By Salawudeen Olawale
Increased numbers of beggars and heaps of stinking refuse at the Ikotun Central Roundabout in Lagos State are giving Ikotun residents a cause to worry.
No fewer than 50 beggars daily seek alms at the roundabout where about 10 heaps of decaying refuse ooze stench.
The roundabout connects about 10 communities on Lagos Mainland.
Many commuters alight at the roundabout or board vehicles from there to their various destinations including Egbeda, Igando, Abaranje, Ejigbo, Ijegun and Isheri Osun.
The beggars, mostly women and children, sit on the refuse and seek alms from pedestrians and motorists.
The beggars and the stinking refuse, besides reckless driving, cause heavy traffic on the roundabout.
Some residents and commuters in Ikotun said that the beggars were constituting a nuisance while the stench emanating from the refuse had become unbearable
A clearing agent, Mr Abiodun Ajayi, said that he had abandoned the route because of the situation.
“My worry is the beggars who disturb motorists trying to go through thick traffic. I could no longer tolerate it; so I had to change my route.
“The government should do something about these because they are a nuisance to the community,” he said.
Mrs Blessing Ibekwe, who owns a cake shop near the roundabout, also disclosed that the stench from the refuse had become a source of worry.
Miss Rita Oburota, a school teacher, who plies the route daily, appealed to the Igando/Ikotun Local Council Development Area to address the situation to avoid an epidemic.
A petty trader on the roundabout, who simply identified herself as `Mama Shade’, said that the presence of beggars and the refuse denied her patronage.
She said, “Many people have stopped buying from me because they said it is not hygienic to buy goods near heaps of refuse.
“I am trying to get another spot for my market.”
A worker in the LCDA, who pleaded anonymity, said that the beggars had been sent away several times but they returned.
“These beggars are stubborn, they will always find their way back because of what they get from the people,” he said.
A generator seller near the roundabout, Mr Jude Udemba, advised the council to plant flowers on the roundabout as a strategy to send the beggars away.
“If the government plants flowers on Ikotun Roundabout as in some other parts of Lagos, the beggars will have no space to hang around,” he said.
The Information Officer, Igando/Ikotun LCDA, Mr Tope Kuku, said that the council did not have the capacity to relocate the beggars.
“The council does not have what it takes to take them away; where do we take them to?
“The state government made efforts to take them away but these people are stubborn,” he said.
He urged the state government to provide the council with the means to evacuate the beggars and the heaps of refuse.