For Ibijoke Apena and Janeth Eruwayo, two aged siblings living in a one-room apartment, their old age is anything but comfortable, decent and accepted as they have been abandoned and left to their fate by family and relations.
Even their neighbours at Amusan Street, Rogo, along Iju-Ishaga Road, Lagos State, are no longer at ease with the two sisters as they consider their continued presence, a nuisance. Their living condition is unimaginable – they defecate, urinate and do so many things in the same place they eat and sleep. The stench emanating from their quarters is so appalling that people around throw up!
Originally from Jakpa, in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, the sisters have spent more than 60 years of their lives outside Delta.
Even when it was obvious that their children had forsaken them, they cocooned themselves in the world of pretence, saying “our children have not abandoned us. Don’t speak ill of our children.”
But one thing nobody can take away from the octogenarians is their intelligence and impeccable English. Eruwayo attended Queen’s College, Lagos.
The more elderly of the two, Apena, said she had five children and was married to the family of Apena in Ebute Meta, Lagos.
The 87-year-old Apena said, “I was married to the family of Apena in Lagos. I have five children but one is dead. My husband died more than 20 years ago.
“My children do visit any time they wish. I worked as Secretary to Arab Brothers Limited in Ebute Meta.”
Her younger sister, Eruwayo, 82, disclosed that she had four children.
“By the grace of God, I have four children. Some of my children are pastors while others are well-to-do,” Eruwayo said.
Eruwayo’s plight is even more grievous than her elder sister’s – she is blind and suffering from dire infirmities.
A co-tenant, who did not want his name mentioned, said the octogenarians had “great children” but wondered why they had been left alone.
“I still cannot fathom why they abandoned their mothers. Some of the children I had cause to speak with sometime did not want to hear anything about them. One simply told me: ‘If they die, let us know. We will give them decent burial’.”
Another said, “One of the children of Apena in Lagos is a multi-millionaire. He lives in Iju area. Any time you talk about the women, he shuts down.
“He always told us to leave them to their fate. He even told me that he would not visit the place until they die. I find it difficult to figure out what is wrong.
“It was only Eruwayo’s son in Abuja that used to visit them occasionally until he suffered serious financial setback caused by Boko Haram’s bombing of his business interests in the north.”
It was learnt that Apena rented the apartment more than 30 years ago and later Eruwayo joined her.
We gathered that all tenants in the two-storey building where the sisters live have been given till December, to vacate the premises and this we further learnt, is triggered by the state of squalor of the sisters who are now more or less, society’s rejects.