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S.T SOAP: THE FALL OF A PROMISING INDIGENOUS BRAND


In 1979 Alhaji Safiriyu Tiamiyu started what is known today as S.T Soaps Limited with the sum of five thousand naira (#5000),  expanding from the corridors of his home to erecting a state of the art factory in Ijebu-Mushin, Ogun State.

 

Despite his wee level of education, S.T understands the importance of advertisements on effective marketing, he invested a huge sum on advertisement, the brand's Jingle on the then Radio Nigeria and across media houses still evokes nostalgic thoughts. By the early '90s, the company expand from soap making to making polythene products having over a thousand workforce most of which are inhabitants of Ijebu-Mushin.

 

S.T's sporadic downfall began in 2004 when his factory workers began to clamour for a staff union, S.T was reportedly dissatisfied with the idea of a staff union within the premises of his business, he argued that the idea is not appropriate in a sole proprietorship enterprise, the staffs who alleged that they are being maltreated by the company's management, started a protest by abandoning their tasks. During the protest, one of the staff allegedly damaged a mixing machine. This infuriated S.T who invited the police to arrest the vandal but on getting to the scene the police fired intermittently in the air and arrested everybody they found including non-staffs and strangers. One of the villagers (a deaf boy) was said to have been hit by a stray bullet.

 

The police involvement created a complete pandemonium, the villagers got enraged, they vowed to raze the factory if their children were not released from police custody, the old women threatened to protest naked with a left foot sandal and a left earring, realising the consequences of his actions, S.T quickly called for the released of the protesters and everyone arrested at the scene. It took the intervention of the police D.P.O to quell the growing disturbance, both parties (S.T and his staffs) were called to a roundtable and a compromise was reached.

 

However, on Friday, May 13th, 2005, five police officers from the Elewe-Eran police command, Abeokuta, stormed the factory, S.T was arrested, one of the villagers called Baba Oníkèké, had implicated him in a kidnapping and ritual case, Baba Onikeke alleged that S.T regularly buys human parts from him. S.T's home was ransacked but nothing was found, the court case spans for several months but the case was finally dismissed by His worshipped, O.S Moronfolu 1 of the Magisterial district, Chief Magistrate court, Ijebu-Ode.

 

Following these incidents, S.T was unable to regain his feet, he went into depression, his life never remains the same. He, however, died on October 5, 2020, after years of battling an undisclosed illness.



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