Lekki is one of the suburbs of Lagos, located to the South-East of Lagos city.
Lekki is a naturally formed peninsula, adjoined to its west by Victoria Island and Ikoyi districts of Lagos, with the Atlantic Ocean to its South, Lagos Lagoon to the North, and Lekki Lagoon to its East.
One of its neighbourhoods, Lekki phase 1, has a reputation for having some of the most expensive real estate in Lagos.
In this richest Lagos community is a growing number of out-of-school children who on several occasions have been arrested by a Special Taskforce set up by the Lagos State Government to keep out-of-school children, especially those hawking in traffic, out of the streets.
It is sad to note that one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria.
Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school.
The pandemic has even exacerbated the already dire situation, leaving us with the big question: Why?
To find out the reason these children still prefer hustling on the streets while their peers are in school learning for a better future, Quest Times did a spotlight on out-of-school children in Lekki and its environs.
In this special report, Quest Times’ Arogbonlo Israel spoke to a select group of children seen hawking on the streets during school hours.
One of the children who spoke to our reporter, Salisu Idris, said he makes N5,000 daily from hawking on the street.
The 10-year-old car washer cum primary school dropout narrated his ordeal while calling on well-meaning Nigerians to help him get back to school.
“I’m doing this work (car washing) because my parents could not afford to continue paying my school fees. I dropped out of school in primary 6 and since that time, I have been on the streets struggling to make ends meet.
“I plan on furthering my education with the little money I raise from this work,” he said.
“The work is not easy, as most times people (drivers) scold us while trying to do our work. At times, I make N5,000, N2,000, or N500 depending on how customers patronise me. I have not made any money today,” he added.
Meet 11-year-old Aisha who plaits hair under Ikate bridge
Another respondent, who was seen plaiting hair under the Ikate pedestrian bridge, also shared her story with Quest Times.
“My name is Aisha. I’m 11 years old. I’m from Jigawa. I came to Lagos last year. It was my mum that brought me to Lagos. She is under Ijora bridge where she is hustling.
“Aside from plaiting hair, I also wash cars to make money for my upkeep. I’m not in school because of lack of funds. I would love to go to school if I have someone to sponsor me,” she said.
‘I make N2,000 daily from selling nose-mask’
A child hawker who spoke to us in print said he makes N2,000 daily from the nose-mask business.
“I have been selling face-masks since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 and it has been a good fortune for me.
“I have made N1,000 today, while some other days I make N2,000. I stopped going to school after my parents died two years ago,” he said.
Watch the full documentary below;