THE Akindele Compound, Isale Asaka, Foko, Ibadan home of Mrs Ramotalai Adeyemo, the fish seller who discovered the purported “mermaid,” was burgled overnight, while her 14-year-old daughter, Hajara, was attacked.
This is just as the Oyo State police command said the “mermaid” is an octopus after all.
Mrs Adeyemo said common sense prevailed upon her and members of the family not to sleep in their compound, as a result of the pressure mounted upon her by some traditionalists in the state to release the water creature to them.
Also, she said the adamant posture of some area boys in the place, who had vowed that not even the police could take the creature away from the compound, forced her not to sleep at home.
“We, however, returned to the house this morning (Wednesday) to meet the back door broken and part of my roasted fish and frozen fish carted away, while others were destroyed.
“Earlier (on Tuesday), I had lost my Nokia phone in the confusion. While I was away at the station, some area boys came around and descended on my 14-year-old daughter, Hajara. They beat her to the point of injuring her,” she said.
The woman also claimed that traditionalists have been threatening her that if she failed to release the creature to them, they would turn one of her children to a god.
Expatiating further on the incident, Mrs Adeyemo, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune at her home, disclosed that she neither raised an alarm nor told anybody that the creature spoke with her.
“It was frozen dead when I discovered it. What happened was that when I saw it initially, I discountenanced it and threw it in the dustbin. But on a second thought, I picked it up again because I wanted to show it to my sister, who had been selling fish before me.
“I only wanted to ask her if she had seen a strange creature in her carton of fish before. This was the first time I would see such in the 14 years that I have been selling fish,” she said.
According to her, “I bought the carton of fish at about 9.30 a.m at Oja’Ba. As I took it out of the dustbin and held it, an Alfa came up behind me and asked me to give him the creature in my hand. The next thing he did was to bring out his phone and tried to take the picture of the creature, but his phone went dead. My brother, Saburi, also attempted taking its picture and his phone also went dead.
“There and then, I took the creature to my elder brother, also an Alfa. I was still with him when I was called to bring the creature home and show it to the mammoth crowd that had converged on our house so that they would disperse.
“But by the time I got home, there was a twist in the story. I learnt that the president of traditionalists in Ibadan had gone to report at the police station that I had a strange creature with me, which was inimical to the well-being of the people of the state.
“They had threatened that if the creature was not handed over to them, Ibadan would experience a serious flood disaster and that the 1980 experience would be a child’s play when compared to it.
“I was invited to the station by the police where I met the traditionalist. I told the police that it was a lie that nothing disastrous would happen because what I saw was just dust and not any miracle. I made them realise that I am also a water devotee from the popular Ataoja family in Osogbo, Osun State.
“Unfortunately, I could not produce the creature yesterday (Tuesday) because one of my brothers, Aliu, ran away with the creature when the pressure of the crowd in our home became too much. We were released to go home at about 9.00 p.m. I was with my baby, Alimot, who wore no pant all through yesterday (Tuesday).
“This morning (Wednesday), however, I was called at about 9.00 a.m from Mapo Police Station that Aliu had brought the creature to the station.
From Mapo, we went to Iyaganku to see the Area Commander and then to the police command headquarters at Eleyele to see the Commissioner of Police.
“It was discovered that the creature is an octopus. Its photograph was taken and it was released to me to take home. I was interviewed by the NTA crew and I have since thrown the octopus into Gege River.”
In a telephone chat with the Oyo Police Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Ilobanafor, she confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune that the creature was an octopus and not a mermaid.
“I saw it and counted its fingers, they were eight. It was found dead among frozen fish; it was not alive,” she said.
She also urged the public to discountenance the picture of a fish with two human legs being circulated on the internet, adding that it was not the picture of the octopus.
Ilobanafor said the fish seller was not arrested as being speculated, though police security had been provided for her.
She also warned those who might want to foment trouble to desist, saying “anybody who tries it will be arrested.”
In a related development, the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Princess Adetutu Akhigbe-Adeyemi has urged Yemoja and Osun worshippers in the state to be calm and not disrupt the peace of the state.
In a release made available to the Nigerian Tribune, on Wednesday, the commissioner said the water creature seen in Ibadan on Tuesday “was an octopus and not a mermaid as insinuated.”
Akhigbe-Adeyemi claimed that the fish seller was panicky as she had not seen an octopus before.