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‘God Was Always There For Me’ – Iya Toyin Olopa


She was the ‘notorious’ and no-nonsense policewoman most Lagos Danfo drivers feared the most in the late sixties and early seventies. Her name resonates across the Lagos metropolis like wild fire as errant bus drivers fidget at the sight of Iya Toyin.

For three months, she and her team brought sanity to the chaotic traffic congestion in Lagos and at the same time drew many enemies. At one time, her traducers had rumoured she died a tragic death due to her ‘high handedness’ after her retirement. Interestingly, one of her sons is currently the Assistant Inspector General of Police (IGP) Zone 11, AIG Adeleke Oyebade.

Seraph News duo of  OMOLOLU OLUBODE & TINU OSHUNTOKUN caught up with the former Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Mary Iyabode Oyebade (nee Akintona), a proud Seraph who has devoted the latter days of her life to the service of the Lord. Excerpts:

Can you please introduce yourself?

I am Mary IyabodeOyebade, nee Akintona. My husband introduced me to the Police Force. I was a teacher when I was young. My sister, FolorunsoAkintona, gave birth to a child. She had the naming ceremony at Idogo in Igbo Olobi, where my father was the Baale.

When I heard about the naming ceremony, I left my grandmother at the railway station at Agbesi and came to Idogo to attend the naming ceremony. As soon as I saw the newly born beautiful baby, I sought permission from my mother to follow my sister and the baby to Ebute Igbo Oro when they are returning home. My mother approved my request and Ifollowed my sister to Igbo Oro.

When we got to Ebute Igbo Oro, I was 19 years-old then. I was  already an adult,  I told sister I wanted to go to school because my grandmother did not allow me to go to school as my right hand could not touch my left ear when stretched over my head. My grandmother kept me in the farm to plant different crops.

My aunt eventually took me to a nearby N.A. School to meet the school’s headmaster, one Mr. Ibikunle, who had promised to fix me in that school. My sister, being the wife of an influential and successful trader around the area wields a lot of influence at Ebute Igbo Oro, Ilaro in Ogun State.

But when Mr.Ibikunle saw me for the first time, he almost reneged on his promise. He said I was too old to be admitted. However, as fate would have it, his wife insisted I must be admitted even when her husband said No, it became an issue between the two of them. Eventually, the wife prevailed and she took me to one of the classes in the school.

How old were you then?

I was 19-years-old.

Which secondary school did you attend?

Oro Ago in Kwara State.

When and where were you born?

I was born on 25th May, 1929, at Igbo Olobi, Idogo Railway Station in Ogun State.

When did you marry?

1958.

How did you meet your husband whom you call daddy?

Constant sexual harassments from men made me run away from Ebute Igbo Oro to Idogo, where I started schooling again at Methodist school.

The male teachers at the school were also making love advances at me and my mother had warned me to avoid going to bed with men which she said will result into unwanted pregnancy.

This made me to repulse men like snakes. I reported the harassment of the teachers to my mother. She came around to warn them but that did not stop them. So, I moved again to Abeokuta.

How did Baba Oyebade come into the picture?

When I got to Abeokuta, Baba Oyebade’s house was a stone throw from my senior brother’s house where I reside. Ralph Oyebade, his junior brother, who is now a medical doctor, was always on the lookout for me whenever I came back to the house.

As soon as I entered the house, he will seek the permission of my senior brother’s wives who sat under a big tree in front of the house to allow him to deliver messages from his senior brother to me.  Initially, they rejected his overtures but after a while, he was allowed to see me.

He introduced himself and told me that his senior brother was interested in coaching me in subjects that I may not be good at in school. I told him I wasn’t good with Arithmetic and he left immediately. A few days later, his senior brother, Oyebade, came to let me know that he sent Ralph to find out about subjects that I was deficient in.

On that day and for many other days, he taught me Arithmetic such that I was able to understand it perfectly. My understanding of Arithmetic surprised a particular male teacher in my school, who had often flogged me and had also offered to help me with the subject in his house. Two of my female classmates, who succumbed to his request, had become pregnant.

My rejection of his offer annoyed him to the extent that he would seize my food, took it to his house and expected me to come around to collect the plates from his house. I had to report him to my father.

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My father confronted him with the allegation of seizing my plates which he confirmed. My father then followed him to his house, collected my plates and threatened to report him to the police if he sexually harassed me again.

This humiliation made him remove my name from the list of pupils who were to write the Primary School Leaving Certificate examination that year. He made sure I didn’t write the exams.

