HOMELESSNESS IN LAGOS: A GROWING scourge
1.1 Background To The Study
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica on the subject of housing, ‘‘few social problems have increased so suddenly or been dramatized so effectively as the plight of the homeless in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
The United Nations Statistical Division sets homeless persons into two broad categories: Primary homelessness (persons without roof on their heads). This category includes persons living in streets or without a shelter or living quarters; Secondary homelessness. This category may include persons with no place of usual residence who move frequently between various types of accommodation (including dwellings, shelters or other living quarters); and persons usually resident in long-term ‘transitional’ shelters or similar arrangements for the homeless. This category also includes persons living in private dwellings but reporting ‘no usual addresses on their census form.’’
Homelessness is in fact a global tragedy according a sociologist and educationist; he opined that it is a problem that is not limited to Nigeria alone. ‘‘It is a global problem. Homeless people are everywhere. It is a problem that is often neglected by governments particularly in Africa simply because they live it in the hands of the individuals. Homelessness is common in major cities of the country. In Lagos touts popularly known as ‘Agberos’ often live in motor parks, garages, some live under the bridges. Sexual workers with no roof on their heads live in slums and beaches with houses built with bamboo leaves. There are also hundreds of people who live in slums built on top of lagoons who are not sexual workers on touts, people who live in uncompleted buildings and badly built houses made of planks and polythene bags.
Homelessness in Nigeria in the urbanized cities particularly in Nigeria can go from the genuine to the pathetic and to the criminal. Homelessness is real even some people who you think have proper accommodation are living under terrible conditions. Many are living in slums’’. Femi Gbolahan, an educationist, he defined homelessness as the “condition of people who lack regular legal access to adequate housing”. According to him, many factors could lead to homelessness. Some of them are local or regional unemployment, war, racial discrimination, mental or physical disability, terrorism as it is presently experienced in the North Eastern part of the country.’’
According to the United Nations, the number of homeless people globally is estimated to be in excess of 1 billion; it says it is impossible to get the actual number. This is because of the transitory nature of the homeless. Whereas the homeless population in the West is largely made up of men, (though the proportions of women and children are steadily increasing), the homeless in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos, appear to be mainly children, women and youth The research therefore seek to investigate Homelessness in Lagos: a growing scourge . YEMI OLAKITAN ( 2014).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Reports show that homelessness is mainly an urban problem. This is partly because of the commercialization of land and housing markets in the world. According to report by UNICEF, It has been suggested that possible reasons for leaving home may include abuse, a desire for excitement or relief from oppressive home conditions, conflicts within the family; physical, emotional and sexual abuse; single parenthood, poor parenting, poverty, termination of education, child labour and peer influence. Young people may become vulnerable to all forms of abuse and hazards on the streets. They are especially harmed by harsh physical conditions, violence and harassment, labour exploitation, absorption into criminal activities and denial of their right to receive an education that will equip them for a better life. Many of these homeless children are usually seen dodging traffic as they sell goods to passing motorists. While many are engaged in legitimate work, others are involved in illegal activities including engaging in crime and theft, pick pocketing, commercial sex or drug trade. Investigations reveal that, homeless children and youth in Nigeria are mainly from large families. The problem of the research therefore centers on Homelessness in Lagos: a growing scourge