Kuramo Beach, an exceptional hell hole of its own kind. Here displaced men and women of all ages sell their bodies to survive. I’ve never been there, but a vivid description from an acquaintance traumatized me immensely. He described a sexual haven for perverts, pimps and the promiscuous. A sea side joint in Lagos, where male and female prostitutes abound, I am not quite sure if the place was a bar (with live band) first or it was a sexual shanty town first, but ultimately both appear to have been coexisting there for years. “You can have sex with children as young as nine years, for as little as one hundred naira” he said, with unaffected relish. My stomach churned with disgust, it was hard to restrain my anger and frustration, I had to remind myself that it’s not his fault that such a place exists (don’t shot the messenger). How could something so demeaning be allowed to happen to children? No matter what problems a society has, children and to an extent women must be protected. Is that too much to ask of a civilized society? Questions tangoed in my head with repulsive images of littered shacks, haphazardly placed in a poorly lit sandy terrain. The face of the children was too horrific to imagine, so I shifted my attention to his reaction to the situation.
This acquaintance of mine pointed out all this details when we were discussing a charity project that I was working on. The project involved rehabilitating an orphanage Library. He was trying to convince me that working for Orphans and other vulnerable children were a bad idea because people either suspected you of 419 or ritualism. He pointed out that Kuramo beach had plenty abandoned children, toddlers thrown away by their prostitute mothers. According to him they survive somehow, growing up to become prostitutes themselves. When I asked why nobody had done anything to take the children away from such an unpleasant place, he argued that nobody would dare, because society will accuse the person of having ulterior motives. Of course his argument didn’t make any sense, and there where many organizations especially in Lagos state that are working with the socially and economically deprived. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are many who distrust individuals and organizations who work for such causes.Its over a year since we had that conversation, yet I still wonder if such a place really exists, a “Sodom and Gomorrah” as he called it, and if aid agencies will reach those places, rescuing the desperate lot.
I will always be troubled by people who see litter in their neighborhood and turn the other way, who see naked mentally insane and do nothing, and worse of all, street children. Doing nothing is not the worst thing a responsible adult can do, many sexual degenerates take advantage of vulnerable children. While they sit on their plastic or wooden chairs in beer parlors and passionately play out their arm chair politics, apportioning the usual blame to government, they sneak into dark corners exploiting the orange seller or the homeless boy; let’s not forget the neighbor’s toddler or the troubled teenager.
While we wait for better governance and improvement in our quality of life, I wonder if we will continue to allow the vulnerable in our society to suffer. Poverty can perhaps be “eradicated”, but sexual molestation leaves cruel scars, permanently on people. Granted it happens everywhere in the world, but what bothers me is people’s response to such heinous crimes, it’s like we have become jaded, nothing shocks us anymore. News reports of sexual abuse and molestation raises only a brief outcry of displeasure, never long enough to see perpetrators sentenced to prison, or in my opinion castrated.