In Lagos District, ‘Slum Party’ Brings Hope And Life


Dancers of Ennovate Dance House perform in a street during a slum party at Oworonshoki district of Lagos, on November 27, 2021.  PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

To the rhythm of drums, two plastic giants whirl and kick up dust in an alleyway in Oworonshoki, one of the poorer districts of Lagos, Nigeria’s megalopolis economic capital.

From shanty houses of wood and tin, inhabitants poke their heads outside and watch wide-eyed as the strange procession bounces past.

Soon, the whole street sways and joins the dancers, whose costumes are crafted entirely from plastic bottles collected from the neighbourhood streets.

The “Slum Party” kicks off with a burst of music, dance, and the flames of a fire-breathing act.

READ ALSO: [Sanwo-Olu] I Will Walk With Anyone Promoting Peace, Says Segun Awosanya

For three years, a collective of 10 young Nigerian performers has sought to improve the lives of Oworonshoki’s residents through dance, hoping to change the reputation of an area once blighted by gang violence.

“In 2019, Oworonshoki was facing a lot of security challenges, and no one was going out in street anymore,” said Valu, one of the creators of the “Slum Party” that is held once a year.

“We started to dance in the street so that the people won’t be afraid anymore and they started to go back in the street,” said Valu, a professional dancer whose real name is Sunday Ozegbe Obiajulu. “We started to bring life again.”

Throughout the year, the collective organises dance workshops for children and fitness activities for women in the district.

“I just used to stay all day long with my kids at home, but now because of them I do something different, I feel like I exist,” said Martha Eze, 37, who dances later in the party.

Wealth Next To Poverty 


People dance with outfits made of plastic wastes during a slum party at Oworonshoki district of Lagos, on November 27, 2021. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Oworonshoki is located at the foot of the Third Mainland Bridge, Africa’s second-largest, that stretches 12 kilometres above the Lagos Lagoon.

In sub-Saharan Africa’s largest city where one in two residents lives in poverty, wealthy island districts with swank fashion and restaurants are a world away from the poor mainland districts like Orowonshoki.

In the distance from Oworonshoki across a stretch of the waterways surrounding Lagos, residents can see Banana Island, an exclusive, private Lagos enclave of villas and residences.

In Orowonshoki, the only dollars visible are those printed on the shirt of a teenage boy wiggling his legs to “Peru”, a song by Nigerian singer Fireboy.

“I’m in San Francisco jamming… I just arrived from Miami,” the children sing along to the lyrics dancing barefoot.

Even one of the city’s daily power cuts that stopped the music dead did not spoil the party: the audience kept dancing.

“We have a lot of fun today, I love dancing,” said Beke Olamileken, a 16-year-old boy who dreams of becoming an actor.

Make a Difference 

A dancer spits fire during a slum party at Oworonshoki district of Lagos, on November 27, 2021.
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

More than a simple performance, organisers also see “Slum party” as a tool for political awareness.

“I want to show that you can make a difference with simple actions on the ground,” Valu said.

Last year, a video showing Valu dancing in a huge mud puddle in front of a police officer to denounce the disastrous state of the roads was a hit on social media.

During the “Slum party”, next to the dance floor, on the steps of a ruined house, the collective planted cardboard gravestones, inscribed with the words “People”, “Wealth”, “Rights”, “Security” and “Peace”.

Dancer Henry Bethel Wisdom ties his body with an orange rope and improvises a performance that freezes the crowd. The artist soars into the air, trying to get out of the improvised cemetery, but is caught by his associates who drag him back with rope.

None of the dancers makes any reference to it, but the performance recalls the massive protest movement against police violence that gripped southern Nigeria in October last year.

Thousands of young people took to the streets to demand an end to human rights abuses and corruption, before being suppressed by the security forces.

“We feel like we are slaves of our government, what we need is security wealth, and peace,” said Olamide Ballyqueen, one of the dancers.

“We don’t want to suffer like our parents and we definitely don’t want them to suffer like us,” she said pointing to the crowds of young children.

AFP

Third Mainland Bridge: Lagos Govt To Close Oworonshoki Lane On Saturday

A file photo of signposts in road closure and diversion in Lagos State.

 

The Lagos State government has announced plans to close the Oworonshoki bound lane of the Third Mainland Bridge totally to vehicular movement by midnight on Saturday, February 6.

It noted that the closure would remain in force until 7pm on Sunday, February 7, for the removal of the last expansion joint on the Oworonshoki bound lane.

The government made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday by the Ministry of Transportation.

It explained that the closure was important to enable the contractors to move their equipment to the Oworonshoki bound lane within the given period without any interruption by vehicular movement on the bridge.

The Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, who made the announcement on behalf of the governor, stated that the rehabilitation process was being enhanced to ensure that set deadlines were met.

He gave an assurance that traffic management personnel would be deployed along the alternative routes to minimise and address any traffic impediment during the closure.

Oladeinde also appealed for cooperation from residents, saying the ongoing repair work on the bridge was for the safety of all and sundry.

He added that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration would not relent in ensuring the safety of residents on roads in the state.

