Lagos, the commercial capital of the country, Nigeria is not only home to big business headquarters. Yes, the banks, media houses, insurance companies, and others seem to be controlling the larger chunk of money. Notwithstanding, small and medium scale businesses are also meeting demands. Anything sells in Lagos, even “shit’’. Shit business (Mobile toilet business) is one of the unusual and unpleasant business, where money can be found in Lagos, owing to its ever-increasing population. A creative and innovative entrepreneur saw the business opportunity connected to human waste and human’s need to answer the call of nature. He took the risk, explored the path, and birthed the first mobile toilet business in Nigeria. The rest is history.
The mobile toilet, just as the name implies, is a movable type of toilet. It allays the fear and anxiety that comes from the inability to find a place to defecate, especially in public places. Typically, public places like events, schools, social gatherings, markets, and garage in Nigeria do not have enough toilet facilities. As a matter of fact, prior to 1999 when Isaac Durojaiye founded the Dignified Mobile Toilets, there were about 500 ill-maintained public toilets in Nigeria. Defecating openly in streams, rivers, and seas were common. Consequently, diseases spread fast because the same water sources were also utilized for domestic purposes. The start of the mobile toilet was a new phase for public health in Nigeria.
For late Isaac Durojaiye (aka Otunba Gadafi), his clichés were: “Shit business is serious business,” “Shit money no dey smell,” “Shit business is good business,” “You call it shit, we call it money.” His journey into the business that made him a millionaire began in 1992. The then security boy of a Nigerian business mogul, Late Chief MKO Abiola was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing a social event that had 10,000 guests in attendant. The unfortunate thing was that they had only two toilets to cater to their guests’ nature calls. This bothered him a lot. It was in the process of reflecting and finding possible solutions to the situation that the business idea came.
The business grew to have 19 branches across Nigeria. It provided mobile toilets made of high-quality plastic materials for sale, rent and leasing. It also catered for both private and public services, for celebrities’ events, and government. In densely populated public places like bus stops and motor packs, the cost of using the mobile toilet began from N20. For the high network individuals, the mobile toilets were fully air-conditioned with MP-3 player, red-carpet reception, satellite TV and off course, a higher pay.
Although the man behind the “shit revolution” is late, mobile toilets are still very much around in Nigeria. Human waste evacuation isn’t a shameful business anymore. Workers are no longer ashamed to do the job and do not cover their faces any longer. All that has changed. The business is dignifying. “Shit” business is serious business.