This was a setback but as fate would have it, Kike, a very close friend of mine, told my mother about a missionary school at Oro Ago that could admit me to finish my primary school education. My mother granted me permission to follow her to the school.

The school authorities first rejected me because of my age but at the insistence of Kike, my available results were sent to the headquarters of the missionary school abroad and after 15 days, a favourable reply from the headquarters stated that I should be admitted, with or without any result. That was how I became a pupil of the Missionary School at Oro Ago.

When did you become a teacher?

I’ve been teaching before I joined the Police Force and I started from Oro Ago where I graduated as a teacher. My fiance, brother Oyebade, was always around me in all the schools where I taught. I was really in love with the teaching profession and I spread my teaching tentacles in the following communities—Ebute Igbo Oro, Eredo, Idi-Iroko, Owode and KetuAdiyeOlowe, all in Ogun State.

I was at KetuAdiyeOlowe, when my fiancé invited me to Lagos to enlist in the Nigerian Police Force, sometime in 1957. I rejected his invitation but he eventually had his way.

He arranged with a few trusted people led by his brother, Ralph Oyebade, to ‘kidnap’ me’.

They bundled me into a chartered taxi from KetuAdiyeOlowe in Ogun State to the Southern Police College in Ikeja. At the Ikeja Police College, the officer in charge, a female police officer, inquired from Ralph what his mission was and he told him that his own senior brother who was the immediate assistant to the British officer, had requested that I should be brought to Lagos to join the Police Force. The British police officer was so elated.

She informed them that a group of female police officers were undergoing training in preparation for a trip in the United Kingdom.

Everything was done to fast-track my enlistment. 30 of us sat for an examination and I was the only female and I came first.

At the time I wrote the exam, the Police had recruited the first batch of women into the Police Force. The first batch of policewomen had completed training and had passed out of the Police College but were yet to be posted out.

The British police officer invited these new recruits to her office and arranged that I take a group photograph with them which automatically made me qualify as one the first batch of policewomen to graduate from the Southern Police College, Ikeja. This was in 1958.

In August, I was posted to Denton Police Station at Oyingbo. I was given the unenviable task of cleaning up prisoners who had either excreted or removed their clothes and have been messing themselves up in the cell. Since it was an order from above, I had to do it.

Prior to this assignment, I was told that those who had carried out this assignment were manhandled by the inmates, but they never did any harm to me. I always wash them with warm water, which was a delight to them. Hitherto, they took bath with cold water. After their baths, I would towel them, make them wash their mouths and combed their hair.

While they were busy doing this, I would dash to their cells to wash it thoroughly and dried it up to make it habitable and comfortable before I took them back to their cells. However, I always prayed to God before and after the daily chores of taking care of the inmates and God did not disappoint me throughout the time I undertook this assignment.

The positive change of attitude of the inmates towards me surprised my superior officers and the ‘reward’ of my kind gesture towards the inmates was my transfer to the Post Office Junction at Adekunle, to control the traffic. Unlike other officers on the same beat who were driven in police Land Rovers from Denton Police Station to their various beats, I had to trek back and forth from Denton to Adekunle throughout the time I was a Traffic Warden.

As fate would have it, a senior police officer from Lion Building had an unscheduled meeting with the anti-crime branch of the Denton Police Station. As soon as I saw him approached the entrance of the station, I called out all the police officers at the counter to stand at attention and their response was spontaneous to the utmost surprise of the unexpected senior police officer. He asked for my name, state of origin and the year I passed out of the Police College.

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 I gave him all the details and he promised to cross-check at the Head Office and get back to me. Three days later, the Charge Room Officer of our station confronted me with this statement, ‘You used your long leg to leave this station. You are going to Lion Building! That’s ok. Go now’.

I was taken aback by his statement but later, somebody brought a signal from the Commissioner of Police that I should report at Lion Building immediately.

Later on, I found out that the senior police officer that came to Denton Police Station three days earlier had requested for my file and when he saw the contents, he marvelled at the progress I had made in the Police Force within a short time.

He recommended that I should be transferred to the Juvenile Welfare Centre at Campbell Street in Lagos.

As soon as I reported to the Police Commissioner, he said, ‘Congratulations! You are posted to be the OC (Officer in Charge) of Juvenile Welfare Centre, Campbell Street. You must take care of the place very well’. I went to the place as directed.

The centre was set up to prevent children of school age from street trading, which was against the law at that time. Children caught were arrested and prosecuted along with whoever sent them to perpetrate the offence. A vehicle was allocated to us to ease our mobility and the Police Commissioner was impressed with our commitment.

