After spending 11 hours at work on a Wednesday, and another solid 2 hours in Lagos traffic choked with poor ventilation in elderly vehicles and unavoidably sniffing foul odour from stagnant waters and blocked gutters; Morenike Olaniyan – a single lady in her late twenties returned to her rented apartment at FESTAC extension to close her eyes in sleep.
This was expected to afford her the chance to replenish her depleted energy level and enjoy a temporary escape from her financial worries aggravated by the high cost living and the ruthless economic hardship ravaging the entire country unendurably.
In some parts of Lagos State which is the commercial capital of Nigeria, having an air-conditioner is not a luxury like some people in Ibadan or other small cities in Nigeria might believe. It’s ineluctable because the normal electric fans can’t do the proper work of ventilating the house erected in an area where town planners were purposely alienated from the equation for egoistic reasons.
The seeming minute quantity of oxygen is rationed among an unofficial population of 23 million people occupying a landmass of 3,577 km² scavenging the length and breadth of the area for scarce economic resources. FESTAC extension is just outside FESTAC Town itself as the name suggests.
FESTAC Town has been described as one of the few well-planned areas in the over-populated metropolitan city of Lagos but that might not be said about the extension area which is like the dichotomy of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The extension is an area of old storey buildings where most blocks have 16 flats, some 32 and others 8. Some of the small rooms housed families of four or more hyperbolically sleeping on top of each other.