Mr Ebube Eddy Promise aka Bebex, one of the biggest autopart traders in Ladipo Lagos is known by many as an easygoing, unassuming and straightforward man. An Igbo, he has been in Lagos for years and as a trader he has made a lot of friends especially amongst his Yoruba neighbours where he operates and lives in Mushin.
Many of his neighbours attest to his good neighbourliness and love for all. According to some, he is generous to a fault and he has helped many. For years he has lived peacefully amongst his neighbours without any incident and has grown so used to members of the Mushin community that he’s on first name terms with many. A freak incident that was to him a mere joke on Thursday is however almost turning things around negatively for the amiable IGBO trader. What started as a playful banter with one of his neighbours is now almost destroying the hard earned reputation he has built for years without incident.
According to our investigation, Bebex’s ordeal started in the evening of Thursday April 20.That day, Bebex was outside his posh house, exchanging banters as he used to do when he saw a lady, one of his neighbours known as James Omolara, sauntering past with a bowl of food in her hand.
It was gathered that on seeing the lady, Bebex called her and jokingly told her he would love to share the food she was carrying with her amongst other good-natured banters. As would later be revealed, the lady was in no good mood for banters or compliments. Out of annoyance or what the lady would later explain as misplaced aggression, the lady shouted at Bebex and abused him rudely.
According to those who witnessed the altercation, Bebex tried to maintain his cool and accept the insults because he suspected that given the recent inter-ethnic tensions caused by the elections, people might misunderstand the event as an escalation of the tribal misunderstandings. Unfortunately, the Lagosian learnt, one of Bebex’s boys made the matter worse by going ahead to accost the girl for being rude to his boss. The Lagosian also learnt that the lady’s mother soon came around to confront Bebex, giving him two resounding slaps. The woman, according to witnesses, was in no mood to listen to Bebex’s explanation. Her aim was to fight for her daughter. This was when other neighbours joined and the matter was soon escalating to an inter ethnic brouhaha.
When he realized that the crisis was becoming uncontrollable, Bebex according to witnesses managed to plead with the people around not to fight, but when things were getting out of hands he decided to call officers from the nearest police post to intervene.
After the police intervention and attempt to settle the matter, Bebex told our correspondent that he thought the matter had been amicable settled. However, he received the shock of his life when he was alerted to the viral video of the lady accusing him of harrasment and sexual molestation on social media. The Ladipo autoparts big boy and his workers are reportedly receiving threats and blackmail from the girl and some unknown people trying to tarnish his image.
Efforts to speak with Omolara personally failed but The Lagosian obtained several tapes of her either accusing Bebex or later recant ing the accusations. Please watch below the viral video where the lady initially accused Bebex of harassment and molestation.
In order to get to the root of the unfortunate event, our correspondent approached Mr. Bebex to hear his side of the story after the girl’s accusation had gone viral. Below are excerpts from the interview:
THE LAGOSIAN: May we know you, Sir?
BEBEX: This is the Bebex that was accused of assaulting a lady in Mushin. Though I did not hear what she was saying in Yoruba I was made to understand that she accused me of molesting her.
THE LAGOSIAN: In the tape, she said she was passing by your office, and when you saw her, you asked her to bring everything she had with her, that you had money and you would take care of her. So she accused you of harrasing her despite knowing she is a married woman. Tell us your own side.
BEBEX: Let me start from where all this things came, because this is not something that is supposed to bring issue. But I know where the problem is coming from. Let me go back, I own a house in Mushin. I own an office in Mushin. I work in Mushin. I am friend to everybody in the street.
So that day, which was Thursday, and the next day is Salah, somebody called me that he was bringing his car. So I was waiting for the person to bring that car. I came outside the gate and it was open. I am a jovial person that plays with everybody. If you are trying to do oga there, they would be vexing. I tried my best but who has been hated has been hated.
I don’t know this lady, but this is what I observed. The lady was carrying food in her hand. I said, “My dear, you fit give me this food wey you hold for hand?” The girl said, “What did you just say?” As I repeated what I said, this girl started insulting me. I don’t know whether she misunderstood me. My boy that was a rewire (all my workers are all Yoruba and Hausa. I only have a single igbo worker.as mechanic). This girl was just shouting, calling me stupid. The other girl that followed her also insulted me rudely before my rewire boy told them to stop. He said, “if na your Yoruba person, you go insult am like that? He only told you something and you started insulting him.” Even my gateman Shittu wanted to go and fight for me but I told him to go back to avoid additional crisis. As I told Shittu to come back, before I knew it Ali had gone to touch her, not even slap ooo. And that was how everything escalated.