I was later moved to the female section of the Anti- crime Branch at Broad Street in Lagos, where market women caught for wrong display of wares are bailed. When I resumed, a fat woman I met there told me she would put me through on the proper way to run the place and since I was ready to learn, I told her I was going to cooperate with her.

She told me that she was the person who helps to procure bail for those in police custody.

I told her that once any person in custody can get somebody to bail him or her, she has no business procuring bail for people.

She now said I would soon understand the way things were operated there. The following day, one Mr.Ashogbon came around to bail his client from police custody.

I requested for his name, address and other necessary information which he willingly gave me. I released his client to him and enjoined him to ensure that his client was available at the juvenile court the following day.

Mr.Ashogbon then surprisingly asked, ‘Won’t you collect bail money?’ I said bail was free. He said people always payed money before securing their clients’ bail.

This was a surprise to the fat woman who was waiting patiently to take the bail money. When confronted, the fat woman said the bail money was what they lived on in that section of the police station.

I then told her not to collect bail money from anybody henceforth. She left and many people in police custody got bailed immediately after this unfortunate incident.

Mr.Ashogbon spread the ‘good news’ of my pronouncement to all those who had clients in custody that the new police O.C. was not collecting money for bail.

What was the reaction of fellow police officers to your pronouncement?

There was obvious bad blood between me and other police officers in the anti-crime section.

My days were numbered. Not long after the last person in custody was bailed, my fiancée who ‘kidnapped’ me in 1957 from KetuAdiyeOlowe told me it was time for us to do court marriage. As at that time, I had had a lot of suitors requesting for a relationship with me.

While some sent letters with money or pen, others sent expensive gifts but I made sure I sent every gift to the sender. This was because my fiancé wrote love letters with memorable words which I cherished a lot and I believed his love was more genuine than those who sent money, pen or other gifts.

Ralph Oyebade, my fiancé’s junior brother, brought the court marriage request to me and I asked why should I do court marriage without the consent and presence of my parents.

Ralph said family members are not bound to be present at the court marriage but they would be duly informed after the court marriage and every formality of engagement and marriage would be performed.

Was this what was obtained at that time?

No! That wasn’t what obtained. The bride’s parents must be formally consulted and every conjugal obligation ought to be carried out before court marriage takes place. However, there was so much pressure from a lot of senior police officers to marry me and I always told them that I was brought to Lagos by somebody and that was the person I was going to marry, although I kept his identity secret to prevent obvious repercussions.

We fixed a date for court marriage and I told my mother in confidence even though she deliberately didn’t attend. After the marriage in 1958, we went to his house at Denton Street, EbuteMetta.

How did the formal marriage take place?

My father went to Abalabi, in Ogun State, once in a while and he would sleep in his cousin’s house. During one of such trips, my father in-law to be, popularly called Alhaji Baba heard that the father of the woman his own son wanted to marry was at Abalabi.

The fact that I was still a virgin made him resolve to see my father without any delay. He went straight to my father’s cousin’s house. He told my father’s host that his guest was going to sleep in his house (Alhaji Baba’s house).

My father’s cousin who was totally surprised, wanted to know the reason behind his effrontery.

Alhaji Baba now formally introduced himself as the father of the man who wanted to take his beloved daughter for a wife and he also invited my father’s cousin to accompany my father to be his guest.

Both of them (my father and his cousin), followed my father in-law to-be to his house and they were treated to an unforgettable hospitality.

When my father returned home, he told my mother about the special treatment my would-be father in-law gave him and my mother was glad that I was marrying into a good family.

My engagement and marriage was like a fairy tale. It took place at Idogo. My father had a good relationship with the expatriate head of the railway station who was always coming to Idogo from time to time.

As soon as he was told about my marriage, the expatriate instructed the train that was to go from Ido to Idogo to reserve a whole coach to take my in-laws and their guests when the train arrived Abalabi to transport them free of charge to Idogo.

The free ride afforded many people to make the trip to Idogo. My in-laws brought more than enough traditional ingredients- various fruits, yam tubers and other foodstuffs, apart from what was normally expected from the groom’s family.

My father surprised some members of his own family. He told members of both families to take as many of the traditional ingredients as possible, which left little or nothing for those from our own family with little or nothing to share.

After the whole ceremony, my husband and I took a free train ride back to Abalabi for our honeymoon. The coach which had been specially decorated had enough varieties of delicious food on board courtesy of the expatriate. It was a wonderful day to remember.

