LagosLivesOn: A message from a Lagos commercial bus

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Samuel Okocha
Freelance Journalist . Photographer . Audio + Visual Storyteller | Specialized in mobile, creative and non-fiction storytelling based in Lagos
LagosLivesOn: A message from a Lagos commercial bus

In the fifth instalment of our series, we explore how the message on a Lagos market reflects the city's harsh reality


Lagos - This is one of the thousands of buses that ply the roads of Lagos, Nigeria's megacity, ferrying millions of people every day. The buses are often painted in yellow and black, the official colours of the state.

The bus in the picture bears a message: No Money. No Friend. This is a common phrase in Lagos, where money is seen as the key to survival and success. The phrase also reflects the harsh reality of life in the city, where poverty, inequality and insecurity are rampant, and where friendship and loyalty are often tested by financial challenges.

The picture also shows a man racing past the bus as he pushes a cart. He is one of the many informal workers who hustle on the streets of Lagos, doing various jobs such as loading and offloading goods, collecting and selling scrap materials, or running errands. These workers are often ignored or exploited by society, but they are part of the backbone of the city's economy.

The picture captures the contrast and complexity of Lagos, a city where wealth and poverty, hope and despair, coexist.

I took this picture in 2015, as part of my photobook on everyday Lagos , trying to capture its essence, the vibrant spirit that makes it unique. What do you think of the picture and the message? Do you agree with the phrase: No Money. No Friend?
LagosLivesOn: A message from a Lagos commercial bus
Copyright Samuel Okocha 2024
Updated Dec 2023
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