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#BN2018Epilogues: SARS Saved Tayo’s Mum

BellaNaija.com

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Remember when we asked you to send in essays discussing how 2018 was for you? Because, you know, writing can be the best therapy. And sharing your joy and pain and all the emotions you’ve felt through the year can only be a good thing.

Tayo Ishola learned in 2018 that people, even when they seem very trusting and helpful, can be very deceiving. But he wants everyone to stay on course and keep hope alive.

***

This is dedicated to my all-time wonder woman – my mom.

I’ve always known crime to skyrocket around the Christmas season, but it’s usually just another story or news headline until it hits close to home, literally.

I live in Florida, and my mother lives in Port Harcourt, and most of our communication happens via phone calls and WhatsApp messages. Sometime in the 2nd week of November, I tried to reach her for 3 days consecutively and her phone was switched off. She eventually called after the third day from a phone number I didn’t recognize.

The phone she used belonged to her employee at her boutique, let’s call him Fred. I asked her why she was calling from his phone and she explained she had been robbed of her purse and phone at gunpoint right inside of her boutique (Celebrity Style Planet) in Port Harcourt. I could hear pain and agony and my first response was to persuade her not to worry, I was going to send her some money for a new phone so she could take her mind off the trauma.

For days following the incident, she’d speak to me using Fred’s phone, until she got a new one. Still, she sounded nothing like the strong woman I knew. This was really getting to her, and I perceived she wasn’t telling me everything so I wouldn’t worry. After much argument and persuasion, I got her to speak to me about what the real issue was. “They took my car,” she blurted out, and I was mute for a few minutes. It hit me deep down to my bones, and I permitted myself to stand in her shoes for a moment. This hit her hard. I’ve known her to struggle for most of our lives; I know how many years she’d hopped on buses and saved to buy that car, I watched her resurrect two stores that burnt in the same day, I’ve watched her rebuild—and someone felt the need to forcefully take it from her. Together we would pray over the phone as she would call me using Fred’s cell phone, and for Fred I was thankful. He was there through it all to comfort her in my absence. Each time we’d talk, she would say that she was certain God was going to bring her car back. She prayed earnestly, and she swung into action by reporting the case to the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).

I had very little hope in the results they would get her, but she was persistent and was always in contact with someone from SARS. On December 17th, after a thorough investigation and what led to a shootout, they made an arrest. Unfortunately, the member of the gang who was driving her car was killed as he tried to escape. It hurts my soul to know that someone’s child, someone’s brother, someone’s friend ended life in this way, but he faced the consequences of his actions. Upon further investigation, Fred was a part of the operation the whole time and the guy that was killed had given Fred over 80 missed calls at one of the time periods my mom had his phone. She had only hired Fred a few weeks before the robbery; he had prayed with her during morning devotions, he’d been the best employee, but he came with a motive. It still feels like this all happened in a Nollywood movie, but this is our reality and the reality of many Nigerians.

I wrote all of this not only with the intent to just share an interesting story, but as an encouragement to every person living in Nigeria that has lost hope on its policymakers, and has been frustrated by all of the changes being made. Know that, still, “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” and the Nigeria of today and tomorrow will work out for your good. Just stay on course and be the change you desire, and keep the hope alive.

***

Read up on previous editions of BN 2018 Epilogues here and send in your essays to features(at)bellanaija(dot)com. Let us know all the twists and turns and successes 2018 came with. Send your mail with the title “2018 Epilogues.”

2 Comments

  1. Ephi

    December 22, 2018 at 12:05 am

    Wow!! I didn’t see that coming, Fred was part of the plot?! No wonder that Yoruba proverb says the rat outside cannot catch one without help from the rat inside.
    I am thankful for your Mum. Kudos to SARS as well.

  2. Baby joy

    December 22, 2018 at 10:13 am

    God bless you for sharing

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