Hit this Link for the Post that inspired mine. https://ibrofoto.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/behind-the-bars/

Read this then.

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“…even when the nights are long, the sun would always rise. We are now in a storm but i am starting to see clear skies, coz there is hope. There is always hope!…..”.

 

The lines above are words of the poet Amal Ahmad Albaz in a poem titled “Ya Balady.” I have used it as an opening for this post as “ibrofoto” sought of ended his posts with similar words. I am supposed to be sharing this post with just a few lines, but i think it deserves a sequel. It is one issue that no one thinks of or about, until he/she has someone in that situation, perhaps, himself!

I was in the middle of a story when I received the link for the post “behind the bars” which made me drift from the book I was engrossed in a while. As I read through the lines of the post, I found a hint of familiarity between the story I was reading and the content of the blog post. To keep you off the dark dear reader, the story I was reading is titled “Cell One.”

“Cell One” is a cell in a prison in Enugu, Nigeria, where ‘toughened criminals’- according to the Police Officers in charge – are kept. A boy was caught amongst some other cult members and was moved along with them to prison. Though innocent, he was at the right place at the wrong time. To clear your doubt, he wasn’t moved to “Cell One.” None of them was. They however, all knew about this mysterious Cell and the many tortures that took place in it.

All in all, an old man, of about seventy years of age, was soon brought to the prison, and kept with the other criminals in the same cell as the boy who was wrongly arrested. The seventy year old convicted even though “not guilty as charged” was in the prison because the police couldn’t locate his ‘run-away’ son, whom the man himself had not seen for the past four months! Imagine the irrationality. Not seeing your child in a long while and being arrested for the crimes of that same missing child. Of what use was the man to the prison if not to be put in the mouth of death itself. This man did not do anything and has no information to assist the police for further investigations but was still held custody.

Unable to bear the credulous treatment the old man was getting besides himself, the innocent boy spoke out on behalf of the man and dared the policemen. In the end, his reward for yelling at officers and standing up for a fellow prison inmate was “Cell One”, the place for top criminals.

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Life is a place where the sales of “hope” is the only affordable commodity. No one can buy freedom except for the “filthy” rich; if you are rich and “clean”, then sorry bro. you still don’t meet the requirements. We have now been corrupted by forces beyond the ability of our innocence. No one can afford to be innocent anymore. The prison: a place to soften criminals – psychologically, and give to them a sense of remorse and conviction to change for the better has now become a place where sane minded people are rendered insane. It’s like a place for the letter O and figure 0 to be kept altogether, for you can barely tell the difference between a suspect and a criminal in the actual sense of it.

In retrospect, Dr. Josephine Obiadulu Okei-Odumakin, a woman rights activist, who has been arrested severally and been detained for about 17 times was in the University of Ilorin Auditorium, on the 24TH of May 2016, to address us students on the theme “Gender Equality: A might or reality” struck me like a true fighter, which she indeed is. She was enthusiastic and astonishing with her words and a mere glance at her would tell you how much of an emblem of freedom she is. The clips displayed on the screen while she made her speech to the congregation of students, was what actually left me completely overwhelmed. This woman, to my wonderment, was in one of the slides, being dragged by the police in what seemed like a black lorry. She was of course arrested for coming out in the open to fight for the rights of her fellow country people and there she was, being dragged like a criminal. But then, isn’t that the crime of our times? Isn’t speaking up for the oppressed and blurting the truth, no matter how bitter, the biggest of crimes of today? But again, there is always a silver lining in the dark clouds. Goodness would never leave you no matter how many times you get dragged in the mud for it.

Prisons are not the den of oppressors as we think. You must know that tons of innocent civilians are tortured daily for crimes yet to be committed. No one gets an alert for an accident before its occurrence. No one would have foreseen he would be convicted for the crime he did not commit. To be more explicit, you wouldn’t know who is next to fall victim to these oppressors punishing the oppressed and claiming it is vis-à-vis. There are Criminals for sure (in the actual sense of it), but then, there are Criminals with no crime to account for.

You may ignore this for it isn’t your business, but remember those who would stand up for you if tomorrow, God forbids, you are wrongly convicted. You need not go miles to rebuke the crimes of our time. All you need do is to start with yourself and then your community. Good is good even if no one is doing it.

May we not fall prey to traps not meant for us. Ameen.

 

 

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