The next thing, everybody from nowhere just came outside and started accusing me. The only people that supported me were the ones that were around that saw what happened. In fact, some Igbos there came out to support me. There was almost a war but I told them not to fight. If I allowed my boys to fight, it would have been another thing. I told them “no fight”, because I didn’t want them to tarnish my image.
Then the mother of the girl came and started shouting, “Who beat my daughter?” When the woman heard it was me, she slapped me two times and tore my cloth. I didn’t touch her back. I was waiting for a man to touch me before I fight back. I kept quiet. People were about to fight at night, but I called the nearest police at Daleko. When the police came, the girl that insulted me, was no where to be found. The police then told me to enter my car and be going. As I entered my car, another girl from nowhere came to my car and started hitting my G-Wagon. It was when the police warned her not to try it again that she now left. I didn’t know what I did to them. I told the police to help me watch over my place, because those people were threatening to burn down my place. As I got home, I was called that some people had broken into my place. Reaching there, my door was open. I saw my side mirrors that hung in the shop, everything was on the ground scattered. The people around told me that police came and mistakenly arrested that my Yoruba boy that wanted to slap the girl. I had to call the police and told them what happened, and they released the boy immediately. When they released him, those people in that street now went to cook another story. When I woke up in the morning, I was invited to the police at Osolo, I didn’t know what they went to tell them. I got to the police station and wrote my statement. The girl said her own side of the story.
Then I saw a video on Friday where this girl was blackmailing me. She was saying all sort of rubbish in Yoruba. She said they stole her iPhone 14. I didn’t understand where all those were coming from.
THE LAGOSIAN: Did you see any phone with her?
BEBEX: I didn’t see any phone with her. If they stole phone, they can do investigation. I doubt she had any iPhone 14. Even me Bebex didn’t have the mind to buy it myself because it is so expensive. But if she says they stole her iPhone 14, I can buy another one for her. When I saw the video, I was very angry and provoked. I showed the police the video. I told them I would press charges against the lady unless she did another video apologizing and decanting the false allegations so that incase the thing go viral, I will send the video of apology to people. After realizing her mistake she went to do another video of apology.
The girl later came back to me, kneeling down, begging me that it was her sister that told her to do the blackmailing video. If I want to sue that girl, I will sue her, because this damage of my name. When the girl came to apologize, the told me make agreement with them that I will not post the apology video. I agreed with them that once the blackmailing video did not go viral, I will not post the apology video. But to my greatest surprise, when I came out to the shop, everybody was just looking at me, calling me, meaning the blackmailing video has already gone viral.
Some people have been threatening to burn my place. Even the boy, Ali, they are threatening to kill him.
At this juncture, The Lagosian asked to speak with BEBEX’s aide, Ali.
THE LAGOSIAN: Malam Ali what actually happened?
ALI: Oga dey play with the girl. Oga tell him make he give am her food but the girl cursed Oga and I tried to stop her. Oga no touch am. Oga tell me make I comot for the place say make I no fight. The girl mama come back come hold Oga cloth. He give Oga slap. Oga tell me make I comot leave that matter.
Meanwhile, the lady in question has since recanted her initial story in another video. In this second video she confessed that she madẹ up the accusation of harassment against Mr. Bebex out of anger, that she had been nursing a grudge before the event and she over-reacted out of possible frustration. She went ahead to apologize and infer that the matter had been settled. Below is the second video containing her confession.
Meanwhile, Mr Ebube Promise aka Bebex believes this problem might not be unconnected to the fallout of the recent elections in Lagos. In his view, some of the neighbours believed that he supported another party against the party most neighbours were rooting for. He however said this was not true because he was not a card carrying member of any party and he even confessed to not having a voter’s card. “I didn’t vote for anybody. Rather, I just went out that day to buy drinks for many of my neighbours. I don’t know why they were seeing me as a supporter of the opposition party. I am not a politician. I hate trouble and I want peace with my neighbours.”
The Lagosian understands that the matter is now being handled by the Lagos State Police Command and feelers by our correspondent indicate that the police, having seen that the accusation has no ground for escalation, may help settle the matter once and for all. The Lagosian however urges the police authorities to ensure that adequate security is provided around Shotimoye Street Ladipo to forestall any untoward happenings. Effort should also be made to bring the two sides together for an amicable settlement of this unfortunate event. Anything else may lead to unnecessary escalation of inter ethnic tension in Lagos.