Welcome to Lagos slum where residents live on the lagoon

Published 8 years ago by: Aliuniyi lawal
at 11:33 AM, 9/02/2011 (8 years ago)

(1374 | Gistmaniac) (m)

Lagos is usually regarded as the Centre of Excellence. It is the nation’s commercial hub and home to people from the many tribes and ethnic groups scattered all over Nigeria.

It is in Lagos that you’ll also find Nigeria’s most notorious dark spots and ghettoes. Among such is Ilaje, a sprawling slum situated by the lagoon in the Bariga area of the metropolis. A recent trip by the reporters revealed the sordid condition that Ilaje residents subject themselves to.

As you saunter near the settlement, your eyes are assailed by wooden houses built on the blackish waters of the Lagos Lagoon. You also see the dirty, fragile and poorly fed children and teenagers playing about, and the sickening environment reminiscent of a large but long forgotten refuse dump.
In an era of cholera epidemic in the country, the children are exposed to the putrid environment in which human excreta, repulsive wastes and all sort of debris freely float. Evidently, the inhabitants produce many of these wastes. The reporters spotted a three-year-old kid passing excreta on the water.

The reporters had gone to Ilaje during the week, and the sight of a good number of teenagers of school age roaming about the slum naturally aroused their curiosity. They soon discovered that the parents could not afford western education for their kids. Some of them interviewed could not communicate in English; they could only speak in Yoruba and other native tongues.
It is believed that between 15 million and 18 million people reside in Lagos, making it one of the most populated cities in the world. With this population explosion, many residents are forced to live in deplorable conditions. In Ilaje, the situation is particularly pathetic because the people literally live on the lagoon.

Apart from the row of shanties clustered close to the bank of the lagoon, many of the people, mainly the Egun, the Ilaje (from Ondo State) and the Ijaw live in huts built of planks, bamboo and iron roofing sheets right atop the lagoon.
At Ilaje, what you see is a dirty environment, poverty, illiteracy, filth and other social ills.
Besides the ravaging scourge of illiteracy, poverty and filth in the community, the consumption of marijuana is equally rampant. It is mostly referred to as eja (fish). At every nook and cranny in the community, you’ll always find someone smoking weed. You would even hear youths asking one another if eja is in stock.

A 13-year-old girl, Safi, told the reporters that she wasn’t in school because her father could not afford the cost of her education. Speaking in Yoruba, she said: “My father cannot send us to school. He’s a fisherman in this place. He hardly makes enough money to feed my mother and the other six children.”

She was asked what she would want to become in future. “I will be selling food,” she responded without hesitation. Why, asked the reporters. “Because that is what my mama sells,” Safi said.
Indeed, majority of the inhabitants engage mainly in fishing on the lagoon and selling foodstuff, firewood and fish. But the reporters also discovered a shanty described as a school. Made of planks and disused roofing sheets, the ‘building’ is where some of the children are taught the basics of education.

Living in this slum isn’t as cheap as you might imagine. According to one Madam Ruth, an aluminum shack which she described as a room costs N1000 per month while a room in houses built with cement blocks cost between N1500 and N2000.
Daily Sun learnt that it costs N1000 to rent a room in one of the huts on the water made of bamboo and thatch. And even on the lagoon, the usual Lagos practice of paying homage to Omo-Onile (land owners) applies.

You must buy a space on the water for about N40,000 from the Baale (local community leader). And while you are building on the water, you still have to settle the same omo onile so that they would not disturb the workers.
Many of the recently built huts are covered with aluminum roofing sheets. Yet many of the thatched huts are falling apart, with ugly looking curtains and tarpaulins holding them together.

Asked what would be needed to own a ‘house’ on the water, an inhabitant explained that between N150, 000 and N200,000 would turn one into the owner of a property on the lagoon. He also revealed that to forestall the usual exploitation by ‘landowners’ which results in the high cost of space on the water, their Baales (local community leader) had bought a large space which is then sliced and resold at subsidized rates to other members of the community intending to build their homes on the water. Such arrangement, he said, reduces the harassment from the Omo Oniles who might bring dangerous items to attract the residents.

How long does such ‘buildings’ last? In his words, the huts could stand strong for about 10 years if well constructed. But when asked how it would be discovered when the house is about to collapse, the man sounded unconvincing. “Well, those living there will know,” he informed.

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mallorca at 11:47 AM, 9/02/2011 (8 years ago)
(20440 | Addicted Hero) (m)

long sheet

Solidstonez at 09:58 PM, 17/07/2012 (7 years ago)
(37019 | Addicted Hero) (f)




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