Just like the prodding of a respected younger professional colleague moved me to take a look at the Ibadan house of horror last week, so also has the intervention of a senior professional colleague that I owe a lot of respect moved me to re-visit the issue. The younger colleague’s experience, of how he, a passer-by, was swooped upon and dragged into the Olore compound, was his own personal encounter in 1984/85 as a secondary school student; not a story he heard from another person. Today, this person is a highly-placed official of a Federal Government agency in Abuja.
According to him, he could have perished inside the Olore compound but for providence. That incident alone raises the spectre of possible sinister happenings within the Olore compound. It also calls to question the modus operandi of the owners and or operators of the centre. We must diligently and painstakingly dig to the bottom of the pot to ensure that kidnappings, abductions, and ritual murders have not been added to the wares that Olore peddles. I still stand by this observation.
The other side of the story as brilliantly (as usual) marshalled by my senior professional colleague is that as touching and troubling as the Olore debacle is, we must be careful not to throw the baby away with the bath water. He followed with a recount of what he described as the “other side” or, better still, the good side, of Olore. He maintained that not just Olore but such other traditional rehab centres all over have an illustrious array of alumni that showcases their positive contributions to society. The sensibilities of Muslims should also be taken into consideration in that they are usually wary to send their deviants to government rehab centres for fear they could get converted to Christianity. Were Olore that devilish, its neighbours would have since cried out. He named a few Muslims organisations and personalities that would have descended heavily on Olore were it known to be dragging the name of Islam in the mud. He agreed, however, that government needs to wade in to set Olore on proper footing by seeing to it that some practices that may be archaic and obsolete are reformed or done away with. The above also represents the position of many other callers who expressed an opinion on this vexed issue.
One particular point made by my senior was the case of chaining of the inmates, which drew the ire of many. He said this must be the practice, especially with those with mental illness. He mentioned the legendary case of “Alimi yo’pa-yo’pa” who was beheaded by a mental patient brought to him for treatment. I suspect this must be the same as Aladokun of Ikirun. The story is told of an encounter Alimi had with a policeman at Osogbo. Alimi was arrested. He begged the policeman to let him off. The policeman refused and held Alimi’s hand. Alimi shrugged off his hand and, pronto, his whole arm detached from its socket and the policeman was holding it! Spectacle! Horror! Panic!
In 1977, I was an auxiliary teacher at Osogbo Grammar school. I went off to work one day but before I returned, my room had been burgled. My friend, Prince Jide Adenle (where are you?) took me to several places, one of such being Aladokun in Ikirun. The man made a charm for me in a ram’s horn with cobra’s teeth perching gingerly on top (“afose”) with incantations I must recite day and night. I did as directed but the thief was never found. It was at Aladokun’s compound that I saw how mental patients were chained and their legs put in stork. When, decades later, I became born-again and read how Paul and Silas’s legs were put in the stocks (Acts 16: 24), I understood it perfectly. It was one of Aladokun’s mental patients that he thought had sufficiently recovered and was now his assistant that reportedly beheaded him one day.
As a pastor, I have had two close encounters with someone with bi-polar disorder. Each time he unravelled, oh my God! Five hefty men could not pin him down. On one occasion he used his palm to shatter water cistern. A friend, who is a psychiatric nurse in the US, narrowly escaped death in the hands of a mental patient everyone thought had recovered enough to be left to roam about. One day, he just got hold of a heavy object and smashed this lady on the hand. As she crashed to the floor, he made to finish her off but for the swift intervention of other hospital workers close by. The lady is yet to fully recover.
It is, without doubt, a risky venture taking care of mental patients. They hear voices. They take orders from extra-terrestrial forces. They are as strong as the biblical mad-man of Gadara. But, then, modern practices elsewhere must now be replicated here. Good, that everyone is agreed Olore needs help. Olore also needs scrutiny. Rather than frighten Makinde off doing that, he must be assisted to do a clinically good job. Olore must submit itself to the searchlight if it has nothing to hide. That centre has been in the news for the wrong reasons for too long. Nothing must be swept under the carpet this time around. Keep whatever is good in Olore but yank off the bad. And the time to do that is now!
RE: Makinde and Ibadan’s recurring house of horror
To say the least, the happenings in our polity today and the various sad stories of torture of innocent Nigerians at different rehabilitation centres accidentally discovered in a couple of states neither bemused nor astonished Nigerians anymore. Figuratively, the entire country has been turned into a huge HORROR HOUSE by the rulership.
The manifestations are obvious: Deceit emanating from the corridors of power has made the citizenry speechless because most Nigerians seldom believe the information coming from the government. For example, a Federal Minister of Agriculture “debunked” the shortage of food supply and the concomitant high cost of foodstuffs under this dispensation when most Nigerians are dying of hunger.
Penultimate week, the incumbent Federal Minister of Works and Housing made verbal gaffe about the state of Nigerian roads which, to his self-judgment, are not as bad as they are being portrayed. He thinks the rest of us are fools, including those who have had nasty experiences on the “death-traps” called roads.
