While many such slums have fallen under the rampaging bulldozers of the city administration, Daki Biyu, an urban slum has weathered the storm so far. It is a hot afternoon.
The young children appear to be having the fun of their lives. Their chatter coupled with energetic steps is in perfect harmony as they vault the massive piles of dirt and garbage in a game of “catch me if you can.”
Presently, one of them stumbles in the murky pile and they all tumble over him in a jiffy, as they attempt to pull him out. Apparently one of them gets tired of the seemingly endless games and runs across the opposite field to join another group of street kids engaged in football: makeshift goal posts made up of separated pieces of stones and plastic. Another kid from the garbage heap suddenly has to heed the call of nature.
He does what seems to be the natural thing in places like this. He has no clothes on his back so defecating is made easier. He simply crouches on his tiny legs and does his thing oblivious of the roving camera of the curious reporter.
A few weeks ago, Cordelia, a young woman, had her one room apartment burgled by criminals. She says she is one of the lucky few as other female inhabitants have been raped in similar attacks in the past.
Sanni, a community youth leader, however says that youths of the area have in the recent weeks organised themselves into vigilante groups in order to apprehend criminal elements in their midst. “In every community there are always criminals so ours is not peculiar, but we are working with the police to reduce incidences of crime in our community and we have made many arrests in the past.
For others like Sunny, a barber, the fear of demolition is always the paramount issue for them. He says whenever there are rumours of planned demolitions the community is always put on high alert.
‘Only the natives don’t fear because they know that their homes can never be demolished. But for those of us who are not indigenes, we are always praying the scourge of demolition will never get to us because we have no other place to go...”