Madam Comfort Oke is an 80-year-old politician who lives under the Iponri bridge at Constain in Lagos state. The homeless old woman shared her story with Legit.ng and appealed to the members of the society to come to her aid as she is frail and cannot do much for herself.
Madam Oke who is popularly addressed as Iya Ilorin has lived under the bridge for three years. She said that the death of some of her children and her husband attributed to her being homeless and consequently, an under-bridge dweller.
Iya Ilorin was a food seller before she became homeless. She urged well-meaning Nigerians to come to her aid as things are difficult for her. She can also be described as a grass root politician as she had worked with many political parties including the defunct AD.
According to the 80-year-old woman, her home which was located at Bantula was demolished. She was into trading at that time but could not continue with the food business because she had a leg injury. Her means of livelihood was taken from her and she had to resort to living under the bridge.
She said that she moves from place to place as people like her often get chased from the spots they live in. Iya Ilorin pointed to the spot that used to be hers before she found a more conducive spot under the bridge. She told Legit.ng that those occupying the spot she uses now recently rented an apartment.
The frail looking woman also said that all the properties she took out of her demolished home had been stolen in the process of living in an open space. Thus, she does not have a bed or other tangible furniture that could be found in a home.
Madam Oke wants the government to do something about her situation. She wants to have a home and be empowered. Selling petty items will be fine according to her. Legit.ng reporter asked her how she feeds on a daily basis; to this, she replied that she often gets help from people. She said she does not beg for alms.
The old woman does not spend the whole day sitting under the bridge; she visits her friends and goes to the local government council at times. Whenever she is tired, she returns to her spot to sleep. She stated that she had worked at the council before. She also helps drivers call for passengers at travelling motor parks.
The homeless woman pointed to various spots under the bridge as she called them houses. This was to show that she is not alone as people also live there. These people also help her with feeding sometimes.
Iya Ilorin stated that she was actively into politics during the era of M.K.O Abiola. She was so passionate about it that she made dresses out of the campaign posters back in the days. However, she is yet to reap anything major from that aspect of her life. She said if she had been able to make money like the present politicians we have now, she would not have been homeless.
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80-year-old woman who lives under the bridge cries for help | Legit TV