Be careful Who You Trust, Including Family Member, By Aigg Giwa - Amu - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Saturday, February 1, 2020

Be careful Who You Trust, Including Family Member, By Aigg Giwa - Amu

...A True Life Story  

 But this one broke me . As l walked out of the Female Section of the Nigerian Prison, Kirkiri, Lagos State, l knew l had finished my mission set for me by God"s Commision in that facility. I knew l will never visit the Female Section of the Prisons again, l was torn  apart by the emotions connected to this release and for about five years now, l have not gone back to the Female Prison, but l miss my friends there ! Call me a coward if you like - Officers of StephenSolomonFoundation go there till date to assist but without me... 
......this one was the case of one lyabo.She was charged to court for arson. Her mother, Anike, lives in the United States and has been there for 25 years.  From the sweat of her brow, hard work and God's favour, she built 2 blocks of 6 flats of 4 bedrooms each at llupeju, Lagos. All were rented out and good money was coming in. She was a widow.  Iyabo was her only child and daughter. She was her world and heiress. Then trouble started- 
      Anike was informed, by her brother, Pa Kunle, 77 years old , that her daughter was hooked on drugs, and was misbehaving and had attempted to burn down her houses.. Anike had issues with her residency in the United States and could not rush back to Nigeria.  She begged her brother to take charge. She sent money home to Nigeria for that. Iyabo was the Sole Agent of her mother's estate . She gave proper account of all the money recieved and remitted some to her mother and spent some on the mother's express written instructions. She was a Mother's delight.  She was a graduate of University of Lagos.  But complaints kept going to her mother, Anike, some from anonymous callers. Her daughter had gone crazy..Her daughters on drugs....She begged her brother to take her for  treatment..... she was told her daughter was insane! 
    Pa kunle and his sons, arranged with a police friend, arrested lyabo, had her charged to court for arson and left her in Prison for two years.  ... it was so swift that there was no form of communication even to her lover... 
....   again in line with our assignment for Stephen SolomonFoundation, her case was referred to us. I visited her. She was calm. Not particularly striking in beauty. But highly intelligent. Her eyes were bright and not trusting. I asked her if she needed our services... she was direct".... my account has been emptied by those who promised to help me out of this place... l gave them my ATM and they withdrew the money there, and appeared for me four  times and never came again after they returned my ATM Card and left me here, luckily l did not give them my Mother's ATM....."
        l repeated my question if she wanted us to defend her... she shrugged as if it doesn't matter. Or who cares?  I asked for her story and she told me - Her Uncle and his sons set her up when she had a dispute with her mother and both of them were not on speaking terms... they alleged she was using drugs, which is not true and arson when she was no where near their ancestral home in llaje Bariga when the place was gutted by fire... infact she was in lkoga Zebe near Badagry with her boyfriend for that weekend -  I took notes and left, vowing to take the matter as nothing special,  but events that later took place angered and spurred me to take this case as priority! 
    In August of 2011, an old man with  two men he called "sons" came into my office.  I defer to the elderly.  So l asked that he be brought in immediately. He dropped into the visitor chair and told me in Yoruba,  " .... l will not waste both our time. I will go straight to the point . You're Chief Giwa-amu ? You see that girl in Prison, lyabo? Dont take that job... she is my sister's daughter and her case has been settled...leave her there..."
   l was surprised! l opened my mouth to reply the old man but he waved his left hand at me implying  "... l will not accomodate any refusal of my request from you."  He simply got up and said in Yoruba  ".... if you like heed to my request,  when a child insults the lroko tree,  he must always look back for the repercussions..." 
   l was shocked and angry...... so l turned to his sons and told them to translate from English to Yoruba for me,  l said " ... tell your father that the pot used to steam or dry pepper must suffer the heat of fire in it"s bottom..."... The sons did not,  but the old man said in English...".... l heard you clearly and your message is taken..."...
    He walked away slowly then turned back to ask me if he could use the toilet in the office,  he needed to "urinate," he claimed. ... I refused and asked my Guards to bring my pets, two Snakes - two African pythons into the office. Pa kunle and his children ran for their lives, and l threw the old man's walking stick after him. Some officer in the female prison had told them of my visit and given them my address.  
  I went to work on lyabo"s case immediately the next morning, l went back to the Prison to see her. I needed to get in touch with her mother or a family friend... I needed to contact a friend of hers who had her Mother's contact- phone etc.. after 1 month of search we got one, Bisi and l told her the whole story.. she  screamed and followed me the next day to see lyabo in the Prison.  
   I still cannot explain the shock and excitement in her face .. the joy was incredible!! She agreed to stand surety for lyabo and her husband would too... l begged her not to inform her friend, lyabo"s mother yet... she agreed... She told me Anike, lyabo"s mother, had told her that her daughter was in a hospital not Prison and her brother was taking good care of her... l applied for her bail in writing which was granted by the court... with surety approved, lyabo was released on bail... the truth came out - lyabo"s uncle wanted her out of the way, because his sons had forged title documents of her mother Anike's house to sell same....The case went on to trial - She was discharged and acquitted  !! 
    It was time for my style of justice or call it vengeance.  Revenge is a dish best served cold... l caused a petition to issue against Pa Kunle and his sons. They were arrested and charged to court for giving false information and malicious prosecution...Bail was refused.  Pa kunle and his sons were remanded in ikoyi Prison for  a year.  Anike called me to beg me to associate with their release. She even briefed another law firm to do that. I blocked or prevented their release both by judicial and extra judicial means... 
     In life, l have learnt that you " dont show mercy to your adversaries who refuse to repent.." I dont even know what repentance means.  And God said to Saul ..."... go and totally destroy the Amalikites, show them no mercy..." yet the same God is a merciful God. Where my enemies are concerned, l prefer the part of God's commission to King Saul against the Amalikites. .. Pa kunle died in Prison.  His sons? I dont know......  hehehehehe.... 
     This case broke me because, then in all my years of legal practice,  l had never seen such injustice.  Again it  broke me because after the release of lyabo, she was never the same again emotionally in every material particular. She said to me "...why was l so punished over property that is not even mine. My mother could give her property to anyone she pleases..." 
     When Anike heard all that her daughter went through she got Estate valuers to sell the property and all her other properties in Nigeria. Funds were remitted to her and she got her daughter out of Nigeria to the United States ... with her residency matters sorted out , she vowed never to invest in Nigeria... she has three houses in America and one in  Canada.  My darling lyabo  is married to an American and has two children.... She calls me "GrandPa,"  and l call her "My Cuddles".... 
       Lesson one... be careful who you trust....    l want to advise my friends abroad - trust but verify... your family members you left behind in Nigeria may not  be the  same "Childhood friends" you knew back in those days...most of us are high on drugs and can kill.. some have become very rapacious in greed... 
        Lesson  two .... .ensure that your movements in Nigeria is well accounted for....

 Aigg Giwa - Amu is a legal practitioner and founder of Free Legal Services for indigent persons in prison

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