There are two sets; The first set, I see them in traffic running after cars and pedestrians as they hawk their wares; snacks, drinks, household accessories and tools ranging from sets of dining spoons to vacuum cleaners to plasma TVs etc, just to ensure they survive even though it may cost them their life. They are usually between the ages of 9-15 and at that same age I remember been a bubbly school girl with ribbons in my hair and in primary school studying mathematics and English and having poetry class. I love this set of people dearly.

The second set, I see them also in traffic and I wonder why the government is yet to do something decisively about them. This set are women and between the ages of 25- 40. They carry two babies on both arms as they beg for alms under the blazing Lagos sun and also in the rain. They disgust me and I am infuriated because a child is been exposed to the worst of elements because of selfish gains. They may be poor, yes, but they could also eke out a living doing some other trade.

The first set, I love to watch from my car window as they persuade their potential customers to buy their wares. Then they spot me and about five kids come running after my car trying to convince me to buy their snacks and a bottle of drink. Their fighting spirit is so contagious. One of them is really pushy and persistent and though I say no to him, he still runs after my car and says, ‘Ma, please buy from me’. How do I refuse such request? I am not hungry and do not want to buy snacks or drinks, but yet I buy from him and ask him to keep the change. His face immediately lit up and he mutters ‘God bless you Ma’ showing me a set of white teeth.

I ponder what life may have been for this first set if they had the same opportunities I had as a child growing up in a supportive family and exposed to education and the good things of life. Next, I wonder if the big men and those in government power, who drive to their plush offices everyday in their big cars on the same road and see these kids put out their life in danger in order to get the most basic thing of life: Food; ever see the need to take them off the road. How do they sleep with themselves seeing these children everyday who should be in school but are aren’t as they can’t afford to go yet they are citizens of a country that is the world’s fourth biggest producer of crude oil? Am yet to get answers to these my questions but instead of pondering, I have decided to act.

For the second set, criminal charges should be brought against them and laws promulgated against such. How does a woman who is not a disable (Not that disability should even stop anyone) expose these tender children of 6-18months to harsh weathers just to use them as tools to solicit pity from road users? Why don’t these women do manual jobs and make little money to take care of these children? (Most times, these children are never theirs!) I love children and young people and I envision a country where these children are given equal opportunities to grow up and be all they can be without the drawbacks of circumstances and access at least, the basic things of food and education.

No child within school age should be in traffic running after drivers and passengers just to sell a snack that costs less than 1/3 of 1 US dollar.

I need a platform to draw resources and support from to achieve this goal and though my mission is to start small with my little feet patters, I look forward to a beautiful sunset where children are allowed to be children and instead of running after cars on the streets, they are running after kites after school hours… ‘Being a voices of our correspondents offers me this’.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision.


Your piece almost got me tear eyed at some point. i see these things everyday in traffic, at street corners, everywhere. You painted the picture so well sis...Thank you for this

very nice :)

Nosotros los más pequeños, debemos convertirnos en un nudo de resistencia en contra de la mentira y guardar la verdad, mantenerla y difundirla. (subcomandante Insurgente Marcos)

I share your sentiments on grown women who continue to be children who should be spoon-fed. Why not go and ask for a job as a maid or sell vegetables? I also winder if they have no self-respect at all. I think these women need to be educated that they need to set an example for their children. It is not just in Nigeria where you find those women, even here in SA we have them.

It is sad that children are used in this manner and yes there are some women who will use children to drive people to pity them. However it could be on the other hand that both the women and the children are victims of a crime syndicate. I am not sure if this is the case in Nigeria but in South Africa a new form of exploitation has been discovered where women and children are kept in slavery and forced to go onto the streets to 'beg' on behalf of their 'owner' and all the money they get is actually not theirs. They are constantly watched and monitored and as soon as they get significant mounts of money it is taken away from them. They can not escape and if they try they can be killed. It is disgusting I know but you could possibly look into the situation in Nigeria to see if this form of exploitation could also be present. Thanks for your article.

i saw that in paris and in beirut however i do question the reason of this , as is there any possibility organizing these women and get aware ..

Nosotros los más pequeños, debemos convertirnos en un nudo de resistencia en contra de la mentira y guardar la verdad, mantenerla y difundirla. (subcomandante Insurgente Marcos)

Good luck making this is so important that our children get an education today, so that they can lead others tomorrow. I think it will take a bottom up and a top down approach to make effective change but is surely a worthy fight to wage! I wish you the best of luck.


Hello Nezed. I admire your compassion towards these people, the love as well as the hurt. Young children should not be used as a tool to draw in money, however I do question that perhaps in some instances there are little other options. I think education as pointed out by Phoebe above is crucial for the children, but I also think it is crucial to the adults as well, so that they can see and understand that this perhaps isn't right. Nevertheless I think your story has been written in a lovely way, you have painted the scene well, again I think this relates to your compassion. Good luck with your goals for the future.

All the best, Charlotte

Nezed, Je vois votre souci pour les enfants, vraiment vous portez une solution pour les personnes qui sont moins noble; pouvez vous interpeler le gouvenement de les prendre en charges?