GREAT NIGERIA IS NOW A BROKEN GLASS NO ONE CAN MEND

Lagos 4#Traffic congestion in Lagos is a common thing

Early February 1980, Babatunde left Accra, Ghana, for Lagos, the populated city in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It was then an era when every young man wanted to go to this oil-rich country. It was like the Exodus, the mass departure of the Israelites from Egypt to the promise land. The oil boom had improved the economy, giving rise to employment in every field.

At one time, Nigeria is the largest exporter of groundnuts, cocoa, and palm oil. Petroleum plays a large role in Nigeria’s economy. It is the twelfth largest producer of petroleum in the world, accounting for 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product and 80 percent of government earnings.

Babatunde found himself a place to stay at Surulere, a suburb of Lagos, through the help of a relative living in Nigeria over four decades. Lagos is one of the most populated cities in the world. Looking for accommodation was just as hard and tedious as excavating te ground for gold. The city was very beautiful despite its filth. Lagos Island is surrounded by a vast body of water. It has the largest seaport, especially the Tin- Can port, then also Apapa.

The numerous overhead bridges connecting the whole city exposed the beauty of the country. For example, the Third Mainland Bridge right from Ebute-Metta to Obalende, both suburbs of Lagos, was a well-done job by the German firm, Julius Berger. In the city, wriggling through the crowded afternoon shoppers was what the pickpockets liked most.

The city was very beautiful at night; unfortunately, poor drainage system made life unbearable for its inhabitants when it rained. It was very common to see a single room occupied by seven or more people. Babatunde shared a room with four other men who had been in the country for a very long time. The four were working at the same place, the Apapa port.

Nigeria was a country with regard to foreigners, each one for himself and God for everyone. Don’t expect to be fed when luckily you have got someone to accommodate you, so most of the time Babatunde used to go out with them when they were not working. Thus, within a short period of his arrival, he had already become familiar with the neighbouring suburbs, such as Yaba, Orile, Ebute Metta, Eko, Ikeja, Edu-Motta, Palm Grove, and a host of other places.

Nigeria was at its peak and probably could be one of the richest countries in the world, with various jobs available in all fields. The economy was too good and the poor could afford everything like the rich with a bread worth 10 Kobo on the table. The exchange of the dollar was somewhere between 45 to 65 Kobo. A ticket of four hundred Naira could provide your round trip to Europe and back.

Around the music shops, the competition between musicians Sunny Ade and Ebenezer was heavy, as the fans of King Sunny Ade and Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey fight to establish supremacy.  I (Babatunde) got a job as a driver to a politician, which paved the way for me to drive the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo through the principal streets of Calabar when the Unity Party of Nigeria was having a campaign in Calabar.

I met great people including Chief Ebenezer Babatope, UPN Publicity Secretary. Meeting Chief Obefemi Awolowo, the leader of Unity Party of Nigeria was a great experience. With him and chief Essuene behind me, I wouldn’t like to listen to their conversation, so I increased the volume of my reggae music. But Awololo told me to bring down the volume and I did. I travelled extensively throughout the states of Nigeria. Just guess, if your boss has nine cars including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota SuperSaloon etc.

Nobody ever thought such a great country could fall on its knees beyond recovery. Like a broken glass which can’t be mend, Nigeria at the moment is beyond recovery. Poor governance and corruption have crippled the economy of the  country to the extent that the common man lives with hopes and dreams. I don’t know any head of state who has a magic wand to pull this country which was once better than many European countries out of this economy storm.

Extract from the book Road Of Agony

Paint 8

:  http://www.amazon.com/Road-Agony-Joel-Savage-ebook/dp/B013L99T44/

http://www.amazon.com/Joel-Savage/e/B008SCTYI6/

Beware! Of International Conference Scam Mails

SCAM
There are hundreds of scam mails inviting people to world conferences floating on the internet, with the intention to defraud those that may be interested. Such mails target people from Third World Countries, desperate to enter Europe or America.
But some immigrants in Europe, fall victims to such scams because of the bait: The sponsors of this event shall cover your round-trip air tickets from your country to the USA and back to your country and we shall also provide visa assistance with the U.S Embassy in your country of residence and your ground transportation from the airport to the conference venue.

SAMPLE OF SUCH MAILS
Today at 8:17 AM

Life As Immigrant At The Notorious Pantanella In Via Casilina Rome

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma Novembre 1990 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africani tra cui (Joel Savage) Panoramica della Pantanella. Rome

As a child growing up in a strongly religious family, I was thought that everything which is opposite to the teachings of the Holy Bible, including laziness is a sin. I tried my best to live a clean life. We were thought to believe that Israel, Jerusalem, and other Biblical countries were all in heaven, without a slight knowledge those countries were on the same earth we are living today.

When I left my family looking for a job, I tried to be sincere and prevented doing anything wrong which could land me in jail. I read that jail changes people’s attitude to be good or worse. But I wasn’t interested to know the positive or negative influences of jail on people. My only interest is never to be there because it’s not the right place for me.

