My name is Itabo, I am 16 years old, and this is my Otonbo Gbame Story.
I came back from street hustle that evening and found out that our LandLord had thrown out our properties like he said he would. My Mum just lay on our ghana must go bag, crying hopelessly. We’ve been unable to raise money to pay for our rent, and now our only hope was to go back to under one of those bridge. I hated going back to that life, and I swore to do whatever it takes to get us a better life!
As Mum and my little sister lay under the bridge, I went to see Kunja my friend. He is one of the notorious, yet friendly guy know. I knew he did some bad things to survive, but I was in a Delima and already made up my mind to help my family.
That night I joined Kunja and 6 other guys to rob a house in Lekki. My share was enough to feed my family for more than a month, but what I needed more than anything now was shelter. Kunja advised me to use part of the money to come build a wooden house in Otondo Gbame Island.
When we got there, to my surprise the land was free, and all I needed to do was pay a carpenter to erect the wooden building to my taste. Under 12 hours I now had a 3 bedroom wooden flat, on an Island that has one of the best feelings of nature!
I now had what I wanted but could not leave the gang. Kunja had been so good to me, and if I desert him, he would see me as a traitor. Besides, the money and properties we got every weekend was too good to give up on. But slowly I began to avoid contact with Kunja and the gang, as I set up a shop on the Otondo Gbame island where we dry and prepare crayfish, fish and any sea food gotten from the ocean, and send to Lagos Island, Surulere and beyond for sale. Something I catch for free, apart from traveling expenses, I was selling for good money and earning a living.
I finally left Kunja and the gang, but he swore to get back at me for betraying him, even when all he ever did for me was good!
Just 6 months in Otondo Gbame Island and I was making good money from my new business! What I love the most was the people. They are so kind and loving, and always willing to help whenever the need be!
Life here is so simple, unlike the complicated life in the big city close by. There was nothing like hunger because the ocean is a regular source of food supply.
I will wake up every morning and take a stroll on the beach, lie under the evening sun as the sand caress my body. I was already thinking of getting married, even though I am very young.
One evening a troubled boat sailed to the island shores and carried the wounded body of one of Kunja’s men. He said they were stopped by Policemen when they went to rob a house, and that some of them were killed and Kunja arrested. He was lucky to escape.
The next day I wen to the big city, afraid of what Konja might say, I didn’t go to the police station but I paid someone to be my eyes in there. After a week I got info that the State Government was planning to come and tell us to leave Otondo Gbame. My source said that apart from the anger that some boys come from Otondo Gbame to the city to commit crimes, the Govt. wanted to transform our home to an ultra Modern city, therefore we had to leave.
I couldn’t believe that the Govt. will be so heartless as to render the people in Otondo Gbame useless by chasing us out of our home, so I dismissed the claim.
3 Months later, early in the morning we were awakened by gun shots. People were running helter-skelter in confusion. Finally, I saw the clear view, it was the Govt. in action. Some uniformed men were chasing the peaceful people of Otondo Gbame! One of the shots hit an elder and the youths protested by attacking back. This led to more violence as more shots were fired. They were more armed and prepared than us, so we had to flee.
I ran with my family as I could hear people crying! They poured fuel on our home and burnt it down before our eyes! It was like the end of the world and there was nothing we could do about it. I didn’t use a bank and all my money was in the house, and I looked with tears as they burnt down my life savings.
Some people refused to leave, as they said there was their only home, but the heat of the flames was too much to bear, so they had to move away from the fire.
In tears and frustration, I left Otondo Gbame, back to under the bridge with a renewed zeal to do whatever it takes to stand back on my feet and help my family. They have taken our home, our peace, our joy and our resources, but they don’t know the menace they unleashed into the society.
NB: This is a true story with a twist of Fiction.