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COVID-19 Encounters: Residents of Alimosho relish night in hell fire

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Bonfire at Church Bus stop, Idimu Road

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! The phone rang.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! It rang again. There was no response.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! It rang the third time.

Bode Osunkunle, a resident of Victory Estate, Ejigbo, gave it a lengthy consideration and then called a third time. There was a pause while the line crackled.

“Are you home, now?” Osunkunle asked the Secretary of Victory Estate Community Development Association (CDA).

“Yes, I’m home, Mr. Osunkunle. I hope nothing,” the voice in the other end replied.

“Sir, it seems these One Million Boys are on our street. They are hitting every gate with iron,” Osunkunle told the CDA secretary.

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“I will get across to you. Let me find out what is happening,” he answered Osunkunle.

The time was 11: 15 pm. But there was no call from him until at about 2:15am when Osunkunle called back.

“Sorry,” the CDA secretary said. “Mr. Osunkunle, it was the youths of our estate calling out residents to join them in securing the streets.”

For the minutes that “I waited for him to call back, it was as if I was in hell. I was just looking at my wife and my little daughter. There was no money with me in the house and very little foodstuff at home; I didn’t know what to do if these people came and demanded for either money or foodstuff,” he told The Guardian.

“I was just praying to God for Him to send these boys away, whoever they were. It was really frightening for the family, and not until I heard from our CDA secretary, I was not myself. I went to the toilet three times when I heard serious banging on our gate and gunshots everywhere. But I didn’t let my wife know,” he said. “On Fadu Avenue, Ile Iwe and the surrounding, it was barking dogs and high-wired fences that prevented these hoodlums from entering some compounds.”

Deji Oduwole, an engineer with Mitsulift Nigeria Limited, who resides on Peace Estate, Idimu, said, “I had a tough night. From 9:00pm, we were already out. The blazing fire everywhere was as if we were flaring gas. We were just burning tyres. Nobody was interested in the effect of the fire on the roads.”

It was really a hellish night on April 13, 2020, when gangaster took over streets of Lagos after another experiment in neighbouring Ogun State. Two states that are currently locked down because of Coronavirus pandemic.

Every action pointed to hell. But the only difference is that it was mainly people who were not guilty that were the victim of the night’s melody in hell.

There was overwhelming complaint by residents over how to hoodlums have been dispossessing them of their valuables day and night.

From Shasha to Orisunbare, Ejigbo to Idimu, everywhere was hot. Landlords and male tenants suddenly became emergency security guards. It was same thing everywhere.

It’s worth recalling the phrase, “All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall” in The Three Musketeers, written in the 19th century by Alexandre Dumas. This message is that we are together in COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to Oluwatobi Lawson, a resident of Governor Road, Ikotun, “the boys are back. They are not smiling. They may have been beaten back, but the vents of the few days have pointed out that if hunger and coronavirus cannot keep people at home, the One Million have succeeded in doing so.”

He said, “a lot of boys are out there without what to eat. No food, no money. They depend on the money they get from Naira Bet, Baba Ijebu, Sure Bet and all forms of lotto to survive. When you lock everywhere down, what provision have you made for them to survive? Is it the palliative that you send to where they are not needed?”

Lawson asked, “what of the boys at the park that you stopped from collecting money? Have you asked how they are surviving? We need to look at all these. People are suffering and there has to be a human face to the lockdown not the politics that we have now.”

An opinion also raised by Paul Eghieye, a resident of Sylva Estate, Idimu. He said, “in facing a pandemic of this magnitude, coming together, and seeking connection is more important than ever before. More than ever do we need one another.”

He said, “pandemics have no geographical borders and cultural divide, both the poor, the rich and ethnic group should be considered. Pandemics are chaotic and traumatic life-altering events that overwhelmingly touch every aspect of human life , government has to think seriously about moral, ethical, philosophical and religious matters that have been altered.”

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