In the year 1990, from Lagos, Nigeria, I made a transit in Rome, on my way to German. In Rome, I was detained at the Fiumicino airport. The Italian immigration regularly does that to many foreigners, especially Africans. Like a tourist, I walked around the airport lounge without a room to sleep and food for three days. On the third, I was really starving, so I approached one of the immigration officials and said to him that I am hungry. He looked at my face and asked me “Am I your father?” Then he walked away.

Without knowing what the officials have in store for me, I handed over an application for asylum as a journalist and it worked, because I have some few publications over my profession on me. On the fourth day, from nowhere came one of the immigration officers, he said to me: “Your application has been accepted, today the police will come to take you to Rome.” I was shocked beyond expression.

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma 31 gennaio 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh. Le forze dell’Ordine sgombrano la Pantanella. Rome, January 31, 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Police evacuate the Pantanella.

 The good Samaritan didn’t only deliver the unexpected message, but he pulled out from his pocket a number of notes and said to me: “I don’t want my colleagues to see me giving you money, buy some food to eat at the airport.” I didn’t take the money. I told him: “This important information you have given to me has taken all the hunger away, thank you.” He walked away with his money.

On the fourth day, the police came, just as the officer told me and took me in a police car to the city, Rome, and left me there to fight for my survival. Without anywhere to sleep, I passed all my nights at the Central Train Station. Among other Africans, we watched a big television screen during the day to forget our misery, then in the night, I go to sleep at my hiding place. The police and the workers at the train station never discovered the place I slept.

After some time, I discovered places where I could eat every day without paying for food. I could take my bath and take some clothes. One of such places was at ‘Via Dandolo.’ Daniela, the head of the Caritas (Charity) at Via Dandolo, was a very good woman, but one of her female workers was a very bad woman. A thief. Since we had no address, our letters passed through the Caritas at Via Dandola and this woman took the opportunity to steal money from our letters.

I caught her twice, so I wasn’t surprised when I lost the 10 pounds a friend sent me from England, but I didn’t tell Daniela about it. Through the Caritas, I had my initial lessons and attended classes to learn the Italian. I was one of the best immigrants who could write and speak the language fluently, yet my life was miserable because I was still sleeping at the train station.

In Rome, I was robbed, admitted and operated at a hospital, but the nurse refused to touch me, because of my color, thus; every morning when on duty, she calls someone to attend to me, but she had time for every Italian patient at the hospital. I was once sitting in the hospital’s garden after the operation, when an Italian old man, one of the patients came close to me, looked at my face and said to me: “Marocchino motaccizoa.” – an insult, after mistakenly taken me as a Moroccan. I didn’t say a word.

Then all of a sudden, as if it was announced on the radio, all the immigrants in Rome, without accommodation, discovered an abandoned Pasta factory called ‘Pantanella.’ Pantanella is notoriously known for all criminal activities, including drug peddling and crime, similar to drug cartel zones of Mexico. One needs strength, courage, heart and braveness to survive at that place. Italians think they are brave, but many of them dare to pass Via Casilina, the street Pantanella is located in the night.

That was the place I lived and worked as a toilet cleaner for thousands of immigrants, using six containers as toilets, to raise money to feed. I was employed by the Muslim head at the place. It’s terrible and frightening to live at Pantenella. It wasn’t a prison, but the place, I think was tough like Alcatraz, because of the criminal activities many illegal immigrants engaged in feeding.

 

Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh.Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Roma 31 gennaio 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupato da centinaia di immigrati asiatici provenienti dal Pakistan e Bangladesh. Le forze dell’Ordine sgombrano la Pantanella. Scoppia un incendio durante lo sgombero Rome, January 31, 1991 Ex Pastificio Pantanella occupied by hundreds of Asian immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Police evacuate the Pantanella.A fire during the evacuation

The abandoned factory accommodated both soft and hardened criminals from various countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Africa etc. I lived in Pantanella for four months, and the Italian government tired of the crimes going on in that abandoned Pasta factory ejected all the foreigners.

But the Italian government did something great for the African immigrants. Something we weren’t expecting. The government paid for two weeks stay in a hotel for all the Africans, with the ultimatum that before the two weeks expired, we should find a place on our own to live.

Through a very good sympathetic woman called Nana, (she died in Rome a few years ago) I got a job as a houseboy to serve one journalist called Claudio Lavazza, working at television station TG2, belonging to the former Italian Prime Minister, Sylvio Berlusconi. He provided me accommodation and paid me well. Besides, he gave me the new version of Fiat Cinque Cento (500) to drive. It may be likely that I was the first black man in the entire Italy to drive the new Fiat Cinque Cento when it freshly came out. I met other journalist friends of Claudio, including Michele Cucuzza.

After three years, I said goodbye to Rome and returned to Africa. I married and returned to Europe once again but this time choosing Amsterdam. ‘Overseas Chronicle: The Rome and Amsterdam Experience’ is a book once started you’ll find it hard to put away, because of the shocking intriguing stories in the book. Find out more of what happened to me in Rome and later in Holland, which led me to detention in Amsterdam.

 

Come sono sopravvissuto come un immigrato nella Pantanella pericoloso può essere letto in: 
Chronicle 3