By Ebele Orakpo
Make dem no worry, bigger problems are coming. Na small, small monkey dey take enter market,” declared Biodun, a commuter in the Ojota-bound bus as another commuter, Martins, narrated what happened in his neighbourhood.
“This hunger is real oo. A woman was making amala (Nigerian food made out of yam flour) for lunch. She stepped out of the kitchen into her room and returned a few minutes later, and her pot of amala was gone! She quickly raised the alarm and someone pointed at one of the rooms. She went in there to confront the woman and retrieve her pot of amala.”
Replied Pat: “Ah, which kin rough play be that now? The neighbour went too far with that joke in this change era wey everybody’s eye dey red!
“Shuo, I am sure na face-me-I-slap you compound because this can only happen in such places,” commented Gina.
Continued Martins: “As she stepped into the room, the sight that greeted her made her emotions run riot. There on the floor was her pot of hot amala surrounded by the woman and her three children, helping themselves to the amala with water instead of soup! She broke down in tears.”
Commented Gina: “Hmm, we better do something fast before something do us oo. Hunger is a terrible thing and can trigger unimaginable crises. I don talk my own. From what I am seeing, things are getting worse.”
“Strange things are happening now. I heard of a woman who begged her neighbour for soup to feed her children. The neighbour said she had nothing. For three days, the kids were hungry and then she perceived the aroma of soup from the neighbour’s kitchen. She peeped and the woman was not there so she quickly entered the kitchen with a pot and shared the soup into two, took one and left the other.
When the owner came back and saw half of the soup was gone, she suspected the woman and went and called Police for her. The policemen came and saw the woman feeding the kids with the soup. She told them her story and there was nothing they could do! Case closed!”
“Good one! That woman was wicked. She could have easily given that lady a small bowl of soup. Now she lost half of the soup. Good for her! I pray that God will give us the spirit of empathy, we are too selfish here,” noted Mercy.
Replied Martins: “That’s true! There was the case of a couple who sold their three kids for N400,000! A woman bought a paint bucket of garri, left her daughter with the seller, pretending to go and buy something and come back to pay. She went home with the garri, leaving her daughter with the garri seller, may be as collateral! At the end of the day, the lady took the girl to a police station and the girl gave her address. They got there and met her mom and siblings. The woman said there was nothing else she could do. She was desperate!”
“People now padlock their soup pots with the stoves; someone used his bag of rice as pillow; another used his tuber of yam as Teddy bear. Dem no wan hear story,” said Mercy.
“Dear Lord, please help us! Rice has gone from N14,000 to N24,000. With no salaries, people losing their jobs and businesses at a standstill, how will people survive?” asked Pat rhetorically.