• Friday, April 19, 2024
businessday logo


Cry havoc at the United Nations (Grime, ruin & remnants) (2)

Cry havoc at the United Nations (Grime, ruin & remnants) (2)

We must not forget the cash-laden bullion vans. Every day and night, it is a feisty no holds barred struggle for survival in jungle warfare. The ultimate supreme claim to preferential and deferential treatment is the “articulated” lorry belching smoke and poison.

Rather than press the mute button, it is time to carry the battle to the enemy. It is our last great hope. We are dealing with monumental human devastation and egregious desertion.

To start with, we must necessarily evaluate the prospects for a truce or a peace accord – between the oppressors and the oppressed (victims). The alternative is to disarm the oppressor for whom suppression is the weapon of first choice with intimidation as the ammunition.

We are right on the cliff edge of civilization. In the ravine below is the field of anarchy, chaos and vanquished hope. The elderly and the vulnerable count for nothing when the battle cry insists that might is right.

It is war crimes galore without declaration of war. We have willy-nilly walked through an unlocked door into a fire fight of rage and fury. Unprovoked threats have overwhelmed unwarranted invasion. Only more mendacity and sheer vindictiveness are on offer as derisory options.

Saint Augustine (13 November 354 AD, Tagaste, Numidia to 28 August 430 AD) may have had our dearest and priceless city in mind when he delivered judgement.

“Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.”

We must throw the “Omolanke” [four-wheel cart] and wheel barrows which for all we know may be ferrying arms and ammunition beneath the bricks and mortar piled sky high, into the mix as they regally and majestically compete for space on the highways and side streets. While gazing in awe there will be plenty of time and energy for reflection. We have chosen to confuse sacrifice with cowardice and empathy with denial.

Regardless of the feeble exertions of the overladen refuse disposal vans and intimidating compactors which ironically lament their own misuse and starvation, we are confronted with the spectre of grievous social wrong plus pompous lies and empty vanities.

The flashing billboards advertise the squalid cruelty of fryants who have mastered the black arts of tantalization – promise everything but deliver nothing.

We are compelled to endure the worst possible time where anger, grief and rage dictate the tune. We are utterly mortified by the prospect of a city that is not much different from an active war zone.

Our steadfast prayer is that the enemy is not provoked to the point of exercising the nuclear option; and thereby blow everything up. It is as frightening as it is terrifying. The magnitude of our calamity is beyond exaggeration.

In order to survive, we must become invincible and invisible. Our detractors have become even more irritating, insulting, aggressive, greedy, calculating and vindictive. Mendacity and subterfuge reign supreme.

As we seek to negotiate with friends and foes alike to switch gears from recurring conflict to peace, harmony and equilibrium, we must recognise that changes in circumstances require changes in strategy.

The critical issue is not just about facts but far more importantly crucial data.

It was W. Edwards Deming [1900 to 1993] who emphatically declared: “Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.”

There is an acute and embarrassing shortage of data regarding how many homes are without drinking water. It is the same with electricity which has been supplanted by 24/7 (twenty-four seven) non-stop generators pumping and belching lethal fumes into the hitherto fresh air and unpolluted eco-system.

Even more nightmarish are the data on crimes – ranging from rape to fraud, robbery, kidnapping, money rituals and murder to Ponzi schemes as well as impersonation (the living pretending to be dead and vice-versa !!).

Our worst nightmare has metamorphosed into our new reality.

As evidence of the state of affairs in our emerald city, here are two auditors’ reports.

(i) Front page headline of “ThisDay” newspaper of August 7 2022: “LEKKI TURNING INTO DIRTY, SPRAWLING SLUM – Joseph Edgar

“And they will be saying they live on the island. This week, something took me to Ikate and the sprawling dirt and decay was quite apparent. The poor laying, the decaying infrastructure for such a relatively new town development is so disappointing, I almost puked.

Lekki was a promise. It was expected to be a new vision for urban living in Africa. Fuelled by the new affluence of the Obasanjo era, it grew and grew. It became the ‘go to area’ for the new rich.

It expanded from the new toll gate area and breached almost the Chevron area. Buildings rose and developers made billions. Landowners started rubbing shoulders with oil sheiks and land-owning families became royalty, carving for themselves little kingdoms and gallivanting around the place with newfound wealth.

