Madam Sariyu, also known as Iya Onifufu who was brutalised by DSS operatives for joining the Revolutionnow protest wad visited by members of the Coalition for revolution CORE, Dunsin Samuel, recounts their team visitation ordeal as thus:
The Trip To Iya Onifufu’s House:
Following the viral news report of the 70-year old Fufu seller who joined the # RevolutionNow protest and was brutalised by security operatives, we embarked on a journey to her house in Osogbo and we got to her street at around 10am, but couldn’t get to her house till 10:30am due to the bad road network. Our arrival at her house was greeted by a warm reception and hospitality.
Mama Sariyu however gave a very long narrative and insight about her life, struggles and reason for joining the protest.
When asked why she joined the protest, she said she joined the protest because she heard the protesters talking about the suffering of Nigeria and she couldn’t pretend she was not also suffering. Especially, when she heard someone talking about unemployment and she has unemployed children who couldn’t get job after graduating for several years.
She said she has been a good lover of education from childhood, and despite the fact that she witnessed the Awolowo’s free education era, her dreams never materialised because her father was against girl-child education. He believed the result of sending a female to school is unwanted pregnancy.
Then, she was introduced to Fufu sales at a very young age when Awolowo was the premier of the western-region and she has remained in the Fufu-hawking business for several decades till present. When asked the highest profit she has made in a day, she said N2000 and that was when the Nigerian economy was good, however, since the recent downturn in the Nigerian economy, her gains have fluctuated between N800-N1000. An amount she expends in the same day due to daily needs. Owing to the competitive fufu sales in Osogbo, she wakes up as early 5am to start the mixing of raw cassava with her hearthen and crude implements (which she showed us). Then, she sets for sale at around 10am and does not return until 5pm due to the many distant locations she has to reach before making maximum sales. She cited locations like Okefia, Olaiya Junction and many other locations in Osogbo.
When asked about why she doesn’t have a bed, she said she used to have one before it got burnt in a fire accident that happened over 10 years ago. And since then she has been managing an hand-sewn cement-nylon as mat.
We asked to enter her room and she agreed, however, the room could barely contain the five of us due to the small-size and we could barely take quality pictures because it had only just a small window outlet. However, we took pictures of her dark asbestos which is a remain of the fire accident. She lives in a mud house with no power supply for 15 years.
When asked what Mama thinks about how a good society should be, Mama said a good society should have good roads, regular power supply, employment opportunities, and most importantly, accessible education. Mama said she had always wished for a government of the masses- just like Awolowo did in his days. And not just ‘JeguduJera’ in her own words.
The AAC/TIB Osun coordinators with Barrister Alfred Adegoke also paid a courtesy visit to her and further educated her about the inter-class war between the ruling Nigerian elites and the suffering masses, hence, she should not be swayed by bogus gifts or donations from the thieving political class. And she affirmed her stance to always identify with the oppressed and expressed interest to always participate in subsequent revolutionary programmes and protests if notified.
P.S: Mama doesn’t have an account number but efforts are ongoing to create one on Wednesday after the Sallah break. And the details of the account would be communicated afterwards for uniformity of donations. Also, Mama said she is more interested in seeing that her children become employed before her death.