During the closure, the government urged motorists from Ogudu, Alapere, and Gbagada are advised to use Ikorodu Road, Jibowu, and Yaba as alternative routes.

Those from Lagos Island, Iddo, Oyingbo, Adekunle, and Yaba attempting to go through Iyana Oworosoki were asked to use Herbert Macaulay Way, Jibowu, and Ikorodu Road as alternative routes.

Read the tweets from the government below:

AIB Releases Manifest Of Crashed Bristow Helicopter

Bristow-Helicopter-crash-wreckageThe Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) on Thursday released the passenger manifest for the helicopter that crashed last week in Oworonshoki area of Lagos.

Please find below the names of the passengers and the crew on the manifest of the ill-fated flight.

1. Ita Ekpeyong

2. Joshua Emekeme

3. Dolu Ebiejuara

4. Onoriode Onojete

5. Chukwuma Erise

6. Solomon Udeh

7. Chidi Ukwunta

8. Iniala Opaimi

9. Chris Abua

10. Chukwudi Onah

11. Joseph Wyatt (Captain)

12. Peter Kayode Bello (Co-Pilot)

The Sikosky S76 C+ helicopter crashed into the lagoon in Oworonshoki area of Lagos on Wednesday 12 August, 2015 shortly before landing at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

The helicopter marked 5N-BGD and operated by Bristow Helicopters departed SEDCO oil platform offshore en-route Lagos airport.

NSCDC Parades Suspects Of Illegal Oil Bunkering

nscdcThe Lagos State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have paraded 23 suspects, including 5 Togolese, allegedly involved in illegal bunkering of petroleum products, between January and February 2015.

The suspects were arrested by the Nigerian Navy at various points on the high sea and within Lagos waters, before they were handed over to the NSCDC.

A total of 378 drums, each of 250 litres, containing petroleum products were recovered during the operations.

Also paraded were 14 suspects involved in vandalism of electrical installations, illegal connections and by-passing of prepaid metres in Isolo, Abule Egba and Oworonsoki areas, belonging to the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company.

The NSCDC is a paramilitary agency of the Government of Nigeria that is commissioned to provide measures against threat and any form of attack or disaster against the nation and its citizenry.

The NSCDC was first introduced in May 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War within the then Federal Capital Territory  for the purpose of sensitization and protection of the civil populace.

Parts of its statutory empowerment includes legal proceedings against any person or persons suspected to have committed an offence, maintain an armed squad in order to bear fire arms among others to strengthen the corps in the discharge of its statutory duties.

Lagos Is Building Affordable Houses Not Low Cost Housing Estate – Commissioner

Toyin AyindeThe Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development in Lagos State, Toyin Ayinde on Tuesday said that several housing projects the State was working on were not “low cost housing estates” as they had been labelled, emphasising that the houses were going to be affordable to the citizens.

Ayinde, who was a guest on Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, said: “Lagos State hasn’t published that it is developing low cost housing, because indeed there is no low cost cement, there is no low cost iron rod, there are no low cost building materials, therefore, what we have said is that we are embarking on affordable housing.”

The houses, which are located in different areas of the State, cost between 3.5 million Naira and 15 million Naira. However, the commissioner described the houses as affordable, explaining that buyers would be able “to access a mortgage system that runs on an interest rate that has never been presented to stakeholders before.”

He also explained that the cost of building the houses would determine the purchase price.

On the Ilubirin project, Ayinde said actual construction was yet to commence on the site, disclosing that the project which would have houses of 7 floors, was yet to have a price.

There had been complains about the location of the project which is close to a high tension cable, but the commissioner said that the required setback had been adhered to and that those who had concluded that the State government was building under such a cable were being mischievous.

“For that grade of high tension cable, it’s a 46 meters corridor… that has been factored into the project,” he said.

He further explained that the estate was 2.5 meters above sea level and would not contribute to flood issues. “It was sand-filled before I got to government in July 2011 so whoever is saying it will contribute to flooding is not saying the truth,” he said.

On the latest building collapse in Oworonshoki area of Lagos, the Commissioner explained that it was due to bad construction. He noted that the agency had initially sealed off the site but the contractors had broken the seal to continue working.

 

 

Pregnant Woman, 5 Others Electrocuted In Lagos

Falling power poleTragedy struck in the early hours of Thursday at Oworonshoki area of Lagos as a pregnant woman and five others were electrocuted by a live cable that reportedly fell on a vehicle loaded with petrol.

Eyewitness account said that the vehicle exploded, setting the entire environment on fire.

Confirming the incident, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, said that the incident occurred at number 6 and 8 of Onabanjo Street and that a Power Holding Company of Nigeria cable sparked when power was restored.

He said that the spark was so forceful that it detached one of the live cables from the pole and landed on a vehicle loaded with 50 liters of PMS, resulting in the explosion.

Describing the incident, the eyewitness explained that the victims on hearing the explosion of the vehicle, rushed out of their homes but unfortunately ran into the detached live cable in front of their house and were all electrocuted.

The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Mr Rasak Fadipe, also confirmed the incident. He said that his men were able to contain the fire from spreading to nearby buildings.

The incident happened around 2.00 a.m. and the victims included three teenagers, a pregnant woman and another woman.