Vol 1, No 5, May/June 2016

June 16 18:53 2016 Print This Article
Adewale Maja-Pearce

        Adewale Maja-Pearce

In this issue, we feature the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice along Alhaji Masha Rd. Like most people, I would pass it and vaguely think I should try and ’do’ something but never did until it occurred to me that a community magazine (see the centre pages) was just the place to highlight the plight of these unfortunate children. But for the determination of Mrs Adedoyin, the proprietor, most of the 67 children currently under her care would have died soon after birth, having been abandoned by their mothers. Indeed, there is much that we, individual members of the community, can do to support the good work. No donation is too small; no gift too insignificant.

Continuing with our expanded sports’ coverage, we are pleased to take note of the Lagos Boxing Hall of Fame located, naturally enough, in the Sports City, in this case at Olatilewa St. Those of us who are old enough – or fanatical enough – remember the ’golden era’ of Dick Tiger and Hogan ’Kid’ Bassey, the latter of whom has a crescent named after him in our very own Surulere.

One of our regular contributors, Femke van Zeijl, the Dutch writer and journalist who once bemoaned the lack of anywhere in Surulere selling the perfect akara, writes about missing Surulere while she takes a short vacation in her homeland. She is featured here alongside her ’sister’, Sanne Steemers, who has also found a home here. Truly, we are becoming cosmopolitan, but what is it about the Dutch connection?

Following on from the last issue, which featured a profile of Bode Thomas, we continue our Know Your History column with a profile of his fellow-politician, Adeniran Ogunsanya. As we wrote in the last issue, we all know the streets but how many know the story of the people they were named after? This is all the more urgent given that history as a subject, as a continuing interrogation of where we have come from in order to understand where we are going, has been quietly dropped from the syllabus in our schools.

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And so to our twin obsessions: power and the police. Regarding the former, it seems that, at long last, the good people of Surulere have decided that continuing to pay ’estimated’ electricity bills in the absence of a prepaid meter is simply no longer tolerable. To that end, a letter was sent to the residents of Falolu, Ekololu and surrounding residents’ associations to a meeting on 2 April with a representative of PHCN, aka Problem Has Changed Name, under the subject, Outrageous Billing, Lack of Prepaid Meter, Ineffective Power Supply. Naturally, nothing much came of it, with the PHCN representative merely counselling patience. But they have been counselling patience for decades now to no effect. Rather, things have gotten worse. It is time for all-out action. Hit them where it hurts and stop paying bogus bills until they do the right thing.

As for our friendly neighbourhood police, many would have heard about the shocking incident of the four men who were arrested at Ojuelegba on the night of Tuesday, 10 May for eating noodles in a public place. According to one of the men involved, as reported in The Punch newspaper (13 May 2016), ’The policemen dragged me into one of their vans. I was confused and wanted to resist. But when I saw the young man selling recharge cards beside the woman being slapped several times, I knew it was useless resisting.’ Later, at the station, they met eight other people who had been picked up for the same ’crime’’; as one of the policemen quipped, while demanding for N15,000 bribe, ’Why una no chop for house?’ They offered N5,000 but this was refused and they were locked up in a cell that ’stank like a gutter.’ In the morning, they were taken before the area commander, who allegedly ordered their heads to be shaved.

Surulere Now! of course went to the station and met with both the DPO and the area commander but was told that they were not permitted to speak with the press. It is possible that the entire report was a fabrication except that a similar thing almost happened to the Captain (as we call him), whose letter to Alausa repudiating claims that he is running a brothel disguised as a bar is also reproduced in this issue. But the Captain had a connection who he phoned immediately, whereupon the brave men in black, armed to the teeth, begged forgiveness. Well, it’s a familiar story, like the story of the young woman who stole a cheap Nokia handset and was imprisoned for 12 months while our thieving politicians get a slap on the wrist and a risible fine. Incidentally, one of the victims lodged a complaint with Force Headquarters in Abuja. CSP Abayomi Shogunle responded that a special monitoring team had been despatched to investigate the case and gave a tracking number: CRU 359117.

Finally, as always, we encourage readers to send in their letters on any topic that riles or amuses them. This is your magazine. All we ask is that you keep your letters short and to the point and avoid abusive language. The state may abuse us – of which PHCN and the police are only the most visible – but we don’t have to join in that culture by abusing ourselves.

As always, happy reading!

– Editor

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2 Comments

  1. July 11, 22:40 #1 Clair Sneathen

    Thank’s great post.

  2. July 13, 21:57 #2 admin Author

    Glad you liked.

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