people, size, ambitions, visions, all these make plenty of things to tell about Nigeria, the land of plenty
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demolition in progress
Ikoyi was once the place where rich Nigerians were living as well as the British. It is still possible today to see one or two storey colonial houses surrounded by trees. These are now in poor shape and the pace of redevelopment is accelerating. At a time where oil is cheap and foreign currency can't be sent abroad easily, there has been an explosion of new constructions as a way to use the foreign cash available to some happy connected few. Some sites are for hotels, some are for offices and some are residential. Land being very expensive, buildings are gaining more floors and occupying a larger percentage of the ground surface. The usual victims of this rapid reshaping of Ikoyi are trees which are being cut remorselessly.
It is along those lines that I witness the scraping of the house next door. It was bulldozed in one night and rubbles were cleared in another 12 hours. The trees are still standing until redevelopment is starting. Let's enjoy them while they stand!
that was before
And well on the other side of the compound another construction is going on this time for a 25 storeys building, a hotel. It might take a while to complete but is definitely being worked on during the day and part of the night. Probably two shifts take place to speed things up. Of course it has its fair share of dust and noise, but why should be reluctant to change?
Roland Ogiamien is a renown wood carver. He is now retired in his home town of Benin City and is now in his 80s. We met him in his simple workshop, a barn opened on the surrounding greenery. A part of the studio is used to store wood pieces and make sure they are well dried. He is using a collection of german ustensils to carve and polish the wood. He spent most of his career working out of Lagos before relocating to Benin.
Roland was explaining that the wood he uses today is different from his early days. Ebony has become rare and wood carvers have had to switch to other types of wood. Traditional heritage is a large part of his inspiration which he translates on wood with his own particular style, exploring various techniques for the finish of his pieces. History
Ogiamien is the name of an important royal family in Benin Kingdom. Towards the end of the Ogiso dynasty (12th century), Ogiso Owodo did not have a son to succeed him, his brother Evian therefore took over after Owodo…
Epe (pronounced Ekpe in yoruba) is a small city located on the narrow stretch of water that separates the lagoon of Lagos from the one, further in the east, known as Lekki lagoon. It is built on the small hills that border the water. It is connected by a bridge to the Lekki peninsula.
The town is famous for its fish market located on the water side. It is the place to buy fresh water fish, some of them still alive. They are kept in plastic buckets but also directly in the lagoon water in woven baskets.
Many more is for sale such as crayfish, crocodile, turtle, monitor lizard, big snails. Game meat is also available coming from the nearby forest of the Omo reserve. We saw two wild cats with white spotted black fur and a strong scent; As we left we saw antilope legs arriving to the stall.
Some fishes are particular, one is sending electricity shocks when you touch it, another one was looking like a prehistoric fish with a sort of dinosaur like shell; there was also one with giant scal…
Chief J. Agbo Ooye had been waiting in the shade of a large tree, in front of the National Museum of Esie, dressed in ceremonial costume with a velvet hat incrusted with crystal beads sown in the shape of his title and his name. He was sitting next to his wife on a bench, expecting our arrival. His wife, he would tell us later, was his best friend and she was actually demonstrating it by guiding his frail body from one place to another and guiding his hand when it came to sign autographs of his books. Chief Agbo Ooye is the author of two booklets on the Esie Stones. The first one, called A Personal Account of the Esie Stones is giving an overview of the differences between the scientific and the traditional interpretation of the Esie Stones. The second one is called the History of Esie and gives a brief account of Esie's history from the early settlement of Yorubas in various groups (Esie, Oro, Eku Apa, Igbonla, Edidi, Igbesi, etc...) to the present day. Those groups, who lived o…