Ipodo Street, a slum in the heart of Ikeja

By Jennifer Okundia/Ayodele Efunla

News about a 26-year old mom of one quickly spread like wildfire on Monday from the south west city of Lagos, Nigeria into every ear who cared to hear or not. The name Lizzy now rings a bell as it has been on the lips of countless Nigerians from different parts of the country. Although the circumstances surrounding her sudden recognition isn’t palatable, we all have a story to tell one way or another.

WHAT WE KNOW:
Lizzy is from Delta State
She isn’t based in Ipodo, Ikeja alone but sleeps in different places
She speaks yoruba language fluently
She’s been in the Ipodo area for around 10 years
She attends clubs with her friends and got influenced by them!

Curiosity to know why a girl who claims to have attended two expensive private schools in Lagos should end up as a beggar, commercial sex worker and a drug addict living in a slum made PMNews visit Ipodo today where she had been living until rescued by pastor Tony Rapu of House of Freedom. We interviewed a blacksmith who was born in the community. The man who spoke to us in Yoruba language simply identified himself as Baba mi, relayed to us what he knows about Lizzy and happenings in the vicinity.

PMNews: Can you tell us what you know about Lizzy?

Baba mi: Lizzy has been here for like 10 years, she like many others here who do not listen to parental advice was influenced by bad friends. She goes clubbing with her friends and they do not stay in one place, they move from place to place, sleeping in different places at different times. She attended Oregun high school not the schools she claims, she begs and prostitutes to feed her drug habit and survive.

PMNews: There’s a rumor that Lizzy has a child, how true is this?

Baba mi: It’s no rumor, Lizzy is not a small girl oh, she’s married and has a child.

PMNews: Do you know her parents or relatives?

Baba mi: No but her friends do, they don’t want to divulge the information to me. I have the phone number of some parents, anytime i see their kids around here, i always call them to report, i have children too and wouldn’t want them to end up being wayward.

PMNews: So what advice do you have as regards this Lizzy’s issue?

Baba mi: I am happy the pastor came to take her away from here, she was lucky. There are some people that come to this notorious place with expensive cars and leave with nothing due to the lifestyle they indulge in. I am very educated, yet i don’t smoke, i drink occasionally so it will take sometime for the drugs in Lizzy’s system to leave and for her to quit her old ways. If she can be put in a good home or environment and properly taken care of, gradually her mind will forget these bad habits.

This is one side of the story from a witness, Lizzy is currently undergoing medical detoxification at Freedom Foundation and when she is fit enough to relay her side of the story, it will be published likewise.

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Photo: Ayodele Efunla