According to one of the old tenants, it started as a pay-as-you-use toilet facility before the owner thought it wise to build living quarters around it.
The convention everywhere in Nigeria is, when you rent an apartment, provision of toilet, bathroom, water and kitchen facilities come with the bargain. In other words, they are part of the benefits you stand to enjoy as a tenant paying for an apartment, and it does not matter whether it is a room, a self-contain, two, three-bedrooms or a duplex.
Provision and enjoyment of these facilities are taken for granted without anybody expecting you to pay extra money, besides the normal house rent. But not so at Omega House or Gidan Waka located at 23, Ifebajo Street, Kirikiri, Lagos. Here, apart from paying for the normal house rent, the owner of the place operates a pay-as-you-use system on practically anything having to do with public utilities – toilet, bathroom and water facilities. So? May God help you if you are suffering from a runny stomach and needed to use the toilet as many times as possible to empty your bowels.
But surprisingly, the tenants are not complaining. When Fela, the Afrobeat King of blessed memory, sang about Nigerians suffering and smiling, he probably had them in mind. From the look of things, they have made the English proverb: “where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise”, a surrealistic experience.
Vistas of the house
Omega house is a one-plot house with all the attributes of a ghetto life. It is built right after an open drainage that obviously overflows its bank in times of downpour. The drainage is ‘painted’ thick black from the decayed and decaying materials, in a way that makes it and its surroundings an eyesore, especially in rainy season. The next object that greets a visitor is a line of motorcycles arranged for sale. Beyond it is the shop of the owner of the house, Omega Store. Standing by its side is a barbing salon painted in blue colour, with a dash of white. The barbing salon shop does not hide any corner of it from an onlooker or passer-by. Next to it is the all-converging ground for residents called “common room.” The room has a 24-inch TV set in one corner while the rest of the space in the room is covered with a mat, and “one stool,” said to belong to the landlord.
In front of the common room, sat a motorcycle mechanic whose long-term use of engine and motor oil has also contributed to the dark filthy look of both the floor and the edge of the drainage. The verandah of the building is a sort of motorcycle hub where you can buy, sell and repair motorcycles. What appears to be the entrance of the house is located right after the displayed new motorcycles. The house is made of plywood and wooden materials. As you approach the compound from this angle, patches on the house, which had been hidden by the demarcating fence, are revealed. The music sound coming from one of the rooms, occupied by one Musa, gave semblance of life to the house.
The house, which occupies about half of the full plot, is well arranged in cubicles. Each room or cubicle is partially tiled and has one bucket and a hanger that can only take few clothes at a time. The passage is seemingly narrow but wide enough to allow passage of an average-size person. It appears dimly lit but becomes clearer as one moves closer. There are rooms but the first joined room appears to be under construction. The wood of the frame seems to be of low quality. The rest of the house and the empty land are located in a swamp.
History of the place
Saturday Sun understands that Gidan-Waka belongs to one Gidikaya Omega from Adamawa State, precisely from Madagali Local Government Area of the state. What has turned into a big business today started as an alternative convenience, as evident in the popular name of the house, Gidan-Waka, which means a convenient house. According to one of the old tenants, Adams Babangida, from the same local government area, the place started as a pay-as-you-use toilet facility before the owner thought it wise to build living quarters around it.
As the story goes, Omega Gidikaya is a motorcycle machine merchant who started out as a rider when he first visited Lagos about 15 years ago. In fact, he was a motorcycle rider in the day and a security officer at night at the same property. Then, he started giving his motorcycle on hire purchase before growing the business from there into other business subsidiaries including the leasing of toilet and bathing facilities and sale and repair of motorcycles and motorcycle spare parts. On the day that this reporter visited, he was greeted by a strong nasty stench coming from the left side of the toilet and an aroma of cigarette smoke.
Another sight that greeted the reporter who chose to appear in casuals, ash joggers and singlet, was a man sitting inside the motorcycle spare parts shop called Omega. He identified himself as the elder brother of the owner of the place. “Omega Senior,” as the reporter chose to call him answered most of the questions asked, based on the assumption that the reporter too was there in search of a bed space in the place.
“This place is good for you,” he offered. “Do you want to rent a room? For how many months? You can rent beginning from six months to one year. The six month package is N30, 000 while one-year is N60, 000 but since you are going to be here for just one week we can calculate that for you and you pay.” Sensing that the reporter was not impressed, he tried to woo him with what he called the availability of social amenities. “There is light and dining centre, where you can have your visitors and watch GoTV in the night if you like.”
At this juncture, the reporter told him that it was not the amenities that was his problem but the payment package. At this complaint, he promised to call his brother and talk with him to see whether he can accept something lower than the stated amount. He then suggested taking the reporter round the house to see things for himself.
“There are about 20 rooms here,” he said. “Many of those staying here are Okada riders. There are toilets and a bathroom in the backyard. You will have to pay for the toilet and bathroom because the owner of the toilet and bathroom is different from the owner of the house itself. But the price is not much, it is only N50.”
Getting to know more about the house
Referring to the rooms, he added, “for now, there are only five newly built ones. If you pay quickly and needs it urgently, the landlord might do the floor for you. This is on the assumption that you have a short-term plan for the house but you will have to do the floor for yourself to reduce cost if you have a long-term plan. Since your case is urgent, I want to ask him if there are other tenants who are out of town so that you can just use their rooms.”
The reporter decided to make further inquiries about the condition of things in the house by approaching one of the tenants, one Emmanuel Nomiri, who, it turned out, was eavesdropping on his conversation with ‘Omega Senior’. He (the reporter) expressed some fears about the appropriateness of getting an accommodation in the place where most of the tenants are of Northern Nigerian extraction, with no one seeming to come from his tribe, Igbo.
“The place was built to accommodate people who were displaced, to help brothers stay together,” Nomiri explained, by way of continuing the wooing from where Omega Senior stopped. “It is a concept very known in the northern part of the country. It is business for both parties. The house is legal and approved by the owner of the land. There are Igbo who live and sleep here too but most of them are into trailer business. We live in peace since most of us are not always around during the day and when they come back home at night they just go to bed to prepare their body for the next day’s job.”
To convince the reporter that the house is secure and that all the tenants are vetted, Nomiri said; “there is no way the man will give you a room here without any guarantor. It is a place where anything can ensue and leads to anything. To put people in check they must bring a guarantor, someone who is well known in this community. Another rule you must keep is that you must not sleep or share the room with more than one person and there must be no female visitor sleeping over.”
Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.
President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.
Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.
He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.
He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.
“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’
“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.
“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.
“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.
“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.
“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”
However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.
He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.
“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”
CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers
The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.
“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?
“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.
“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.
“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”
Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.
“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.
“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.
Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike
Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.
Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.
The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.
Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.
Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).
The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”
On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.
The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.
“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.
The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”
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