In a heartrending incident that unfolded in the Olola area of Odo-Ona, Ibadan, an eight-year-old boy narrowly evaded a potentially tragic fate as enraged residents accused him of pilfering plastic materials.
Swift parental intervention managed to quell the residents’ anger and secure the boy’s release, preventing a grave injustice.
Narrating the episode, Silas Oresanya, a local resident, recounted his surprise at spotting the young boy quietly scouring his compound for plastic items.
“He was collecting plastic buckets, bowls, and various other items,” Oresanya shared.
Upon apprehending the child, he questioned the motive behind the act, to which the boy revealed a heart-wrenching story.
The boy claimed his mother had tasked him with gathering plastic materials from the neighborhood to serve as fuel for cooking.
With their financial struggles leaving them unable to afford gas or charcoal, they turned to plastic materials as a desperate solution.
Two other community members, who chose to remain anonymous, confirmed having witnessed similar actions by the child in the past—stealing plastic items and even charcoal.
The community’s dire economic circumstances are evident, as a recent market survey conducted by NAN showed that cooking gas prices range from N900 to N1,100 per kilogram in the area.
A gas outlet operator in Odo-Ona, Fatai Olanrewaju attributed the inflated prices to transportation costs from the depot to the community.
Amidst these difficulties, some, like Mrs. Omotoyosi Abdulkareem, have found respite in purchasing from major gas outlets, where prices are more reasonable.
However, even she acknowledged the current economic challenges.
Mrs. Joy Uchendu, another resident, lamented resorting to firewood due to the prevailing economic downturn.
She revealed the hardship of even sourcing firewood, involving sending her children to gather it.
Adding to the economic pressure, Mrs. Abosede Lawal, a local charcoal trader, shed light on the reasons behind charcoal’s exorbitant cost, attributing it mainly to transportation expenses.
She highlighted the inability to alleviate this issue, given the government’s removal of fuel subsidies.
This story sheds light on the harsh realities faced by those grappling with economic constraints, while also highlighting the power of empathy and intervention in preventing a potentially tragic outcome for an innocent child.
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