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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

GHOUL HOUSES ON IBADAN STREET

I went to Herbert Macaulay girls' school in Yaba. I don't know why several interviewers seem to record it as Methodist girls' high school. Maybe because l tend to tell this typically long convoluted story of having being admitted into Methodist, the school being divided into three and the …. Oh there l go again. Look, l repeat, slowly.. I went to Herbert Macaulay girls' high school. A downright mini purgatory if ever there was such a thing, the heat, the dirt, the smells, the lack. I still shudder. One day l will bore you with the full story. Suffice to say for now that l did not enjoy my school days. The final location of the school was at the end of Ibadan Street in Ebute Metta, a long cavernous street seemingly sinking below sea level as you walk from east to west. Many of my classmates lived around the end of Ibadan street but l never visited any of them, could be that l was just a bitter, twisted little pessimist but l always thought those houses would collapse on me the instant l stepped in. Not even the wondrous smells of food (l love food and eat like a horse, yeah, eat your heart out, life's got to give you an extra break somewhere, that's mine ok? Besides at that point in life l was convinced l had a tape worm in me and was eating for ten) wafting from the many bukas on the street could persuade me to go into those houses.

The thing about that end of lbadan street is that it looks like the fast sinking tail of a landlocked Titanic. Most of the houses were wet, damp and tilted like a parody of the leaning tower of Pisa and obviously destined for imminent collapse.

So for the four years l walked school terms days down lbadan street l waited for those houses to collapse. I wondered why the people continued to live in them, hundreds of people per structure. More importantly l wondered why Jakande didn't do something about them, then l wondered why Mudashiru, then Oyinlola one after the other did nothing till present day. Soon after l stopped waking Ibadan Street and l haven't walked those streets since 1987 when l left secondary school.

So for the four years l walked school terms days down lbadan street l waited for those houses to collapse. I wondered why the people continued to live in them, hundreds of people per structure. More importantly l wondered why Jakande didn't do something about them, then l wondered why Mudashiru, then Oyinlola one after the other did nothing till present day. Soon after l stopped waking Ibadan Street and l haven't walked those streets since 1987 when l left secondary school.

Nineteen years later, my morbid fears are coming to pass. Three months ago, one building finally crumbled killing almost a hundred people, no one knows the exact number, no one ever knows. Three days ago another of the Ibadan street ghoul houses collapsed, killing another set of people, some of them perhaps a very skinny, insecure, hungry, lone school girl who succumbed to an irrational fear of parasitic worms eating up her thin frame to eat a second beans and bread breakfast before ducking into a hot, smelly, saw dust filled classroom.
The same inefficient rescue effort, the same wails, the same fears, and the same madness. Who is going to pull down the Ibadan street monstrosities?

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