Mr Akindele House, Isale Asaka in the Foko area of Ibadan, an erstwhile sleepy and serene community in the capital city of Oyo State, came alive on Tuesday and it became a Mecca of sort, when the news of a miniature mermaid (omo Yemoja) filtered through the city.
It took a while before the Nigerian Tribune crew got access to the house, a storey building, when it finally did, the head of the family, Alhaji Raufu A. Salau, said he was sleeping upstairs when he heard a lot of unusual noise which forced him to come downstairs. According to him:
“Ramota, his granddaughter, sells fried and roasted fish in the house and, as usual, purchased a carton of frozen fish that morning. She was in the process of cleaning the fish and separating those to be roasted from the ones to be fried when she was said to have screamed out loud and called on neighbours to come to her aid.”
Salau, a retired civil servant, said he heard people asking after him but rather than come upstairs to see him, the lady ran to meet her Shehu, an Islamic cleric, who followed her home and offered some prayers in the Islamic way before the neighbours, who had begun to converge on the scene, could take the pictures of the strange “fish.” The first person who took the picture of the strange fish was said to have had his phone shattered mysteriously.
Alhaja Alirat, a member of the community, told the Nigerian Tribune that she did not see the mermaid but the lady who claimed to have seen it, but declined to speak with the press, told her that the mermaid, though very small in size initially, grew bigger and was fish from waist downward and human being from waist upwards, with mouth, nose, eyes and long hair, which it was swinging to cover its eyes when the mammoth crowd thronged to the scene to look at it.
She also said it was alleged that the mermaid spoke, begging Ramota, the fish seller, not to expose it but that Ramota shouted out of fear.
Meanwhile, one Miss Osungbemi, an Osun worshipper, claimed that the mermaid was on a mission to uplift Ramota financially.
Rather than shout, she said Ramota ought to have looked for a big basin filled with water and throw the mermaid inside, adding that she should have then called on Osun worshippers who would call the mermaid by its cognomen and tutor the lady on how to appease it.
She said Ramota would have become a consultant, diagnosing and treating people with aid of the mermaid, who would be telling her what to do, even as she claimed that someone in the house where the mermaid was found must have worshipped Osun at a point in his or her life.
Members of the crowd, who did not give their names, confirmed that Ramota’s mother that had worshipped Osun before and that before the occurrence, she had received messages to visit the Osun Osogbo grove to worship Osun, but that she had been complaining that there was no time.
It was overheard that the mermaid had been taken to the house of the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao, in Ibadan.