You asked how I am doing?
I am living in fear; in fear of being a victim to Bullet, the notorious area boy, gang leader, ‘landlord’ and maybe cult captain in our area.
They said they’ve taken him to Abuja, I don’t believe them. And I will advise you too not to believe anything these police men say.
This so called ‘landlord’, is a terror in our community and we all know it. He is an armed robber; his boys rob in the day, they don’t even bother to rob at night. They would come to the shops and demand money and woe betide you if you don’t ‘deliver.’ He demands money all the time or tells you he will evacuate you from the community because he is the ‘landlord’ of the entire area; never doubt that he would carry out his threat if need be.
Ask anyone around here, even that boy of five years knows about Bullet and his boys; so don’t believe that stupid story that Bullet is in prison; the same people who arrested him will be the same who will set him free after a while; he just needs to provide bail of N2,000,000 and he’ll be back to the streets terrorizing us.
That is the story of Bullet, the real ‘landlord’ of this community.
When I moved here roughly 10years ago, I knew there were notorious area boys in the neighborhood but because I couldn’t afford the rent in other places, I had to come live here. I figured, after all, there are millions of other decent human beings here, so if they can survive these menace to society, so can I.
I first saw Bullet a few days after I opened my shop close to the market place; they called him bullet because they say he had been shot several times and the bullets just bounced off; they say he has aye ta, meaning he is immune to Bullets.
Anyway, when I set up an electronic shop with the small money I made from my previous boss, the other people who also owned shops and kiosks around, told me I should be ready to ‘deliver’ to Bullet and his boys; they told me how they operated; they would come into the shop and demand their ‘settlement’, sometimes, they would be given N1000, other times, N2,000 or N2,500; this depends on how big the shop is or how prosperous they think the owner is.
For instance, all the Betting shops around here pay them nothing less than N2,500 regularly and if anyone starts doing smesme, Bullet and his boys would just carry a laptop or any item that is worth hundreds of thousands in that shop and walk away with it. Who will help you appeal to him? Who dares question him?
So, it is always better to settle Bullet before he and his boys decide to take what is more than you can part with. They are a real mafia!
They commit all kinds of atrocities and when people go to report them at the police station; they would get arrested but before you say, ‘Bullet proof’, he is back on the streets again, doing the exact same thing that he was arrested for previously.
What do you do? You pray you never encounter him but you will, one way or another except you move out of this community, to where? With what money?
A few weeks back, Bullet and his gang went to rob one rich man in the area. The man called police; police came and gave chase. They caught three of them; Bullet and two others. In fact, one of the boys had scaled a fence into our compound; I have seen that one too, before. He is the one that robs at night; he would strip himself naked and rub oil all over his body. He would go to houses where he can slide through the windows to steal phones, laptops, wristwatches and things like that. Of course because his body is drenched in oil, if you try to catch him, he would quickly slip away.
Anyway, that evening as they were being chased by the police, he scaled the fence into our compound, he must have underestimated the height or maybe he was too tired from all the running, he fell and broke his leg.
We were all at the back yard, about eight of us tenants; five men, three children fetching water, all of us lived in that house, as soon as he landed gbam and fell; we all looked; saw he was one of Bullet’s boys. His gun fell out of his pocket and slid away from him…you won’t believe what we all did?
We took off!
Gang up to beat him ke? When we are not mad? We saw him injured and in pain, we knew the police were after him, we saw that he had a gun on him and we all fled like little girls. We ran away, who wan die?
Yes, o. that’s what we did o.
That’s how sacred we are of these people; if we beat him dead or even injure him some more, what of the rest of his gang? They would come after us, na, don’t you know?
Not that they wouldn’t come even if we didn’t do anything afterall, they have been robbing us in that area consistently for a long time but at least, we won’t be the ones to provoke any attack against us. That’s the point I’m trying to make.
Police later came and picked him, they beat him like snake.
So yes, Bullet has been arrested with two of his gang members but for how long?
Soon the politicians who need him for grass roots will call for his release; they would send money to bail him; if politicians don’t bail him, somebody who is high up there and who finds him useful for intimidation of opponents will rescue him.
And na so, we would be back to square one!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)