Blue and white painted tricycles,
Loudspeakers blast Wizkid and
Mr Eazi in cosy corners
where virtue is easy.
life is easy here,
money goes faster
than it comes, but
not many worry about this;
faux ease is the shroud that
blankets Warri’s disturbia.
behind the fancy hotels and mall,
a light burns bright relentless,
no respecter of night or daytime,
gas flares unchecked.
Beyond Ogborikoko and the Barracks,
swamps beckon, home to
thousands of earthen fish ponds;
uneasy calm is the tale of these clusters
the river ebbs and flows,
fishing community sleeps, wakes and prays,
then sleeps and wakes and prays
that by dawn the river brings
no contamination from source
no quicker invitation to
hypertension exists, than
the sight of thousands of
helpless fish, belly-up
Still, life is laidback here,
‘Easy o, jeje,’ Reekado sings
what is yours will come to you,
in this city where only visitors or
the ‘foolish’ obey traffic lights.
Warri is no Gaza,
but sniper posts manned by Mopol
in busy fuel stations tell
a different tale from
the city’s faux-peaceful air.
military checkpoints at every turn,
but there is no war zone here…
just the curse of oil and
her ever restive militants.
Cover photo credit: Doyin Deji