The Ambivalence Of Fadeyi —Isaac Asabor



For many years in Fadeyi, Lagos, southwest Nigeria, many a law-abiding citizen has been facing a dilemma; should he search for accommodation in other parts of Lagos or continue to sleep with his eyes open by each passing night and daily carrying out his social and economic activities with his heart in his mouth? Succinctly put, each passing day brings with it an increasing need for the right decision to take for Fadeyi residents.

For the purpose of believability, it is expedient to confess at this juncture that this writer spent more than 15 years of his life at Fadeyi before he relocated to a less hostile community 10 years ago. By calculation, based on the facts provided in the foregoing, one would discover that the belligerency of Fadeyi has been in existence for years, yet the Lagos state government is yet to provide any security interventionist policy to nip the ever-recurring problem of Fadeyi in the bud. May be the state government wants the issue of Fadeyi to become as worse and threatening as that of the now dreaded Boko Haram sect. As the wise ones would say, “a stitch in time saves nine”.

For a visitor having a passing glance from the window of a moving vehicle along Ikorodu road, Fadeyi community may be wrongly perceived as an urban locality that has the trappings of modernity. Yes! The visitor may not be wrong, after all. But the trappings of modernity that seem to be inherent in Fadeyi may refuse to trap anyone when the crudity and violence that characterise the labyrinth of Fadeyi begin to unfold through the activities of street urchins called area boys in the community.

When there is no issue or event to protest against, Fadeyi is usually agog with a hive of activities that cut across commercial, social and cultural realms. It is hardly a locality to overlook with its fascinating history, diverse peoples and cultures. It is mostly inhabited by people from Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom and other non Yoruba speaking states who anyone may perceive to be aborigines because of their fluency in the native language.

What does Fadeyi have to offer with regard to social, economic and political activities? Quite a lot. Truly, Fadeyi, like other parts of Lagos , is a place where fancy carnivals are celebrated with fanfare, especially during Christmas, Easter and New year periods. The carnival, usually organised by various streets, are often characterised by expensive costumes, merry-making, singing, dancing and trumpeting. On the heels of any event, ubiquitous and captivating banners are found hung in the air across the entrance and exit of most of the streets.

Social activities similar to a carnival take place all over Fadeyi during weekends. Youths are regularly offered the opportunity to dance away their sorrows and economic hardships with obscene refrains and soul-stirring rhythms of “naija music”.

Fadeyi is also notorious for accommodating mind bending relaxation points like brothels, beer parlours and the like. At Akorohunfayo street and other notorious streets, area boys are usually sighted with sticks of manually-wrapped tobacco dangling on their lips, and their eyes are usually blood-shot.

Besides the bad and ugly aspect of Fadeyi, Kajola market and Fadeyi bus stop are always swirl with commercial activities.

As a vibrant locality of contrast, some residents of Fadeyi are not only notorious for joie de vivre, but many of the youths freely exhibit diverse anti-social behaviours so much so that they are always at loggerheads with security personnel.

Mere mention of the word, “Fadeyi”, often evokes the picture of social upheavals, riots, area boys, dirtiness, illiteracy, drug and armed robbery. Fadeyi, despite its negative image, still harbours many youths who are intellectually inclined that most of them today can be found in diverse professional fields while some of them are pastors who are invariably change agents in the society.

To some extent, Fadeyi has its fair share of youths with anti-social behaviours like it can be found in other parts of Lagos state.

Fadeyi, whichever way one looks at it, is a mind-polluting environment that is not conducive for the training or upbringing of children with impressionable minds. The youths are very volatile so much so that every issue or event denounced with violence. Little wonder that its notoriety for riots, civil disturbances appear not to have been equalled by any community in Lagos. Any social disturbances in Fadeyi is likely to claim lives. The one that occurred a few days ago was reported to have claimed three lives with many critically injured.

Yesterday, if it was a free-for-all between the area boys of Akorohunfayo street and area boys of the notorious Akala street in Mushin, today, it is a clash between the Fadeyi bus-stop unit of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and those of Idi-Oro or Olosa in Mushin unit of the NURTW. Or tomorrow, it may be between the gangsters of the Fadeyi Railway axis and the security agents. It is now a case of one day, one trouble in Fadeyi.

Considering the volatility of Fadeyi, it would be pertinent security-wise, for men of the Nigerian Police to establish a mutual and workable relationship with the landlords, elders and opinion leaders in the community. Landlords Associations should be making the menace of street urchins in Fadeyi a top agenda during their meetings. Their meetings should transcend discussing the issue of when street gates should be locked or opened; it should transcend the issue of PHCN or clearing sewage from the gutters. They should also begin to be discussing security issues from the standpoint of how to be checkmating street urchins in Fadeyi. The activities of area boys in Fadeyi is already drawing the attention of international media like Al-Jazeera, BBC and CNN. The violent activities of area boys that have characterised Fadeyi is already painting Nigeria in a bad light to the international community. Lagos State should wake up and tackle the problem headlong.

This writer may not know if there is the existence of Police/Community Relations Committee in the locality. If there is, more blood of understanding should be injected into it. If there is none, one should be inaugurated in the next few weeks since some Fadeyi youths are daily becoming wilder, lawless and disorderly.

The Lagos state government should wake up to the responsibility of bringing sanity to Fadeyi. The government should not in the least politicise the issue. The reason for this is that the issue of Fadeyi is growing bigger and bigger each passing day. The government should nip it in the bud before it becomes another Boko Haram.


•Asabor wrote from Lagos.

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