Or how logical is the imbroglio between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Nigeria Police Force over which of the two entities have the statutory mandate to recruit new police constables, when the law over such matters is as clear as daylight? Unfortunately, there is conspiracy of silence between the office of the Attorney-General and the Presidency over which institution ought to conduct the recruitment exercise. The powers-that-be are playing the ostrich in support of a favoured kinsman (?)
Still trending is the sacking of 35 aides of the vice president, ostensibly to reduce the cost of governance, while similar action was not extended to the aides of the president to make it all-encompassing and a fair public decision. We hear the nauseating pronouncement that “the president can rule from anywhere” whereas our legal juggernauts had given a contrary opinion, based on what the constitution says on such matters in the recent past!
Back to the Ibadan house of horror. It will be a litmus test for Gov. Seyi Makinde, whether he has the courage and political will to walk his talk by making sure the dreaded mosque, where the maltreatment of innocent human beings took place, is pulled down with immediate effect. Or does he want a tar on his reputation as ACTION GOVERNOR (my emphasis) if he reneges? If he fails to do the needful as you rightly pointed out, he will expose himself to public odium and ridicule and be seen henceforth as someone who “talks before he thinks.” He will be viewed as a spineless politician who blows hot (in the heat of the moment) just to calm frayed nerves.
Since you have taken the readers down memory lane about a similar occurrence in Ibadan in times past, Makinde should take the bull by the horns and do the needful: The Olore mosque must face the wrath of the bulldozer. It must be demolished to “ground zero”, no matter whose ox is gored. A house of torture must not share its existence in a decent environment where decent people live. The government must keep the citizens protected from satanic people masquerading as clerics. Enough of the pretentious religious claims by the said operators of the illegal rehab centre!
Gov. Makinde must be reminded that due to past administrations’ lethargy, these illegal houses of horror still rear their ugly heads in Ibadan in 2019 as in this instance. Makinde should not go the same condemnable route of indecision, inaction and bad governance which his predecessors were guilty of. He must be mindful of what history will say about him when he leaves the office.
–Yacoob Abiodun, City of Hayward, California State, USA.
May God bless you on your write-up on Olore’s camp! I hope you read the useless interview of that Muslim leader called Kunle Sanni. I am also a Muslim. Why are we deceiving ourselves under the umbrella of religion? There is no going back; that place must be demolished.
–0705 421 2700.
It is becoming increasingly difficult not to come to the conclusion that we are gradually approaching the status of a failing system. I was shocked to my bone marrow when I heard that one of the inmates of the Katsina house of horror speaks impeccable English, who I later learned is a PhD holder. How did he find his way there? Some of the inmates of the lbadan house of horror also speak good English, which means that they, too, are well educated. To have confined and detained these young people in such environments speaks volumes about us as a people and our values.
As always, well done for detailed investigative journalism! I hope that you and your colleagues will continue to follow up until these and similar incidents become a thing of the past.
Sir, you have said the minds of many patriotic Nigerians in respect of the nefarious activities of the houses of horror across the country. Many are perpetrating evil in the confines of their compounds in the name of religion. The discovery of these horror places has shown that civilisation is still far from this shore! What justification would anyone have in this century to chain human beings like cows in the name of rehabilitation?
The fact is that our system is still primitive; that is why such houses still exist nationwide. In saner climes where adequate punishment is meted out to unscrupulous elements, such activities would have been nipped in the bud and many innocent lives would have been saved.
As you rightly said, some “thick madams” and highly-placed men would bail out the owners of the houses of horror. Extract from The PUNCH newspaper, which you cited, proved beyond reasonable doubt that acts of negligence on the part of government and our security forces, among others, led to the blossoming of the centres. In nipping such nefarious activities in the bud, our government and security forces have to sincerely be alive to their duties.
The puzzle, however, is whether government officials and members of the security forces are also not patronising the clerics and pastors operating these centres? If they are, then, it will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for these “untouchables” to face the wrath of the law. Nigerians also are culpable as far as this evil is concerned in that we keep quiet in the face of tyranny.
Love of money has thrown Yorubaland into the abyss. We used to ostracize evil doers but, today, these unscrupulous elements are the ones ruling the society. Governor Makinde deserves commendation for his quick intervention in the matter and for taking care of the victims. An area where I am not at home with your position is on the demolition of Olore’s mosque and residence. I think we should have gone beyond the demolishing of buildings when such can be confiscated by government for more productive ventures.
Besides, Oloore has his family and dependants; demolishing their abode will cause them trauma and untold hardship. My advice is that government should drag Olore to court and prosecute him for his activities; if found guilty, he should be given the deserved punishment. This will serve as deterrent to others.
In addition, government should establish more rehab centres as well as rehabilitate existing ones so that parents will not have any cause to take their deviants to privately-owned rehabilitation centres.