Volume 9, Issue 2, May/August 2020
Al Chukwuma Okoli
The Phenomenon of Skolombo in Calabar and the Challenge of Urban Subalternism
This paper examines the phenomenon of Skolombo in Calabar (Nigeria) in relation to the challenge of urban subalternism in that context. This is against the backdrop of the evolution of the Skolombo into a rising urban subaltern category involved in the underworld and ant-social activities. By means of exploratory and conversational discourse that relies on extant literature as well as insights from personal communications, the paper posits that Skolombo phenomenon represents an existential struggle by abandoned and rejected street children who are surviving against structural societal victimization. Away from home, these children have found the streets, not only an inevitable abode but also a space for opportunistic survival. Over the years, they have evolved a pattern of street living characterized, among other things, by restiveness, touting, gangsterism, and criminality. Associated with this pattern of existence is an emerging subaltern identity that highlights a crisis of urbanity in Calabar metropolis of Nigeria.