Metro

July 28, 2023

Why vulcanisers hate scavengers

Why vulcanisers hate scavengers

By Theodore Opara

…They take our daily bread — vulcanisers

DO you know that scavengers are worst enemies of vulcanisers. In case you don’t, our investigations over a period of time have unravelled the reason behind the animosity.

Vulcanisers don’t like scavengers because of the feeling that scavengers take away their food. How do you trust a man that deprives you of your livelihood was a question a vulcaniser asked while trying to find an answer behind their rivalries.

But how do scavengers do this? Vulcanisers are of the view that because scavengers walk about the streets with magnets tied to their ropes to pick nails and sharp objects on the road, there are fewer tyre punctures.

As a result, vehicle owners visit vulcanisers less frequently for their tyre repairs. If you have taken time to study the two groups, you would understand how deep the enmity has been. It’s like a kind of cold war that none of them wanted to discuss.

A visit to some vulcanisers to discuss the issue turned out to be quite interesting and comical. A vulcaniser said that before the scavengers became so visible, picking nails and other sharp objects with their magnets, vulcanisers used to take care of many car tyre punctures. Although the vulcaniser insisted that his name must not be mentioned, he stressed that in the past there was hardly any day that they did not make enough money from patching tyres to take care of their families, adding that by the time these scavengers came, they could hardly patch three tyres in a day. The vulcaniser said the scavengers with their magnets pick up nails and sharp objects, thereby preventing tyre punctures.

As the matter was being discussed, the vulcaniser pointed to a passing scavenger, said: “Look at them; I mean our enemy who is taking our source of food. How can we survive with them doing what they are doing? They cash-out on a daily basis, and smile to the bank after every day’s patrol. In fact, if you look at them, you would think they are poor and dirty, but you need to see where these scavengers change their dirty clothes, go to the bank and the kind of money they deposit there.”

 When asked why the vulcaniser did not join them, he replied that it was not his calling. “They know how they go about it honestly, but I wish they did not exist; vulcanising jobs would have been more interesting,” he said.

In a chat with a scavenger, Mr. Mousa Abdullahi, from Niger said it never occurred to them that they were taking food the vulcanisers. He said scavenging was a source of living for them as they gathered pieces of iron and sell them to people who buy condemned iron. He said the business was dirty but quite rewarding in the long run. While stressing that it did not require capital to start, he noted that all one needed was a magnet tied to a rope, and then one is good to go. Abdullahi added that the other thing one needed was a sack bag where the pieces of iron picked with the magnet are dropped in and this puts food on the table. He said: “The job is hard as you walk in the rain and sun picking pieces of iron. You pick from dump sites and on the road, and you get dirty as you move. Even when you are done and want to join buses, some people look at you as if you are mad.”

Another vulcaniser, Mudashiru Akanyi, who spoke to Vanguard, said that although their scavengers activities impact negatively on their job, he did not begrudge them because they are also finding their source of livelihood, noting that if they are not doing what they are doing, chances are they could turn to crime. According to him, vehicle owners are the beneficiaries because they save a lot because their tyres hardly pick up nails or get punctured by sharp objects.

Meanwhile, some vehicle owners do not know what the scavengers save them in terms of keeping their tires alive till their life span expires. As far as most of them are concerned, they see most of the scavengers as nuisances to the community who are not adding any value.

Mr. Tony Oko, a transporter, told Vanguard that he never realized the good work the scavengers are doing until he had an encounter with his vulcaniser, who disclosed how much their members hated this group of people and lamented about how their job is affecting their quality of life. “These people are referring to the scavengers; they are not our friends. They don’t like us, and we don’t like them either. Can you like your enemy? he said.