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The Travails of Apapa Destitute

The Travails of Apapa DestituteBy Oyeniyi Iwakun

One may not know the true picture of events unless an august visit is paid to Apapa at night. As some are sleeping at the comfort of their homes, some are under the bridge hopelessly. They gallivant throughout the day in search of their daily bread even when it is obvious that they have no specific job. Probably most of them are beggars; scavengers while others do menial jobs like shoe mending and fetching of water for residents. This, they solely rely on for survival.

MMS Plus decided to get first hand information as a visit was paid to Apapa last week Wednesday. “The heavy rain had just stopped and I decided to alight around the Marine bridge en-route Ajegunle-Ijora-Apapa axis. It was around 12:10pm already. The petrol vendors known as “black market sellers” were at work as customers were on high patronage. I observed from distance a group of people under the bridge so I decided to move close as if I was looking for someone. Astonishingly, they were more populated than expected. Most of them were sleeping on the wet floor even as erosion flowed around them while others were sitting. How they could sleep in that condition was still mysterious to me. Most of them were speaking Hausa and obviously residing there. How do they survive the cold weather, mosquitoes, and other discomforts? I wondered. None even realized that I was a stranger as everybody minded his business. After spending some hours, I left, thinking deeply about the whole scenario” our reporter narrated.

This is obviously the travails of some people in Lagos. Although, most of them are from the Northern parts of the country but it doesn’t mean that those from the South aren’t among them. I have had courage to speak with one of them who identified herself as Amina at Ijora after I gave her some money. She reluctantly  narrated her ordeal to me on how her fiancée who was a scavenger had brought her to Lagos and she gladly obliged even when she had no idea of what she was coming to do and how she would survive. She had ever since then turned to a professional beggar who sleep on the streets. The averagely tall and dark skinned woman who is probably in her late thirties already has five children who are also into begging business. When quizzed if she had any regrets for her decision to relocate to Lagos, MMS plus was shocked to realize that she didn’t see any wrong with what she was doing and living condition. Such is believed to be the story majority would have to tell.

The question is, should Lagos state begin to look into the influx of people into the City and restrict them? Should the government launch an arrest of people gallivanting the streets without specific business or residence?  All these should be put into serious thought.

It should be noted that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. These people are facing serious challenges. They have never tasted the sweetness of life because life itself hasn’t been fair to them. The world means different thing to them. They have experienced the most turbulent situations in life and they can indulge in any criminal activities all in the name of surviving.

The Lagos state Government should do something to help these people. Anyone who has no job or residence in Lagos should be assisted to return home. It is not about traveling to the city. Something profitable can also be made out of the resources in the villages.

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