without being treated. It was only paracetamol that they gave him.
“He died at night inside the room. He was from Ijebu-Ode. He was a tall and slim young man. They called his parents to carry his corpse. There was also somewhere inside the compound where they buried bodies.
We fetched water for the clerics and washed their clothes. If you were a new inmate, they would lock you up for one week. Throughout the time I was there, they didn’t teach me anything new in the Qur’an apart from what I had known before getting there.
“It is an offence for two persons to talk. If they catch us, they would accuse us of planning to escape and give us 40 strokes of the cane. I was beaten several times for an offence as minor as making a noise.
“Everybody was expecting that at least they would give us enough food on Eid celebration, but to my surprise, there was no difference from what we normally ate. They did not allow us to go for Eid prayer because they knew many people would run away.
One of the victims’ mother who simply identified herself as Aduni, explained that a family friend recommended the centre to them when they got tired of their son’s recalcitrant behaviour.
“They (the centre operators) charged us N150,000 the day we took him there and we were given a list of items he needed to bring, including clothes, foodstuffs, provisions, mat, soap, toothpaste- all which I bought. We paid N50,000.
“I went there once or twice in a month to check on him. I later discovered that they made it look like an Arabic school. Most of the persons I saw that first day looked pale. I was worried and complained to the person that took us there but he assured me that my child would be safe. He said the school also took care of mentally-ill people.
“They told us that over 400 persons lived there. I also saw exotic cars of people who were on a visit. Two weeks after, I went to visit him and took some foodstuffs along. When I got there, I asked for my son, unknown to me that he was among the people outside. He had changed. He looked lean and shabbily dressed. I asked him what was wrong but he did not say anything because one of the clerics was with us. Apart from the foodstuffs I took there, they collected N27,000 for his monthly feeding.
“I had to beg my husband on his behalf for him to come back home. By the time we brought him back home, neighbours could not recognise him again. He looked thin and emaciated. We paid N105,000 before they released him. They didn’t know we wanted to pick him that day. He was seriously sick when he got back home. I regretted my decision. I thank God he is becoming a changed person now with constant counselling,” she explained.
When he was being interviewed however, the Khalifa, Ismail Olore, denied the allegation of torture, illegal operation and deaths of some of the inmates, saying, “We teach Quran here and we rehabilitate cocaine users, Indian hemp smokers and those with mental illness. Through Quoranic lessons, many of them get rehabilitated and we release them to their parents.
“We only beat those that escape from the centre whenever they were brought back. Only two inmates died after they were released to their parents on account of illness. The parents of these inmates brought them by themselves”, he said.
Meanwhile, whole some Islamic clerics and Muslims have been kicking against the decision of Governor Makinde to demolish the illegal correctional entre, some rights activists have commended the government for the decision, saying that it was the most reasonable step to nip such inhuman operation in the bud.
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