Bea Oni

Where are you from?

Ilorin – a crazy, crazy city in Western Nigeria that defies all the rules of common logic. I like to think that every man and woman from Ilorin is my brother or sister, only people who are from there can understand what it’s like to belong to such a crazy shifting population of different people. Known throughout Nigeria as ‘the Home of Peace’, I’m really proud to come from a place that has married so many cultures so successfully!

What was your childhood like? 

My childhood was full of weird and interesting people, loud noises and the constant smell of dust and fuel that obviously comes with living in a city like Ilorin. I’m one of five, so our home life was more than a little hectic even without the chaos of the city just inches from our front door! My family is firmly rooted in religion, we would all go to church every week together dressed in our best and keen to hear what the sermon would teach us.

What do you do for a living?

For my sins I still reside in Ilorin. I travelled through Nigeria as a teenager, picking up mechanic skills that helped pay my way around the country. By the time I’d returned Ilorin I knew how to completely strip an engine down to its parts and put it all back together in just a few minutes. I’d enjoyed the process of learning so much that I took it upon myself to teach others. I run school-based mechanic courses, as well as night-school classes for adults in basic and advanced mechanics.

What are you aiming to achieve here? 

My experience of living in Nigeria is, I’m sure, very similar to many other African peoples. Although I have nothing but compassion for every human being that I’ve met in this crazy country, I can’t help but feel that we are overcrowded. I want to explore how we can proliferate the use of contraceptives in a country (and on a continent) built upon religions that have traditionally shunned the use of such things.