By LOLADE SOWOOLU
The drama that played out on Odi-Olowu road in Ijesha, Lagos last Wednesday through Thursday, will never be forgotten in a long time to come. The actor, Oluremi Bolaji (nee Ayanlowo) was such a spectacle that she held her audience spell bound in an all night drama.
The sight was that of a woman dressed in shirt and slacks clinging to the metal atop the dome of an age-long mosque on the busy street. She maintained this position from 11.30pm (Wednesday night) till 11am the following day when rescuers successfully pushed her to the roof top before dragging her down the building. While the incident lasted, the mosque became a Mecca of sort as a crowd thronged the street to catch a glimpse of the woman trying to kill herself. This sparked a heavy traffic on the road and adjacent streets.
The first rescuer, simply identified as Ikechukwu, was not so lucky as Remi reportedly pushed him off the dome when he attempted to drag her down. Ike fell to the ground of the 2-storey building and died instantly. Until his death, young Ikechukwu rode an Indomie branded tricycle and allegedly sold bread under the Ijesha bridge (not so far away) along the expressway. He was said to have come from the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Renewal in Ijesha.
32 years old Oluremi is a mother of three. Until a few years ago she resided at Odi Olowu area with her biological family. She attended Odi Olowu Primary school and worshipped at The Apostolic Church in the same neighbourhood, according to Ogunde Mathew who claimed to be Remi’s primary school mate in the 90s.
According to Abdulazeez Abdulshowo, an eye witness who lives just opposite the mosque, “It was my brother who alerted me at about 11.30pm (Wednesday) that there was a thief on top of the mosque. I rushed out and soon we saw that it was a lady. We rushed to call her father who said he had been looking for her since the previous day (Tuesday) that she hit her head somewhere and was in need of medical attention. By now a crowd had gathered and we kept shouting at her in Yoruba not to kill herself. She kept shaking the planks and that’s how she killed the first guy at about 1.30am. We haven’t slept since in this neighbourhood since yesterday”
Since a police station was only a stone throw away, Azeez said they alerted the police before the first casualty but they said they weren’t qualified to carry out such an operation. “They (the police) moved his corpse (Ike’s) and took pictures that midnight. Her father kept crying but we had to move him to a safe place because youths in the neighbourhood were angry at the death caused by his daughter. Her mother sells fried yam at Ijesha market. She was here crying too”, he explained.
Remi was eventually rescued by a young man in his early twenties. The hero, Gbenga Oni pushed Remi on to the roof while she focused on another guy equally trying to rescue her.
“I just saw a crowd on the Ijesha bridge and wondered what they were looking at. I traced the source of attention and saw the woman. They said she had already killed someone so no one was willing to rescue her. Then I saw a guy already on the dome but she was throwing sticks at him. I asked for a helmet for the guy to cover his head. She didn’t see me coming so I pushed her off. Maybe if I had seen the dead guy’s corpse I would have been too afraid to go”, he said.
She’s mentally ill — Father
Depression and sorrow don’t fully capture Moses Ayanlowo’s mood as he tearfully narrated circumstances leading to his daughter’s strange behaviour.
“Remi is my daughter. She lives in Ijegun where her husband rented an apartment for her. We’ve been looking for her since (last) Thursday. The whole thing started last week Tuesday when I got a call that she had packed out of the house with her children at about 2am. I was told she went to somebody’s house and maybe they beat her there. She climbed a reservoir tank where she fell from and broke her head. I went there the next day. I don’t know how she climbed the tank because it was high and there was no ladder nearby. We looked for a ladder and told her to come down but she refused before she fell.
We then went to Isheri Osun police station to report the incident before going to the General Hospital to treat the wound. At the hospital, we were given a note to Yaba Psychiatric Hospital. Getting to Yaba, we presented the note and I obtained a card for her. But as soon as the doctor saw her in the car with the wound, he said we should go and treat her wound first before bringing her. When we got home, she left the children and ran away. We’ve been looking for her since then.
Yesterday (Wednesday) somebody called me that they spotted her around Ikotun. I ran there but she had left before I got there. She’s never had mental problem until last week. If my daughter had not been rejected at Yaba (Psychiatric Hospital), all this wouldn’t have happened”, he ended sobbing.
She’s a witch — Chief Imam
My name is Alhaji Chief Imam AbdulMojeed Olatunde Akapo. I’m Chief Imam of Ijeshatedo central mosque. I’ve been here for 23years. I was born in 1930.
Someone came to call me at about 7.30am saying there was someone on the dome. I came out and the lady refused to come down. I had to go back home to make supplications. It’s the first time something like that is happening. My take is that she is a witch that was arrested by the powers of prayer offered in the mosque. It takes a lot of effort for an able bodied man to climb that dome, how much more a woman. I don’t know her from anywhere even though the father says he comes here for prayers. She’s a witch and we do not support her in any way.