This is one of the results of being gainfully unemployed: An intimacy with the details of suburbia – the Ibadan version; mothers talking to their babies in loud soliloquy, house wives fighting in the morning, one crying, the other hyperventilating like a spent Mack truck and neighbours announcing the latest event in the city to themselves across the street while leaning on rusting steel balustrades.
“They caught another one on Labake Street. I couldn’t wait to watch, but he has started to confess.”
A passionate desire to rid itself of what it now sees as a threat to its peace has driven the city of Ibadan to a kind of frenzy. An excitement like that of a body ridding itself of a virus by the efforts of white blood cells; the lymph nodes working in overdrive, the skin’s pores filled up with sweat and the body in a fever that has the teeth clattering out of rhythm. See, I’m over-embellishing this matter; the people of Ibadan have been set on edge by the discovery of a dungeon of horrors in the city. The details of the things found in that den of kidnappers in Soka is gruesome, the kind of gruesome we would rather have confined to the ridiculous stories of Nollywood or the fantastic images of Hollywood.
“Ife, they had women who had been reduced to skeletons. They impregnated them, harvested their babies and then pounded the babies in mortars while the women watched.” My mom was running a commentary as the local TV station showed images of the den. “They even found NYSC uniforms” she said. The horror hit home.
“The policemen came to the scene but the people started to throw stones at them and they retreated. They went through the mad man’s baggage and they found many things.”
“Fish them out. Kill them all” is a mantra now chanted on the streets of Ibadan and in the corridors of Facebook. One of them – the mad men, was caught in the front of the University of Ibadan with money, ATM cards, gun cartridges, mobile phones and University ID cards among other things. Policemen rescued him from a mob and took him into custody. He was a phony mad man and he was lucky.
“They have killed the mad man oooooo”
I recall facts that articles from my geeky enquiries into mental disorders have furnished me with, the family of a young man my mother helped treat for a case of schizophrenia and I begin to wonder: What did this man confess to? What did he say that was beyond the possibilities of someone who hallucinates? What was in his luggage that can’t be picked by a man who thinks the whole world is his property?
How did we get to the point where we decide to extinguish a man’s soul based on his (possibly) delusional statements and the content of his luggage in a ten minute mob-court session? Do we feel cleansed after the act? What if he was innocent? Mad, crazy, sick but innocent.
Think about it, we must be mad too.