My Name is Christopher, am a Nigerian photographer who is working in lagos. I am also available for project in Any country within west Africa. I speak Italian fluently, French and Spanish a little bit, my Italian and English are better. Thank You.
The High Road
By Christopher Nelson.
Standing in the train station, all I could see was people moving towards one direction in a very fast pace like the foot version of the fast and the furious. No one talked to the other, it was strictly all man for himself. Suddenly I noticed a man running through the crowd like Genghis khan sweeping aside the tribes of Asia on his march to conquering the world. In the wink of an eye, he collapsed like wet noodles but no one paid him any attention as I observe.
At the sound of the train, sound of footsteps disappear and voices come aloud ‘comot for road, comot for road’ they all yelled at each other. They have been moving for the past two hours to get this far, nothing could be more frustrating than to get this far and not achieving your aim. A man said to a fellow offering him a stick of cigarettes as a sign of good faith.
As they stood waiting for the next train to arrive I noticed traders returning from a successful buying trip in the Benin republic, a triumphant medical student who has just passed his exam in the local college, Togolese migrant workers heading to a construction site near the border. At the other side of the station, members of a local wedding party outfitted in their local attire.
A policeman and a traffic officer arguing over whom to benefit from a windfall which came from good motorists, on the other hand and accidents occurs between a pedestrian and a commuter bus. Market women hustling for customers, school children beckon on an elderly man to help them cross over. In this same situation many have been killed, bones and bodies have been bruised.
Prostitutes by the east end of the road calling on potential clients, gamblers settle by the side of a kiosk as they enjoy a field day, mendicants lay siege on the pedestrian bridge hovering over my head like monkeys in south Africa. As I continued my journey along the high road of Lagos, all I could hear was drivers honking and raining abuses on each other as the traffic intensify, a man pours cold water on his head in an attempt to cool off from the scotching sun. Automobile Mechanics wield spanner on rebel apprentice, vulcanizers yell at impatient customers as tempers begin to flair under the heat of the sun, magicians seize a portion of the road to carry out their dubious act.
A prophetess with a bible on the left and a bell on the right hand preaching the good news to everyone who cared to listen.
Young street hawkers hasten to make sales to anyone who signifies interest in their merchandise.
Pickpockets roaming around like vultures waiting for the carcass. Suddenly a fight broke out between two thugs fighting over whose turn it is to collect bus stop fee. As each thug and their members began to draw out weapons to wedge war against their rivals, bottles were broken, machetes were pulled out and locally made pistols were shot into the air to avoid police interference.
Shortly a single soldier hijacks each member from rival gang and ordered them to lie face down in the gutter, without any complain they obeyed. After few minutes he asked them to make peace and move on, all thanks to the soldier for avoiding something that could have turned into a full scale riot.
I focused my camera to capture the decisive moment and two boys came up to me with this question WHY ARE YOU SNAPPING US? As if I am not Nigerian. I turned and looked them in the eyes with fury. Yes? I said to them, since when did that become a crime?. Am a journalist don’t mess with me if you don’t want me to shut down your operations. They apologized and left.
I’ll let you into a little secret, In Lagos Nigeria never allow people see fear in your face, even when your heart is about to go off.
Finally I got to my destination, a thirteen storey sky scrapper in Ikoyi Lagos Nigeria. When I slipped into the elevator, I heaved a sigh of relief like a journalist in the warfront who had just survived from a shootout, with people wondering where I was coming from all I could do was thank my stars.
The humidity that greeted me when I stepped into the office was in a class of its own.
As I sank into the sofa waiting for my appointment, my mind went back to all the fiendish act I had witnessed on the road and it became very clear to me that not everyone makes it through the high road.