Shocking: The unknown street. Horror of a community living ‘underground’

Shocking: The unknown street. Horror of a community living ‘underground’

This community that has no name and contains no streets is hidden some 90 feet below ground level, walled in by Arochukwu Street, Tobias Alaribe, Nnokwa and Kofoworola Akah Streets and sealed off by Billiaminu Akinsanya Street in Ejigbo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State from where passers-by can catch a bird’s eye-view of the community which is sealed off roundabout but visible only through the backyards of the houses

Our correspondent went round the four streets, searching for access to the small underground community but found none, except perhaps, three little gaps between buildings on Nnokwa Street through which one can peep without drawing attention to be able to see footpaths leading downwards into the community, and the footpath itself has cash crops planted on both sides shielding the houses down below and making it look like those farm roads you find in a typical village.

A resident of one of the buildings, Mr. Innocent Ezekwe, who reluctantly responded to inquiry from The Daily Times, advised that it is unsafe to go down there because according to him, “The people are very hostile and they don’t entertain visitors. They are suspicious of any visitor because government officials used to go and threaten them and extort money from them.”

Having seen a bricklayer at work on a decked house from up Billiaminu Akinsanya Street earlier, our correspondent asked if he could go down under cover of looking for a room to hire in the community.

“Good idea”, Innocent said, “But you are on your own. Don’t expect anyone to come to your aid if you run into trouble. As far as I am concerned, I haven’t seen you or even spoken to you.”

As seen from afar, the footpath turned out to be a long strip of land snaking through crops and bush paths and led to an open still water covered by weeds in some part. One has to walk through some slippery kind of ground to reach the first of three completed modern buildings; the first is a long boy’s quarters-like yellow house containing three sets of two-room apartments each. This building merged into a modern three bedroom bungalow of the same colour which has one end of its roof yet to be covered.

To its left lay a decked house of two blocks of flats. A bricklayer seen earlier laying block work on the decking disappeared upon sighting our correspondent; some four other make shift buildings dotted its side. Right opposite the finished buildings are clusters of make shift houses at different stages of completion.

While waiting for someone to talk to, our correspondent moved around the community. The almighty Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) did not withhold power from this hamlet. A radio set was blaring in one of the rooms but nobody answered the door. A tour of the small neighbourhood revealed a people completely self-sustaining.

With no source of potable water within sight, electricity tapped from behind the buildings surrounding them on the level ground above revealed the source of their power supply.

One of the residents has sunk a borehole from which the others buy their water, while those not given to pipe borne water, fetch from the large pool of still water that has formed a stream where the inhabitants even wash their clothes.

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