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We All Failed Her by …Olamide Ayeni

We All Failed Her by …Olamide Ayeni

The sad news I read yesterday was of the death of a 14 years old girl who was gang raped by some street boys and then murdered in cold blood. The assailants used a stone to smash her head possibly to stop her from confessing and calling them out.

The guys scaled the fence of the girl’s home knowing fully well that her parents were out to work and her siblings were away on holiday. They came in, dismantled the burglary proof and raped her before killing her.

A neighbor who saw them scaling the fence out tried to open the gate to check on the girl but they noticed that she wasn’t responding to bangs and calls so she alerted her mother and the mother came, opened the gate with her key, met her daughter in her last state.

She said while trying to rush her to the hospital, she asked her what happened and the girl said “Mummy, the boys I told you about did this” and she died.

The mother then went further to say her daughter, who was a boarding student, had just returned home after the break and she went out to buy something but came back telling her that some boys were making advances at her and she rebuffed them. Apparently, those guys came back to rape and murder here.

I had a mental breakdown yesterday reading this story. More so, I am easily traumatized when I see kids going through ordeals that they are helpless about. I do not know why but my strongest fear has always been not been able to help my kids. It’s a terrible place to be as a mother.

I have lived my life as a spoilt brat. I know it and even though my siblings have repeatedly thrown it at my face, I know I have been spoilt with love, care and affection. I love my father. My father occupies a significant place in my heart. He taught me parenting and fatherhood and I just don’t know how else to do it different.

You see, when I was growing up, I had stupid boys in the street coming to say trash and I am volcanic with words. I am a terrible fighter. When I fight you with words, there are chances you will contemplate suicide. I used to be very ruthless. So when those guys come around to say thrash about wanting to date me, I would have finished them with my words well, maybe like this beautiful girl. Then I will proceed to tell my father once he resumes from work.

….And my father, my knight in shining armor, will ask if I know the guys and their homes and of course, i always do know and…. My father will go straight to their homes, their cult, their parents, their shrines and finish the fight. Oh my God. My father has NEVER failed me. My father will tell the parents they will go to jail with their son. My father doesn’t take prisoners. He’s known to always shoot trespassers on target and shoot survivors again. See, some people just don’t want to have issues with my father. He fights blind. When Fayose dragged him to Tribunal, he won Fayose.

Growing up, I had the mentality that my father was going to be always there. I fought people and threatened them with my father. I was so sure of his support. He never failed. When I was in the University, one imbalanced staff said I was not going to graduate. I told my father and he asked if I know his name and his town. I said Yes. Gave him his name and his town and that was it. Apparently, my father traced his parent and told them that if they don’t want to be troubled over their son, they should tell him to leave his daughter.

It got to my head and one day, I told my co-tenant I was going to report him to my father. I was in Lagos and my father was in Ekiti and Emmanuel burst out laughing. He said he would have beaten me hard before my father comes…The guy is a sick guy sha. That was when reality dawned on me that I cannot be using my father to threaten people again… By then, I was well over 27years.

You see, I am sad and pained that this young lady death was avoidable. I have seen parents take the meek route these days. Well, maybe I am just naturally a protector. I love my kids and I naturally fight for them.

When that girl told the parent, I expect them to go right there and meet these guys. You don’t have to go to fight. Your appearance alone means “Guys, I identify you already and I can get your ass locked up”. You can go there and even tell them how she is their younger one and how they are the big brother and even charge them to help you protect her then, go ahead to maybe tip them. There are no strict rules to engaging street urchins. You can plead or fight just let wisdom guide you but to outrightly ignore the words of your child is not going to help matter. Bullies are caged when we stand up to them and not when we keep quiet.

Another part is our attitude to social crisis. We are too nonchalant and selfish. You know, it’s just sad how we have evolved over time. This is crazy. It’s not going to help anyone. Staying on your own and just maintaining our status quo will not help us. You build a house, construct a prison-like fence and buy a SUV and you have become your own local government. When you drive out, you see kids who are supposed to be in school walking around and you think it’s none of your business as long as your kids are in school. You don’t realize that life works in circle. There is always a link. Those kids of yours you are training are going to contend with those drop-out kids with no values for life. It’s going to be grooming the prey for the predator. Those kids, who are armed robbers, will still come around to shoot the responsible kids we are raising. That is how it works and that is one reason why we should not be selfish about success. Don’t think when you train your child; you have no business with Iya Mulika’s son that is a tout. That tout can be the end of your responsible child or yourself.

