23 January 2014

Nigeria: Pathetic World of Flag-Girls On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Abeokuta — After an interaction with some of them, it was gathered that, rather than engaging in demeaning jobs like prostitution, these ladies, who are graduates of different tertiary institutions, said they applied as traffic controllers and flag girls on the expressway with the firm handling the reconstruction work..

Vanguard gathered that the girls, up to 10 in number, graduated from different tertiary institutions.

11 hours on the road daily

They spend up to 11 hours on the road everyday, with an hour break while they are paid per hour.

Vanguard gathered that they earn between N30,000 and N40,000 monthly.

It was an herculean task getting to talk with the ladies for two reasons. One, they will not want to lose precious work-time, and they will not want to incur the wrath of their employers by speaking to the press.

However, authoritative sources told Vanguard that the ladies, without exception, were there for mere survival.

According to the source, their salaries are calculated hourly and public holidays are deducted from their pay.

One of them, a National Diploma graduate from a Polytechnic, studied Insurance. When asked why she was a flag-girl, she said: "Because there is no job and I cannot be sitting at home doing nothing, that is why I am here.

"I am a flag girl. We resume as early as 6 a.m. and close 6 pm everyday except Sunday that we close at 3 pm. This job is stressful, but because I had worked with a security outfit, I don't find the job too stressful."

Job satisfaction

When asked about job satisfaction, she said: "There is none, I do this because there is no job. I will only beg the government to provide jobs for young graduates. I am doing this because I don't want to depend on any man."

Advising other young graduates, she said: "I will advise my colleagues to think ahead, not sitting at home and they should not depend on men because they will destroy their lives.

"They should know what they are doing before it is too late. Whatever I realise here will be used for my HND programme."

Another graduate of Esa-Oke College of Technology who studied Urban and Regional Planning is a flag girl too.

According to her, "I was pushed to the wall before I decided to take this job. I came here to work in order to get some money rather than sitting at home.

"I am not that happy about the job, but I am doing it because of the situation. Standing in the middle of the road is very risky. Many vehicles speed a lot and they could swerve and hit somone.

"They calculate 11 hours for us daily. It is supposed to be 12 hours but, we normally go for one hour break."

Advising young people, she said: "Whoever does not have family support should brace up for the challenges. Whoever does not want to mess around because it does not pay, should find something doing."

Another flag-girl who is just 23, from National Teachers Institute said: "I am from Ibadan, I just went to Kaduna for my NCE programme. It is because of the condition of the country that made me come back here to work. One of my friends was working with this company, so she was the one that gave me her slot when she was leaving the place.

Paid per hour

"The salary is not what you can say this is the amount I am collecting because they base it on hours spent.

"It is not that I don't want to teach being a professional teacher with NCE, but, the salary offered by those private schools is too small.

"I will advise my colleagues to manage what they have and be conscious of their tomorrow."

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