Friday, August 24, 2018

Yahoo Boy and the Jungle Police by Omoruyi Uwuigiaren

One sad morning, a poor soul was at the bus stop waiting to catch a bus to his destination. The young man was tall and tough and his trousers hung loosely to his waist. He was mean and dark as the midnight. He pierced his ears and his earrings and necklace shone like the rising sun. Apart from the dreadlocks that hung down from his head, there was nothing suspicious about him. His look, no matter how bizarre, was never enough for him to be robbed of his rights and tossed into the outer darkness. He was a product of an ever changing world. Civilization comes with a price. We either live with it or we are left behind.
There was a time it was an abomination for a man to be seen in the public not clearly defined as a man because his earrings and necklace competed for space in the public eyes with his mustache. As you know, a man that wants to survive public life must hide his imperfections. Conflicting identity is an imperfection and it sends the wrong signal. The mentally weak is cheap and the innocent is dragged into his pool of weakness and bruised. In this age and time, young people are comfortable parading a phone that is the size of an Olympic stadium. In a bizarre world, the bigger the phone, the higher the chance of getting into trouble. Who cares if you are a saint? Not all glamour excites the society. The man in the public eyes is never far away from a storm. Some of the security operatives that line up the street like vultures waiting for their turn to feast on a carcass have lost it. They will swoop at the slightest provocation. The young man was guilty. His big phone betrayed him. His eyes were fixed on his phone when a van pulled up before him. It was a yellow bus—the regular Lagos state taxi colour. The door was thrown open. As the poor soul raised his head and made for the bus, three or more plain clothe police men jumped down. Before he could blink, they grabbed him and his phone! “YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!” one of the men thundered.
“HA-HA! FOR WHAT? What is my offence?” the young man tried to protest and fight his way out of their grip. But they overwhelmed him and brought him to his knees. They handcuffed him and kicked him here and there.
The City Heroes and other stories from the Heart of Africa by [Uwuigiaren, Omoruyi]
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One police man stood over him. He smelled like bar and yelled at the young man, “Are you mad? You are a Yahoo Boy and you still have the guts to talk?” He landed a slap on his face and a devastating blow fell on his neck. The poor soul elicited an agonized cry. “Now, get into the van!”
The poor soul jumped to his feet and staggered into the waiting van. All the police men jumped in. They shut the door and drove off. As they moved on, they checked his phone for anything that could implicate the boy. After going back and forth with his phone and could not find any substantial evidence to nail the guy, one policeman pounced on him. “So you have perfected your own strategy to beat us abi? Who is Kemi? I see you were chatting before we arrested you and only criminals use the social media! Who is Kemi? Answer me before I change my mind!”
“Kemi is my girlfriend…” the young man stuttered.
“SHUT UP! YOU ARE LYING! You are trying to swindle the woman. You are a thief! If you don’t tell me the truth, you will end up in jail. Look at your hair. You even wear earrings. You are a “Yahoo Boy!”. Na thief you be and you go tell us where your gang dey!” the police man punched the young man. The poor thing ducked and the blow landed on the metal body of the bus that has seen its better days. The move left the policeman bleeding in his knuckle. He became red with rage and two or more policemen descended heavily on the young man. Blows landed freely on him. He took the fierce shots and never recovered...

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