Ilaje is notorious for its location on the edge of an ocean bay and the scale of overcrowding in Ilaje is mind-boggling. In some homes, up to 15 people live in single room shacks where people are required to sleep in shifts. More than 250,000 people are packed into a small area.
For years, the densely populated corridor, sprawled on the edge of the Lagos lagoon, has remained a jungle deprived of all basic amenities of life.
Being an area where the poorest of the poor resides, the usual sight is a ragtag army of malnourished children aimlessly roaming the streets covered with huge debris, human and animal excreta. Education, whatever it is worth, has never crossed their minds. Half-dressed children roam the streets during the day, working as peddlers to create at least a small income. The ocean bay floods the community at most high tides, leaving residual water lying around homes and feeding a malaria epidemic.
Imagine having a childhood where an everyday scene is garbage and excretes in the environment and a typical smell are rotting carrions. If they are not well-taken care of, it is a possibility that the children might not be able to rise above the slums in ilaje. Children in the slums do not have the common childhood items such as toys and books. The children are malnourished and live an unbalanced life.
In the next few days, we’ll be sharing with you more about the struggles of people living in the underserved community of ilaje bariga, Lagos state, Nigeria.