How hunger and inequality feeds ‘Badoo’

by Alexander O. Onukwue

What sane person ventures into the business of selling a handkerchief soaked in blood? The answer to that question is “What sane person buys?”, but that’s not really the focus for now.

As a cult group of socially malformed young men, Badoo is the product of a society where hunger, disillusion with the source of survival and social irrelevance are existing. Yes, these boys are on an evil high, but is anyone asking how it was allowed to get to this point?

There is no denying that evil has not justification. Cultism and delinquency are always to be abhorred, but what happens when they are not prevented? In a hugely unequal city like Lagos, every person who finds no dignified means of sustenance will be reduced to a vulnerable state to become an evil genius.

It’s not been long that there was the celebration of the victory won by the Otodo Gbame and other waterfront communities over the move by the Lagos State Government to dislodge them. The children of those communities, without proper coverage, education and welfare, have had to absorb the forceful actions of the State in treating them as though they do not matter. They have remained civil, causing any untoward behaviour, but Ikorodu is what happens when young people lose their heads and forge dangerous and certainly perilous paths, as a result of the failure of the authority to adequately create the environment that transcends mere sustenance to actual significant living.

So that when bands of young men without food and without any means to meaningfully source it, are told they can sell a handkerchief for a thousand times more than they could make from a betting slip or a ‘Bab Ijebu’ lottery, it is almost too good for them to resist. The same existential condition drives them over the edge to keep people hostage till they can get what they need to survive.

Badoo is a terrible development, but like similar cases around Nigeria where there is an unmitigated imbalance in the spread of development within a city, the outcome has been that those who are priced out of essentials, easily tempted to become predators.

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