In Nigeria living in a Tenement Building is common, especially in states like Lagos. Tenement Buildings offer residential accommodation to majority of urban area dwellers, particularly those living in the slum neighbour-hoods.
It is a common norm that those who live in tenement buildings face a lot of struggles, some people believe these struggles come from putting people from different tribes, different religious believes and different personalities together to live in one building. People also believe it is hard for them because they have to live and share amenities together.
NAIJ.com went to visit some tenement buildings in Idimu area of Lagos state, to take a look into the lives of those living in face me I face you houses. While inspecting some of the buildings NAIJ.com realized that some of these houses have about 12 rooms in the buildings and contains one or two bathrooms and kitchens.
While speaking with some of the tenants, NAIJ.com also discovered some of the difficulties of living in tenement buildings.
1. Tribal differences
Some of the tenants complained of trust issues, they believe that your tribe determines how trustworthy you are while others complained about differences.
A woman named Ngozi explained that she has been living in her place for a year but people in her house still believe that she is a prostitute.
She said: "I am 25 years old and I moved here last year January, when I first came everybody seemed okay but later they all changed gossiping about me behind my back, some of them think say I be ashewo but I have a job, I be hairdresser and they know that but because some of my friends come here to see me with jeeps they believe am sleeping with them."
Another tenant who said is name his Alfa Gani simply believed that all the Igbo boys living with them were thieves. He said: "That is what they do, it is their job and they are always brings girls here, even one of them has a car and he is just 23 years old."
2. Bad Influence
Some of the tenants who have children believe the living standard does not give their children the ability to make the right type of friends.
A mother of three boys, Taiwo Jamiu, explained that her boys are not exposed to a good living standard and she expressed that no matter what she says it feels like they are refusing to listen to her.
She said: "My first son is in SS3 and he plays with some boys who live in the opposite house to ours, those boys are not good for him all they do is play game at the game house and there are times he would follow them out and come back smelling like paraga (alcohol)."
3. Living amenities
Some complained about the difficulties of sharing amenities with a lot of people with different personalities.
A man who identified himself as, Sola Sodipo, expressed that the living standard is very difficult for him, he said people do not maintain the building, he also complained of how people live the toilets dirty and said he has no privacy.
He said: "I hate face me I face you, I just manage because that is what I have money for. They don’t even clean the bathroom and toilet when they are done and they steal here, one day I fetched water to bath and went to the bathroom with it but I forgot my sponge and when I went back for it by the time I came back to the bathroom the water was gone and not that alone they steal my food in the kitchen no privacy at all, I can’t wait to get a better place."
The landlord of a tenement building, Lola Adejumo, nicknamed Iya Pupa, who said she has been a landlord for 20 years, explained that coordinating everyone to cooperate with each other is very hard. She complained that some of the tenants know the right thing to do but they refuse to cooperate with others.
She said: "When we want to pay for light it is not everyone that would pay at once, so they all start fighting because if one person does not pay there is no light for us all, even those who paid, so you can understand how that can be frustrating."
Adejumo further explained that most people just don’t get along for reasons known to only them. She said: "Some who have the money to pay won’t and others would refuse to do their chores which would definitely affect the lives of others, I cannot count how many times have called the police to stop a fight for me or even take some of them to sleep in the cell."
"Living in face me I face you houses is difficult but even with every struggle they face, a life lesson is learnt" Sola Adejumo.
According to the landlord it is hard and difficult but those who come out of a tenement building, become great because they have learned to live with all kinds of people, the evil ones, the good ones and even thieves.
Do you also agree that even with the struggles of a face me I face you house, people who live there are smarter than does who live in better places because of the hardship they have faced?
Watch NAIJ.com's market survey interview below: