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  • Scavengers live like madmen, make babies
  • I pay N1,500 to live on the refuse dump – Mutiat

Wole Adeniyi, a 14-yearold secondary school student from Ekiti State had just alighted, alongside his parents, at the popular Ojota Motor Park in Lagos, very close to the Olusosun refuse dump. As he stretched his quaky back, owing to the long trip from the hinterlands, he felt the urge to urinate. But as Wole made to let off, he suddenly stopped short.

The sight of six extremely dirty men scavenging on a refuse dump a few meters away terrified him. “Mummy, mummy, mummy, I saw six mad men!” The boy yelled. Wole did not really see lunatics, but scavengers, whose weather-beaten outfits could make the unwary think they are mad.

Curiously, these supposed mad species of citizens are not bothered, as they claim that they are happy with what they do. They are itinerant scavengers, who move around the city of Lagos, in search of objects of value, which though discarded, can yield them some financial returns. But Olusosun, Ojota, which can be classified as the headquarters of refuse dumps in Lagos, is no doubt their hub.

Varying engaging tales on the boisterous lifestyles and booming fortunes of these scavengers prompted The Point to visit some of them at a waste depot located at Olusosun, Ojota, Lagos. One is greeted immediately by the unhealthy atmosphere, where hundreds struggle to make ends meet. Some of these people live here with their families in various ramshackle houses, right on the waste ground, where they also dispose their sewage.

MEET MURTALA MOHAMMED

Murtala Mohammed, a man who shares the same name with the slain Nigerian military Head of State, who ruled between July 1975 and February 13, 1976, is one of the scavengers.

He told our correspondent that he felt privileged to be a scavenger, especially when he recalled his life before scavenging. He also added that life inside the waste depot was peaceful due to the security provided by the Oodua Peoples Congress’ members and others.

Mohammed explained further that his elder brother’s success at the job made him to venture into it. “I was encouraged to join this job by my elder brother who got married and had children with it. Even as I’m talking to you, he has two of his children in secondary schools in this place, and he sponsors their education from this job,” he said. Mohammed insisted that life was safer on the waste ground compared to some places in Lagos, noting that he made not less than N7,000 daily.

OTHERS SPEAK

A female scavenger, Mutiat, also said, although scavenging work might be irritating, she had made a fortune from it. According to her, she makes between N5,000 and N7,000 on the job. The young lady added that the

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