Louis Theroux: Law And Disorder In Lagos

Louis Theroux: Law And Disorder In Lagos

ABC2  |  December 17, 2012

Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Louis Theroux explores a city changing so rapidly that formal structures of law and order can't really keep pace with its population. In this film, Louis spends time with local youths (who call themselves Area Boys) who patrol the streets of Lagos, charging or extorting money from drivers and local businesses, and with KAI (Kick Against Indiscipline), a paramilitary state government group that routinely storms different districts of the city, bulldozing whole precincts and arresting hundreds if they can detect any violation of the state's environmental laws. At the apex of Area Boy life is MC, a former street youth who has become a friend of the most powerful men in the city. He is rich and powerful. He has guns, drives flash cars, lives in an enormous house with his own private mosque, and boasts a collection of European shoes that competes with that of Imelda Marcos. He is at the head of an organisation of street youths who bring him thousands of Naira generated from the seemingly random taxes they impose on the streets. As well as MC, Louis spends time with Area Boys lower down the hierarchy - including a local woman leader called Tawa and the gangs of youths who patrol the streets imposing their own version of order. With KAI, Louis joins a demolition team as it smashes through a row of shops that have been judged illegal. He talks to KAI officers as they marshal their assault as well as local businessmen who can only watch as their businesses are crushed before their eyes. Louis wrestles with life in a world that seems at times utterly lawless and corrupt, and other times strangely orderly and formal.

Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Louis Theroux explores a city changing so rapidly that formal structures of law and order can't really keep pace with its population. In this film, Louis spends time with local youths (who call themselves Area Boys) who patrol the streets of Lagos, charging or extorting money from drivers and local businesses, and with KAI (Kick Against Indiscipline), a paramilitary state government group that routinely storms different districts of the city, bulldozing whole precincts and arresting hundreds if they can detect any violation of the state's environmental laws. At the apex of Area Boy life is MC, a former street youth who has become a friend of the most powerful men in the city. He is rich and powerful. He has guns, drives flash cars, lives in an enormous house with his own private mosque, and boasts a collection of European shoes that competes with that of Imelda Marcos. He is at the head of an organisation of street youths who bring him thousands of Naira generated from the seemingly random taxes they impose on the streets. As well as MC, Louis spends time with Area Boys lower down the hierarchy - including a local woman leader called Tawa and the gangs of youths who patrol the streets imposing their own version of order. With KAI, Louis joins a demolition team as it smashes through a row of shops that have been judged illegal. He talks to KAI officers as they marshal their assault as well as local businessmen who can only watch as their businesses are crushed before their eyes. Louis wrestles with life in a world that seems at times utterly lawless and corrupt, and other times strangely orderly and formal.

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