…And the silence of people…in the face of this nonsense…. I had moved to my former place after marriage and I met strange rules. The security men were touts, who smoked Indian hemp publicly and harass inhabitants of the estate. Don’t let me sugarcoat it, the inhabitants were living in fear of the same security people they employed. I understand that they only respect some landlords who they know and others are at their mercy. They have raped, beaten, stabbed and done so many vices at will….

One day…they tried to mess with my gentle husband. That guy, that will never drag issue with you… he saw me off to work very early and while coming back, they refused to open the estate gate and even went ahead to put torch in his face and scream at him. In the evening, around 10pm, he came to meet me and escort me home and they started again… And he was just telling me about the morning harassment and I was shocked to hear it. So I told him I was settling the issue that night. I started knocking on all the landlords’ gates. I met people who said, Ooh that is the norm here, we think you are new, those guys are like that, they will never change and even landlords were telling their own ordeal. One said her daughter was almost raped. Another said they machete her daughter. And one finally said what I wanted to hear. It’s a clique thing. Some landlords control them and support them to do this. I knew all along.

I got to the chairman’s house, and I was made to understand he was the leader of the clique by everyone I met. So I told him all what happened and said, caution your boys. The next time they try to do shit, I will show the side of me that is shitty. He said he was going to talk to them but that night, those guys messed up again. I had told my hubby to stay and I was going to come home alone. It was dark and around 10:30pm. I was entering and they stopped me. They greeted me and I didn’t answer and that was it. Apparently they were high on hemp and they threatened to slap me. You see, my voice is works in decibels; my voice can rise to 100km. I was arguing with them and telling them they cannot. Passersby were telling me to leave and go cos they are capable of raping, old men were telling me to go away and just go and I was like no way. Finally, one man pulled me away and said my daughter “I am a landlord here and those guys almost raped my daughter. I know what they can do and that is why I am dragging you away”

That morning, I wrote my petition to the Inspector General of Police. You see, obe of the leader of the pack was thought to be a former Inspector General of Police and people were always according him stupid respect. I wrote my petition to the IGP, copied the Military and took one to Military headquarters through the help of a colleague, then wrote another one to the NDLEA and said the landlords are stocking Indian hemps in the estate. It was messy. It was so messy that Tosin started fearing for my life. I said me? All of you will run away from this estate. You never know who came to rent house.

And.. NDLEA came, picked them up, I had made arrangement with Military to pick them up and take them to Bonny Camp. You see that Saturday, the landlords held the meeting in my house. I handed them their on petition copy too. It was almost fourteen pages. They thought I was one big madam like that. When they came and I came out, the ex IG said, “we are looking for Mrs Olamide Babajide”. I said she is the one standing before you. The man said “Y-O-U”. I said Yes. He couldn’t hide his feelings. He openly said “I was expecting to see a big woman more like a lawyer” and I smiled. That was how they sacked the boys and no Harm came to me. My landlady started using Ma to call me sef.

You see, I noticed that here, everyone just want to play safe. We are afraid of dying. Of this and that and we have put up with all the shitty nonsense and that is why our leaders are taking us for a ride.

Those guys who killed the young girl have been known in the street. You see them every day when you drive out but you think it’s not in your place to report them or raise concern over their activities. You say, as long as they are not hurting me. You know what; they will hurt you if you don’t clip their wings.

Just the same way I wrote about the Okada man that was beaten mercilessly by two armed policemen in mufti and people were looking. I mean, Nigerians were looking until I came to scene and risked my life to save him from their grip. And while the men were questioning me, I had picked a phone to call a fake “Major General” and they ran away leaving the guy. Some of my friends reading this were there at the scene. Afterwards, people now started coming asking how I did it and saying trash about the Police force and I am like… You were here before I came and you couldn’t do anything. I risked my own life to pull that guy out of the dungeon.

We can’t afford to ignore social vices. It will come back to haunt and hurt us. It’s our joint effort to make our country safe.

Wow… Did I just write this epistle? I think I write more when I am pissed. That girl didn’t deserve to die. We all failed her.

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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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