After the marriage, how did you cope with marital life? Did you face any challenge?

It wasn’t easy but Jesus was in total control. After our marriage, we were both working in Lagos and neither of us was transferred out of Lagos for some time until a minor incident happened.

Somebody came from my husband’s hometown to join the police force as a tailor. My husband took him to the police vocational workshop with a request for him to be taken as a tailor.

Those at the workshop said there was no vacancy buy my husband insisted that he must be taken as a tailor and this made some of them angry.

One of them now said, ‘It is not your fault at all. Since you are married and now live in police quarters, that is why you dey make yanga. We shall make sure you are taken out of the place’.

He said he was ready to leave the quarters as long as he was given another quarters and if he wasn’t given, he would report to the Commandant. We were then at the Obalende Barracks. Not long after, my husband was part of the officers drafted to Cameroon to help that country after the crisis that erupted after the assassination of prominent opposition leaders in the early sixties.

While he was still on active service in Cameroon, we were moved, as forewarned, from Obalende to a one-room apartment at OkeSuna Barracks near Sand Gross Market in Lagos. I had our first child there with six female relatives taking care of my daughter and I.

Although a big veranda was attached to our one room apartment, the place became too small for my relatives, the baby and me.

 I got in touch with my husband in Cameroon about my predicament and he pleaded with me to be patient until he returned to Nigeria.

He assured me that we shall move out of the barracks to rent a house. When he returned, his search for an apartment didn’t yield a positive result.

He had to go to the Police Commandant to formally request for another apartment. The Commandant, a British, sympathised with our plight and he allocated a self-contained one-bedroom apartment with plenty of unbelievable space on the first floor of the Jebba Police Barracks.

He also facilitated our movement to the place with two big police trucks. When the military took over power in 1966 and Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson was appointed the first Military Governor of Lagos State, one of the first duties he performed was to visit police formations and Jebba Barracks was to be part of his itinerary.

Surprisingly, Toyin, our first daughter, who was a toddler then, was chosen to present flowers to the governor out of all the other children at Jebba Police Barracks. I rejected the idea at first but my husband made me to understand that, Toyin was picked at a meeting of very senior police officers and she had to do the presentation.

He advised me to ensure she was properly dressed for the occasion. In compliance with her father’s wish, I bought her a beautiful dress and matching shoes.

When the governor saw Toyin with the flowers, he was enchanted by the cute little girl such that he carried her in his arms and hugged her before accepting the flowers from her.

He also made a pronouncement at the ceremony. The foundation stone of the Police Railway Station at Jebba Compound. He then directed the father of the cute little girl should be in charge of the project from beginning to the end and that was how Baba Toyin was O.C. of the Railway Police Station. This development however, wasn’t palatable at all for Baba Toyin’s superior officers. Before our marriage, most of them who showed interest in me didn’t get far because of my total commitment to my man, whom they didn’t know then, but as soon as we were married, our marriage was gazetted and this revealed the identity of my husband who was a junior officer then.

As if being married to a junior officer was a crime, his good luck of getting a better accommodation at Jebba, the choice of his daughter to present flowers to the Lagos State Military Governor and his elevation as O.C. to supervise the construction of the EbuteMetta Railway Station, was too much for his superior officers to swallow. They bid their time for the appropriate time to strike.

Later, he was transferred from Lagos to Sokoto when our first daughter, Toyin, was still very young.

This was a big blow to me but when I had my quiet time with God, I dreamt that he was safe. Later I consulted the primate of my church, who told me that God had placed him in a comfortable position at Sokoto.

I later found out he was put in charge of the Police Barracks Canteen at Sokoto.

Most policemen who love to drink beer pass through the corridor of his house to buy beer in the canteen.

They usually poured it into small kettles to look like water and took it back to their barracks.

How did he return to Lagos?

There was a time I was transferred to the Police Confidential Registry in Lagos. There, I found a way to arrange the confidential files of police officers in alphabetical order such that it was very easy to locate files.

An unscheduled visit by Police Commissioner, YisaAdejo, to the office attracted a special commendation from him because of the ease with which he located the information he was looking for. I exploited this relationship later to influence my husband’s transfer to Lagos.

Adejo said Baba Toyin’s transfer was an official directive that affected many police officers because Lagos was overcrowded then.

He assured me he would do something about it. A few months later, somebody informed me that a conference of senior police officers was going to take place in Adejo’s house.