Today, as a result of an incestuous relationship between government, greedy landowners and primordial developers, what we have in Lekki today is a huge slum complete with drugs, crime and prostitution.

Read also: Cry havoc at the United Nations (Grime, ruin & remnants) (I)

As I drive down Ikate, all I see are buildings mostly built within the last 10 years in varying states of disrepair and desolation. It is sad and annoying. Built in clusters of demonic encircling, some already sinking with walls painted in green algae coming out from poor plumbing, you begin to wonder what really drives this tripartite alliance of wickedness.

Lekki is gone. The flooding is crazy as a result of terrible planning. No drainage and where you find some, they are blocked. Boreholes opened near sewage pits; we are just joking with bubonic plague. If God is not with us, the epidemic Lekki will foster in Africa will not be a child’s play.”

Now we have begun to see a movement back to Victoria Island and Ikoyi. The new rich who still have their wealth are migrating back as they see the encroachment of slum lifestyle on them. So now those who live in proper Ikoyi are saying, “I don’t go to Lekki for anything,” and Lekki mumu people are still saying, “I don’t go to the mainland for anything.” Mbok, stay in your slum and smell your opened cesspits and waddle through your floods and watch your daughters being pimped out and your sons fall into the hands of drug lords. Give me my Shomolu any day.

This one is nobody’s fault but the fault of the axis of evil – government, landowners and developers. This falls on them. Simple.”

(ii) Front page headline of “Nigerian Tribune” newspaper of 29th August, 2022.


“The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) says that 22,500 children died from air pollution in the state in 2021.

It stated that the figure was 75 percent of 30,000 people who died in 2021 in the state due to the bad environment.

The General Manager, LASEPA, Dr Dolapo Fasawe, disclosed this to newsmen on the sidelines of the official kick-off ceremony for the “EKO Clean Air” project on Saturday in Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the project is “Breathe Clean Air Now”.

Fasawe said that the figures were derived from a report which recorded the impact of air pollution on the health of residents. The GM said that the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had been very deliberate and proactive in its resolve to deliver clean air and sustainable environment to Lagos residents.

She noted that upon resumption, the governor prioritised health and the environment in the administration’s THEMES agenda “because there is no good health without a good environment.

“Eko for Clean Air is preaching prosperity, good health, increased GDP and increased productivity for the people of Lagos State.

We are currently in Itedo community and the response has been mind blowing. We did Air Quality Study before this intervention and we also did something called the K-A-P: Knowledge, Attitude and Practices and we realised that a lot of persons did not know the effects of air pollution on health.

So, as regards our coming here to preach clean energy and recycling, the people are excited and they are committed to partnering with the government on the project. As you can see, the government is teaching the people the practice of waste to wealth by buying the plastic waste, E-waste and used oils from them, thus putting money in their pocket”.

She said that LASEPA would return to the community in four weeks to measure the air quality and ascertain their compliance with the practice already established.

“If they had listened to us, and they are practising what we have taught them, the air will be cleaner.

“We will not stop to see plastic bottles on the road because Lagos State is leaving behind a permanent plastic recycler in this community.

Everyday, bring your plastic and you will be paid right there for used plastic,” Fasawe said. The general manager said that the state government intends to replicate the project in the 57 local government areas and LCDAs before the end of the administration of the present government.

She urged the people of the community to use rechargeable lamps instead of kerosene lanterns, use gas instead of firewood and reusable bottles for drinking water instead of sachet or bottle water.

NAN reports that 500 cooking gas cylinders, 400 rechargeable lamps and 1000 reusable bottles and bags were distributed to residents of the community by the government.

The climax of the occasion was the commissioning of a borehole facility with 80 in-built water treatment gadgets built for the community by the government.”

In this seedy and claustrophobic cauldron of grime, filth, ruin and remnants we nevertheless have to deploy our fierce and feisty navigational skills. There was no such requirement when in 1952, the same Lagos won the first prize in the British Commonwealth as the city with the cleanest water.

It was Dr. Ladipo Oluwole (an old boy of King’s College, Lagos) who travelled all the way to Australia to collect the glittering trophy and the generous accolades plus the inspirational encomiums. But back then, the population of Lagos was just a little more than two hundred and fifty thousand.