Atekong’s Street Kids Return!

Just when residents of Calabar, capital of Cross River State were warming up to the sudden  disappearance of street kids who had taken up residence at the Atekong junction section of the Marian road, some of the kids made a bold statement this morning by escaping from where officials of the state had relocated them to, returning to the junction.

The kids numbering over 20 and aged between five to 16 years, mostly from neighbouring Akwa Ibom state, seem determined to remain on the streets, vending drugs and used too by seedy elements to execute activities ranging from theft to robberies.

Street kids sleeping at Atekong junction
Street kids sleeping at Atekong junction

When spoke with one of them earlier this morning, the kid who refused to give his name said in Pidgin English that, “the place wey dem take us go no good for us“(where they were taken to was not good). Pressed to say what he meant by that, he was reluctant to continue the conversation but said finally that, “the place no get water and mosquito too plenty there” (the place has no water and it is mosquito infested).

“It is an obvious lie”, officials of the Social Welfare Department of the state tell “Most of them have become used to the carefree life on the street and the drugs; confining them has become difficult, if they say where they were taken to has no water, at the Atekong junction where they sleep, do they have taps there? Or the one who says the place we took them to is mosquito infested, needs to show you which mosquito nets they use while sleeping in the open”, one official concludes.

Residents have in recent times expressed concern over the increasing presence of these kids and the menace they are gradually constituting, praying that authorities forcefully do something before things get out of hand.

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