My informant told me that an elderly man who got whatever he wanted from Adejo because he was like a father to him was going to be at the conference.

On the day in question, I went to Adejo’s house and met the elderly man in question and I gave him a full salute meant for a very senior police officers.

The elderly man wondered aloud why I gave him the salute when he was not even a police officer. I said I assumed he was a senior police officer in mufti. He then beckoned Adejo to excuse himself from the conference for a few minutes.

When Adejo came to meet us outside, he asked him whether he knew me and he said I’ve been troubling him over the transfer of my husband to Sokoto which had to do with preponderance of too many senior police officers in Lagos.

The elderly man said the hen will always find a way to the place it had laid eggs.

He prevailed on him to effect the transfer of my husband back to Lagos before the end of that week. To God is the glory.

A signal for the immediate transfer of my husband back to Lagos was sent to Sokoto and this was done before that week ran out. The family reunion was fantastic and until he retired from the police force, he was not transferred outside Lagos again.

When did you join the Police Traffic Unit?

While I was still in the Police Confidential Secretary’s Office in 1969, Police Commissioner YisaAdejo summoned me to his office at Lion Building. When I got there, he gave me an assignment to descend heavily on the Danfo drivers who ply many routes in Lagos without adequate papers; they were not obeying traffic rules; they overload their vehicles with passengers and deliberately refuse to pick passengers at designated bus stops, thereby constituting nuisance to other motorists on many roads in Lagos.

He had earlier directed the Ijora Police Station to eradicate this abnormality but the station fell short of his expectation, hence his decision to hand the assignment to me. I requested for three offices with typists at Igbosere, EbuteMetta and Yaba in the Magistrate Court premises with type writers to prepare court summons for erring drivers.

Adejo made everything I requested for available. He also made me the Officer in Charge of a 30- man Special Traffic Task Force to execute his directive. My charge to every member of the squad was for them to do their job efficiently and refuse taking bribe offered them. I solicited and got the cooperation of judges in these three court premises to extend their closing time from 2pm to 4pm to fast track trials for danfo drivers who contravened traffic rules.

We embarked on this assignment with tenacity and very soon commercial drivers found it difficult to operate like they used to. The traffic atrocities of the danfo drivers were reduced to the barest minimum which of course, created enemies from within and outside the police force.

The zero tolerance for bribe from most members of the task force was tantamount to loss of income to some police officers, while the commercial vehicle drivers who had been convicted in court, found it difficult to operate and without valid papers. Both disgruntled group decided to map out strategies to circumvent the obvious success of the task force.

 A Judas was within our squad. She was the only officer from the police C. I. D. Her task was to plant money in any of our vehicles but Commissioner Adejo somehow discovered this plot and warned me to ensure that we must station one squad member inside and outside every vehicle we operate with whenever any of our patrol vehicles was parked. We complied immediately. No sooner had we done this than we observed frequent patrol of C. I .D. police vehicles wherever we park our patrol vehicles.

One fateful day, I was on duty checking vehicle particulars, a commercial lorry sped at top speed towards me with the obvious aim to run me over but God made me jump over the nearest drainage to safety while the driver who drove the lorry, ran into the drain and gave up the ghost. This incident renewed my total trust in the God of C&S.

This was because Baba Jumoke had earlier told me that, attempts on my life was going to be made but he assured me that God was going to be there for me at all times. The lorry was towed to the police station.

This was when the lady Judas amongst us swung into action. She had told the owners of the accident vehicle that she could secure the release of the lorry if she was given a substantial sum of money to bribe me. When she came into my office some days later, she said she has come to see me but I told members of my squad to walk her out and followed her outside our office.

Then, I confronted her with the failed plot hatched by her colleagues in the C. I. D. to plant money in our patrol vehicles and some other unsubstantiated petitions against our squad. With the total failure of the two plots, I accused her of wanting to plant marked money in our office. She was totally shocked and left in utter disgrace.

Why did you abhor taking bribe when many of your colleagues in the police force take it?

My father, Chief Akintona was the Baale of Igbo Olobi Village in the Egbadoarea in Ogun State where I come from, he made sure I was catered for from birth until I joined the police force. That infused in me a sense of self dignity and integrity.

Aside this, no bribe was offered with any goodwill because the giver was blackmailed; threatened or forced to part with his or her money. Some of those who gave bribes rain curses on those who collected it from them.

Can you please compare the police force of your days to that of today?

 I don’t even want see myself as a former police officer. One of our children, LeyeOyebade, who joined the police force before we left, was properly tutored not to tarnish the family name.

