Ojota Dump Fire: Are These Nigerians Lazy Too?
"Thank God, the fire did not spread," is the prayer in the mouths of mechanics at a workshop near Olusosun Dumpsite around Ojota area of Lagos State.
A day before the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, said 'a lot of Nigerian youths sit at home doing nothing, but still want everything for free', there was pandemonium at a mechanic workshop where some youths hustle to make a living.
In the early hours of Tuesday, they had come to their shops to work as usual, but that day was spent on trying to put out a fire and save cars in their workshop from burning.
They share a fence with a waste dump site and the fire had started behind their fence inside the dump site. The land they occupy now is about 2.164 hectares.
Some of them claimed that police officials came in the morning to set fire to the dump. "It is a tactical way to chase us out from the land" one of them had told Bounce News.
The police have denied that claim.
Fire service personnel and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency tried their best to put out the fire on Tuesday, but succeed in only containing it.
When Bounce News visited the mechanic workshop again on Friday to see if the fire had totally been extinguished, it was a different experience entirely.
The smoke was still bellowing into the air from the dump site, coming into the mechanic workshop, as the wind blows it to here it lists.
It is a sign that there is still fire, if they say "no smoke with a fire".
But the catch is what the mechanic are doing even in the smoke.
The mechanics, who are mostly youths, are going about their duty, fixing cars and still doing their best to make ends meet, apparently with joy in their heart that "gbese" (debt) was averted.
Most of the cars do not have comprehensive insurance to ensure owner get compensated without them getting involved in a way.
While I looked at them, the President's comment came to my mind again and I began to wonder if a lazy man could come to a place with the kind of smoke I see and expose himself to the health hazard that could follow.
These youths are not lazy I told myself, but again, concern about their health swallowed me up, as I thought of the content of the smoke they are inhaling for hours.
Outside the fence, people walk to their various places of work, with most of them still getting their own share of the smoke, apparently their own share of the 'national cake' from the corruption in the system.
Normal activities have resumed within the area that was in total disarray on Tuesday, with fire fighters making effort to save Day Star Church building from burning.