By Sunday Egbowon

Lagos is a land of fortune and great opportunities as many do say. Many see Lagos as a place where you can sleep a pauper and rise up a millionaire. This bizarre perception of many has attracted a lot of people to the city.

The concentration of most of the infrastructures in the metropolitan city has also attracted many people to this major Nigerian city. The result of the concentration of most of the infrastructures in the major cities in Nigeria such as Lagos means that the majority of business operations and big firms are also attracted to such cities.

This uneven distribution of infrastructures cum business operations concentrated in Lagos, makes it the busiest city in Nigeria and has also fostered the migration of people from the rural areas and semi-rural areas to the city thereby causing congestion in the city. The congestion by its skyrocketing population has been responsible for the rising cost of getting a good accommodation, leading many to living in slums and shanties.

Contrary to the belief of many about Lagos being a land of fortune where you can sleep a pauper and rise a millionaire, Lagos is a city flooded with beggars. There are classes of beggars in the city: we have the conventional ones and the corporate ones.

The idea of begging for money on the street is peculiar to the conventional beggars who usually possess (or pretend to possess) one deformity or the other.

The corporate beggars, I will term, corporate baralism. Baralism is coined from the Yoruba word “Bara” which simply means begging for support on the street.

The idea of Lagos and corporate baralism was conceived as a result of my experience in the last few months in Lagos. You will see men, women, ladies and gentlemen well dressed, some even in suit, walking up to you and asking for help of fifty naira or hundred naira without any iota of shame or displeasure. Some will come up with different excuses such as; “I am just coming back from work, I have no fare home”, “my fare is not complete” and the likes. We know their languages.

To some, corporate baralism is a lucrative venture as you find able-bodied men at bus stops, baralising without any shame. Some can easily be identified because of their consistency and the same story they tell all the time.

Many Lagosians have a lot of stories to share in this area of expertise. I know you have something to say about these corporate beggars who have ravaged the city of Lagos. In subsequent writings, I will share some of my experiences as regarding this as I share more of my Lagos experience.

Sunday is a doctorate student at the University of Ibadan. He can be reached: egbowonsunday@gmail.com

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