When he was at Panti Police Station, the notice of ‘Bail is Free’ was conspicuously and strategically placed for everybody to see. So, nobody offered or took bribe throughout the time he was there. He got rid of all junks around the Panti Police Barracks. Today, he has become the A. I. G. of Zone 11, which comprises Ondo, Osun and Oyo State Police Commands.

How long did you spend as Head of the Special Traffic Task Force Squad?

I spent just three months.

 Just three months!

Yes now!  My squad was able to eradicate the menace through God’s will within three months. The last assignment was when we moved many vehicle sparked in Chief Biney’scompound in Yaba to the Magistrate Court, Yaba. This was what the Ijora Police Station wasn’t able to do the job but God enabled us to do it.

Commissioner Adejo must have been very pleased?

I became a celebrity overnight. My husband was controlling traffic at Tom Jones in Lagos when a driver committed a traffic offence and he was booked. He parked his car, came to my husband and offered him an envelope.

My husband used the envelope to slap him for daring to insult him. The man fell down and later struggled to stand up. On the opposite side of the road, some C. I. D. police officers were taking pictures of what had just transpired between both of them. The police officers crossed the road to meet them and told my husband they were surprised at what they had seen.

They showed the pictures of how he slapped the offending motorist with his envelope and after he fell down to beg my husband, who had assumed that they (officers) wanted to accuse him of doing something wrong.

They congratulated my husband for being one of the few police officers with self-respect and integrity. They also showed him pictures of various policemen caught putting bribe money into their shoe stockings. He now told them that he was IyaToyin’s husband. They requested him to please take them to see his wife.

He brought them home and introduced us to one another. They were so delighted to meet me. They said they were happy to meet a police couple that abhor the dismal culture of taking bribes which had become the norm among some police officers. I told them that bribe taking was not heard of in the families we came from and we have told two of our children in the Police Force, Leye and his immediate junior brother to distance themselves from taking bribes.

When did you retire from the Nigerian Police Force?

I retired as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) but my promotion letter as Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) came after my retirement.

How did you become a Seraph?

Now you are talking. The founder of our church, Alagba J. A. Aribilola was an Ijesha cloth trader who had a church at Abalabi in Ogun State.

Many people go there for prayers and take water there for sanctification during an annual special service. Just before this regular annual event was to take place in a particular year, he fell into a trance and the Holy Spirit made him disappear into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, where he observed white fasting and was in constant communication with God.

After the 40th day, he was woken up from deep slumber and was directed to go to an African Church in Abalabi.

AlagbaAribilola, also known as Baba Jumoke, went to the church in the midnight as spiritually directed and slept in the sanctuary of the church.

When church members came and saw him lying still in the church at daybreak; they panicked and ran but a prophet eventually told them the man lying down in the church sanctuary was not dead but had been in trance for 40 days somewhere else but was spiritually directed to the African Church to recuperate.

When he woke up, he gave appropriate information on those to contact and that was how we were able to locate Baba Jumoke and took him back home.

Later, we got information that somebody who was behaving like an insane man was living inside a marshy suburb of Agege so that we can arrange the police to save him. When we got there, we found out that the person that was reported to us was Baba Jumoke.

He told us that he was spiritually directed to establish his own church at Agege.

Baba Toyin and myself with some other people, rallied round to first make the place habitable before we put a church in place over a period of months.

While this development was taking place, worshippers at a mosque opposite the church began placing all sorts of sacrifice like tiras and even incense with bad odours at the open space around the church overnight.

All attempts to persuade the Imam of the mosque to prevail on his people didn’t yield positive result but Baba Jumoke continuously made supplications to God to intervene.

At God’s time, the congregation of the mosque started diminishing until it closed shop. This was an unbelievable feat that convinced my husband and me to become staunch Seraphs. In appreciation of God’s intervention, Baba Jumoke christened the church, Sacred C&S Church, AjagunNla Kristi Parish, off Alfa Nla Street, Oke Koto bus- stop, Agege. This was in 1968. The church has six parishes today.

What advice do you have for seraphs?

My late husband had always said that there is one life to live. As for me, I‘ll forever want to be a seraph as many times as I come back to this world. My candid advice to seraphs is to worship God as St. Moses OrimoladeTuolase left it for us. When he started directing affairs at Ojokoro, we never saw him perform any sacrifice or embark on fetish practices. Please, let our Baba Aladuras and church elders practice the C&S as it was handed down to us by Moses OromoladeTunolase.

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