By Kelechukwu Iruoma
On a breezy Friday morning in Ajegunle, nestled in the outskirt of Lagos, Samuel David, 34, woke to see his plank house surrounded by unhealthy water and accompanied by a putrid smell coming from a canal.
David, a tall dark man, alongside two other men in their early 40s, were peeling skins of pineapple and pawpaw fruits, which they sell to be used to make a concoction, to cure people of various sicknesses.
David said since he had been living in Ajegunle, he had never experienced such before.
“I woke at about 6:00 am to prepare to go to my stand where I collect money from residents crossing our constructed bridge to Apapa when I saw water with refuse from the canal surround my house”, said David.
David who speaks fluent English is an unemployed graduate who collects money at the entrance of a constructed plank bridge built for residents to navigate to the other side of the canal. Near the canal are also two primary schools funded by Dream from the Slum, a Non Governmental Organization that takes out of school children back to school. The kids learn in the dirty and unhealthy environment.
Ajegunle, located in Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government area of Lagos, is one of the largest slums in Lagos. It is a neighbourhood located in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria, with an estimated population of 555,000. It is regarded as one of the notorious slums in Nigeria. Ajegunle to Lagos Islands, one of the islands in the city is about 13 km.
David said the water is polluted as a result of refuse being dumped in the canal and residents are not helping in putting a stop to the air pollution which makes residents and visitors uncomfortable. “As a result of the inability of the landlords to construct good toilets, residents use planks to construct toilets and bathrooms at the edge of the canal and faeces enters directly to the canal which exacerbates the smell,” he said.