•Son detained in prison custody over inability to bail self with N80,000
•Falls ill, ejected from apartment over son’s detention
•Cries out for help

By Miracle Oweazim, Gbenga Onanuga and Joseph Ajikapo

Her story is that of a mother separated from the child she loves so much. Worse more, for a reason that connects to committing a heinous crime- kidnapping!

As she spoke with a grieving expression, with her hands at intervals, holding her chin, her appearance depicted how heart broken she was, as she claimed that her son was wrongly arrested and was being held behind bars for several months, over a crime, she said he knew nothing about.

Beginning of a sad event

Mrs. Abosede Amolegbe, is one of many poor struggling single mothers who can hardly cater for themselves and children in the city of Lagos.

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A mother of seven, who lives at Ejigbo area of Lagos, she visited the corporate headquarters of Vanguard Tuesday, with a tear—filled eyes, narrating how her son, Tunde Folawewo, 31, was arrested and has been in prison for seven months due to his inability to provide money for his bail.

Narrating how it all started, she said: “Early February, information got to one of my sons, Kazeem, that his elder brother, Tunde, had been arrested a week ago by the Police at Ejigbo division.

“I rushed down to the station to see him to find out the cause of his arrest. When I got there, the police men there told me that Tunde was arrested with three other boys, because they colluded to kidnap the boss of one of his friends, who sells gas, at Bucknor, Ejigbo.

“I told them it wasn’t true, that I knew my son could not be part of such a thing. I asked the police to allow me see him and talk to him and when I did, Tunde told me that a man identified as Izuchukwu Kalu, 21, who worked for somebody at Alaba market, but had a new boss at Ejigbo, met him one day, when he went out to eat. He said Izuchukwu told him that his former boss at Alaba, owed him salary for several months and had refused to pay. He told Tunde that he needed assistance of some people who would accompany him to his former boss’s shop to make noise in order to force him to pay the salary owed him.

Mix up

“After he discussed the issue with Tunde and two others identified as Sunday Kalu and Chiemerem, one of them, Chiemerem, who didn’t understand who Izuchukwu was referring to, went to Izuchukwu’s new boss and informed him that Izuchukwu was conniving with his friends to kidnap him (the new boss)”

“My son told me that he had gone to eat at a restaurant with his friend when some police men alighted from a tricycle and walked towards their direction. He said that his other friends fled on sighting the policemen but he stayed back because he had not done anything to warrant being arrested. But to his surprise, he said they apprehended him and took him to the station”.

Detained for two months

Continuing, the single parent, said, “ The Police later arrested the fleeing boys and brought them to join my son. They were detained at the station for two months before they were charged to Ejigbio Magistrate court. At the court, they were granted bail in the sum of N50,000 each and asked to provide two sureties. Unfortunately, I could not get sureties for Tunde because that was my first time of being in court. I was directed to meet some people at the Ejigbo court who sell forms for sureties that I could present for his bail. But when I got there, I was told each of the forms cost N15,000 and that I would need two.

Mother’s Ordeal

“Two of the arrested boys regained freedom because their family members were able to meet the bail conditions. But Tunde and the fourth boy, Sunday Kalu, were whisked to the Kirikiri Medium Prison over their inability to meet their bail condition”

At this point, she broke down in tears , asking why fate would be so unkind to her.

According to her: “My son has been in prison for five months now because of lack of funds to effect his bail. I have resorted to begging in order to raise N80,000 to effect his bail. But everyone I approached would say he or she was also passing through financial challenge.

“I used to sell food and drinks at Monique road at Ejigbo, but I have stopped selling for the past four months because I fell sick as a result of my son’s continuous detention and I was hospitalized.

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As if that was not enough, I couldn’t pay my rent anymore and my things were thrown out from the shop by my landlord. Since then, things have been very difficult for me. I survive with my children by doing some menial jobs like cleaning people’s houses. At times, I would join a caterer to cook at parties and she would pay me between N2000 and N3000 for the service. Because of the several responsibilities in taking care of my other children, I haven’t been able to save money to bail Tunde.

“My family members have not really been able to assist me in raising the money, as they all have their personal financial issues. Sometimes, the little money they gave to me, I used it to prepare food and procure medicines for Tunde at the prison”

Banished dreams

She informed that before his arrest, Tunde, had nursed a dream of becoming a footballer, and to play for the renowned Juventus FC.

She however, lamented that “Now, it seems like that dream has been banished due to his continued incarceration. He used to assist a man who was selling native medicines and also learned glass fixing at Jakande Estate, but five years ago, he was attacked by armed robbers in a hotel where he went to fix glass. He was severely injured on his head by the robbers and after undergoing treatment at the hospital, the doctor instructed that he shouldn’t be allowed to do anything strenuous again, so he stopped the work and faced football as a career”.

A plea for help

Mrs Abosede, therefore called on well meaning Nigerians to assist her in securing her son’s bail, in order to enable him pursue his dreams.

She said, “ I have never in my life gone begging this way. My appeal is for well meaning Nigerians to assist me in this regard. Perhaps, if a thorough investigation had been carried out, my son would not have been behind bars today. Or perhaps, if I were rich, the case would not have been this way”.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.