The World of Free Newspaper Readers in Lagos

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Samuel Akpan, a resident of Ele-epo in Abula Egba, Lagos, says in the last two years, he has formed the habit of always shuttling between his home and the nearest news stand.

Akpan, who claimed he is a 2014 English & Literary Studies graduate of the University of Calabar, in Cross River State, told fellow free newspapers readers at a newsstand at Ekoro in Abule Egba, Monday that coming to the newsstand to read the headlines, participate in group discussions, scanning the papers for vacancies adverts, has reduced his frustrations and stress.

He said he was looking out to work either in a bank or an oil company, where he will earn comfortable wages, compared to the miserable N30,000 wages that the federal government and labor are fighting over.

In Lagos, with an estimated population of 23 million people, the likes of Akpan abound in areas like: Kakawa, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Obalende, Ikeja, Surulere, Iyana-Ipaja, Agege, Yaba, Maryland, etc.

It is noted that while members of the senate and House of Representatives are doing their bits to legislate on political, economy, social and other issues at the federal and state levels, the likes of Akpan, who number in their hundreds in parts of Lagos, seem to be the parliamentarians at our newsstands.

But, Kazeem Opeyemi, a newspaper vendor at Iyana-Ipaja in Lagos, seems to be fed up with all sorts of persons, who visit his newsstand daily and ended up either assaulting each other, or even exchanging blows, while maintaining hard-lines postures on national and state issues, especially on politics, economy, security and politics and sports.

Evans Udofia, former circulation manager of a national newspaper, whose newsstand is located at Allen Junction, near Sweet Sensation said that he does not mind the hot arguments that normally go on daily among newspaper readers at his place.

“Sometimes, I do participate in their discussions, even though I was compelled at various times last year to draw the attention of the police and other security agents, when some people, who may be unemployed and frustrated try to foment trouble at his newsstand” , he said.

But, Amos, a newspaper vendor at CMS bus-stop in Lagos Island, has maintained a standard in the last one year. He said he usually collects N50 to allow anyone to read each of the copies of his paper.

His words: “I had to take this drastic step because some people will come, pick up any paper of their choice, either read it or scan for vacancies or opportunities, drop the paper saying thank you and walk away”.

Babajide Akeju, is however grateful for always visiting the newsstand at Maryland in Lagos to pay, scan the papers for jobs, contracts, and other opportunities.

Akeju said that October last year, a man he became acquainted with at the newsstand gave him a contract to supply cook foods to a church for the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Alfred, a staff of Axa Mansard Insurance Plc, in Lagos said he got his job through a gentleman, who normally visits the newsstand in Ikotun, his area to buy different newspapers, daily.

But, Bala Elkanah, Lagos police spokesperson said from time to time, under-cover police officers, do visit various newsstands in Lagos to eardrop in the discussions of free newspaper readers, who may come to the newsstands for various ulterior motives.

Source by Emmanuel Udom

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