Those who think that people who pick leftovers from collapsed buildings are wasting their times will have to think again after chatting with some of the scavengers in such sites. A random check by PropertyMart on the recent building that collapsed at Oshodi in Lagos revealed that a lot of people, either out of confusion, devastation or trauma leave some of their valuable belongings behind looking for way forward.
Some of the scavengers met at the site confessed that they make a lot of fortunes picking leftovers from the sites. Mr. Suleiman Sahir one of those picking abandoned materials said that among some of the things they pick included but not limited to iron rods, plastics, disposed utensils and bags. Some of these he said are taken home, cleaned and oiled that many a time, you see them you will not recognize them. He said they make huge money selling them.
Sahir who spoke in pidgin English said that every level of people in the society has points or seasons when they make their living. “Our season is when there is building collapse or when government is demolishing buildings. We get more valuable things especially when government begin to demolish houses without reminder notice. In this situation, the occupants may have left some valuables as they were not prepared. Some of the genuine properties that were hitherto not taken care of will be left for scavengers to pick, “he said.
Another respondent, Kabir Ibrahim said that most of the things they pick included buckets, iron chairs and disposed electronics and electrical materials. According to him, it is not proper to pick from sites of collapse buildings but the fact that most of the materials may not be needed by the initial occupants, they will not allow further job to be done in terms of laying new foundation.
For Omoniyi Abike, some people think that those pick from collapse buildings are lunatics. “No, they are not. Some times people you may not believe do pick at sites of building collapse. Some times, we pick huge sums of money but because you may not identify the owners or locate who lived their, you make use of the goods you pick. There are certain things you pick, you find out they are still in good condition. You take them home, clean them and put them for use again. Things like radio, children toys, television sets, speakers and home theatre could be picked in this way,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, Mr. Isiaka Magaru noted that goods like foam, condemn iron, shirts, shoes and other foot wears, news- papers, books, belts, plates, spoons and even chairs that were abandoned fall among the things we pick. “Although, at times government agencies like NEMA, Police, Civil Defense and local vigilante groups don’t allow us entry into the sites. They will make us not to enter but they will enter and pick some of the valuable items they like. By the time we come we may not see something to pick. Many a time also they will invite us to do job during reconstruction. This is because there is no job, “ he said.
Most of them spoke in pidgin English with exception of Mr. Isiaka Magaru from Borno State whose communication and ability to explain what he has in mind is easier understood unlike others who do more of description that use of words.