Skip to main content

KAI KAI (Kick Against Indiscipline)

bye bye flower beds
bye bye flower beds
The Baron Haussmann opened large avenues in Paris, destroying insalubrious areas and replacing them with sumptuous hôtels particuliers and 5 or 6 stories buildings with finely chiselled stone facades. Two centuries later they are still up and fanciful. The creation of large avenue has also simplified traffic in the city.
The city lives, the city evolves and evolution is sometimes synonymous with sudden and harsh transformation.

Lagos is being cleaned-up by an initiative called Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), perhaps with the hope that with a few kicks in the butt it could become as orderly and charming as Switzerland under the tropics.
Well that is a tall order for a city where informal is the norm and where survival mode is a way of life. But it would be retrograde to think that things can't change for the better. For instance creation of taxi parks for buses off the side of the road can remedy traffic jams as proved by the one created at the exit of Third Mainland Bridge when one reaches the mainland. Before its creation, buses and mini-buses were struggling and overflowing on the express way to let passengers embark and disembark under the directions of the touts shouting the destination of the buses. This was creating heavy traffic jams on the bridge. Now it seems that things have improved a bit. Perhaps also as a result of the fuel price increase a few month ago, which prompted drivers to put less fuel in their cars and henceforth be less on the road.
a new Ikoyi will be born
a new Ikoyi will be born
One example of desired orderliness is the absence of hawkers on the road who are considered as potential thieves. The risk is a $300 fine respectively for the seller and the buyer if both are caught. Another one is the forced closure of all small street shops, market stalls, food stalls that do not have a proper licence (i.e. not paying local tax). Finally car-sharing is discouraged progressively on the Lekki bridge which used to have always a crowd of passengers waiting for a space in private cars to cross the bridge. This was helping private car drivers to pay for fuel and maintenance of their cars by collecting a small fee from passengers. Now every morning "Man-o-war"s, name for traffic agents, are pushing the passengers  further and further inside the bridge so that it is less convenient for them to be picked-up by private cars.
take what you can before it is too late
take what you can before it is too late

On Glover road, in Ikoyi, all flower-beds (plant nurseries set-up on the side of the road) have now been displaced. Instead what used to be a manicured green space is now bare ground strewn plastic water sachets plastic.
protected hairdresser, for how long?
protected hairdresser, for how long?

My driver was commenting that as all roadside food stalls were being removed, ordinary workers did not have a place to eat anymore. So they were thinking of getting someone from the compound to start cooking for them as couldn't afford buying food in a supermarket or a restaurant (provided there was one nearby).

The underlying question is what will happen to all those people who made a living on the side of the street in downtown Lagos if they can't make a living there anymore? What will they do? Where will they go?


Popular posts from this blog

The Ogiamien family in Benin City: about wood and history

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.
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&#…

the fish market of Epe

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…

The mysterious stones images of Esie

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…