A couple of weeks ago, a Jamaican artiste contacted popular Ajegunle musician, Baba Fryo with a request to feature him in a remix of his hit song, Denge Pose, which ruled the airwaves in the late 1990s to early 2000s.
For the musician, it was a good piece of news. Obviously determined to make the most of the opportunity, he did not waste time, as he hit the studios immediately and started recording.
But on that fateful day, precisely Sunday May 19, little did Baba Fryo know that he was a moment away from receiving the beatings of his life.
In this chat, the Denge Pose singer shared his experience, narrating the blow-by-blow account of how he was assaulted and almost kidnapped by fake soldiers.
Hear him: “Sunday, May 19 was a very happy day for me. When I woke up that morning, I had no idea what lay ahead of me. It all started the previous evening, around 5pm. My producer and me were returning from the studio after a recording. A Jamaican artiste had contacted me, saying he wanted us to work together. He wanted us to do a remix of my biggest hit, Denge Pose, which was produced by Nelson Brown back in the day. All had gone well and we were on our way back home when hell burst loose at Alaba Rago bus stop, along Lagos/Badagary Expressway, Lagos.”
According to Baba Fryo, there was a gridlock and he was stuck. Eventually, he had to make way for a bus driving one-way because of the terrible state of the road. But as soon as he reversed his car, he got the shock of his life when a soldier smashed his side mirror into pieces!
He continued: “The first thing I heard was a loud bang, as one of the soldiers smashed my side mirror. I was in shock and right there at the wheel, he started raining blows on me; and before I knew it, another soldier joined him and they said I should come down from my car. They dragged me out of the car and started hitting me. I screamed that this was an assault, because I hadn’t done anything wrong, but they wouldn’t listen.
“A large crowd gathered, pleading with them to let me go, but for over 30 minutes, they kept beating me. Along the line, some soldiers passing by also joined them and the beating intensified. At this point, the Hausa boys became angry and wanted to rescue me but were afraid of the men in army uniform. Then, I insisted that it was a case of assault, and so they must take me to the barracks for the matter to be resolved. They said no, and rather suggested taking me to Ikeja Cantonment. But then, I insisted on Ojo Barracks.
“At this time, I was bleeding from my head wounds and was scared that the people may pounce on them. They eventually agreed to take me to Ojo Barracks. I was forced on a bike while one of the soldiers sat behind me to ensure I did not escape. The other soldier boarded another bike and we sped off.”
Right on their way, a drama ensued. Baba Fryo recalled: “However, due to the poor state of the road, the motorbikes had to switch lanes. But when they got to the point where they were supposed to take a diversion in order to access Ojo Barracks, they sped off and I started shouting. I created a scene and a crowd instantly gathered. Eventually, the soldiers were forced to turn and take the diversion, but when we were half way to the barracks, they suddenly stopped.
“That was when a female soldier alighted from a bus and said I was lucky she wasn’t the one whose path I had crossed, because she would have terribly dealt with me. But all this while, I insisted we take the case to Ojo Barracks. We were busy talking and before I knew it, the soldiers had zoomed off! There and then, I knew they were fake soldiers. Obviously, they knew they were about to be exposed.
“Determined to make a report, I immediately jumped on a bike that took me to the barracks. I went straight and reported the case to the Military Police, who asked for evidence but I couldn’t provide any. They told me there was nothing they could do, as there was no proof that soldiers assaulted me.
When the Military Police guys said Baba Fryo had no evidence to prove his case, he was taken aback. However, the musician was determined to bring the soldiers to book. He narrated further: “I went back to Alaba Rago and gave my phone number to the Hausa boys that were sympathetic to my plight. I told them that I suspected that the guys were fake soldiers and that whenever they see them, they should call me.
“The next day, I was with the Military Police at Ojo Barracks when I received a call from the Hausa boys that the guys had been spotted at Alaba Rago. I immediately informed the Military Police and we went there and apprehend one of the guys where he was trying to scam a young man with a fake promise of recruiting him into the Nigerian Army.
“The Military Police instantly conducted a search on him and found a packet of Tramadol including an army fez cap. It was later revealed that Ishaq Mohammed and his gang were fake soldiers who always terrorise and extort money from innocent citizens. Now, since the matter involved civilians, the next day, we went to report the case at the police station.
“My brother, I received very serious beating at the hands of these fake soldiers. I have even lost count of how much I have spent but thank God I was not kidnapped. Only God knows what would have happened if I had not raised the alarm when they sped past Ojo Barracks.”
Meanwhile, Baba Fryo is full of praise for men of the Nigerian Army, most especially, the Military Police for reacting swiftly to his plight, and the subsequent arrest of Mohammed Ishaq, who is currently cooling his heels in a police cell, as the case has been charged to court.