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Children from the waterfront neighbourhoods of Lagos cut off by distance and makeshift

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Sitting uneasily between mainland Lagos and Victoria island, in that space, just before the third mainland bridge, is Mosafejo Oworonshoki; a densely populated waterfront community of fishermen, petty trading women and out of school children. 

Ozegbe Sunday Obiajulu has lived in Oworonshoki all his life. The son of a lower middle class parents, he found his passion early enough in secondary school when he picked up dancing. Now, he is passionate about Improving the lives of young people by teaching dance classes and staging exhibitions within the community. 

      (Ozegbe Sunday Obiajulu)

“Presently we have have a very strong dance community in Oworonshoki where dancers have been able to accomplish interesting feats by channelling their youthful energy into dance and the Arts in General 

“I believe we can do more by focusing on primary and secondary schools in Oworonshoki ,” Sunday tells NewsWireNGR.

Fondly called VALU by his friends, Ozegbe Sunday said he chose not to attend university because he saw a better future for himself as a dance artiste; even though his sister is a chess champion with several medals to her name in the University of Lagos.

Life In Mosafejo

Access to education is a major challenge in the community. Mosafejo has only one public primary school and one secondary school to serve it’s teeming population of children. 

Children from the waterfront neighbourhoods are cut off by distance and makeshift nursery and primary schools become the solution to this problem.

Oworonshoki is under Kosofe Local government and the population is estimated at about 665,998.

One of such makeshift schools, is this one on Lone street, Mosafejo. The ‘school’ is actually a church building converted into a general classroom that serves children of all primary school ages and levels. 

At Folu Nursery school, the situation isn’t much better. Makeshift classrooms, inadequate space and limited resources is the order of the day. Running the school has been a challenge for Ms Folu the headteacher who started the school 3 years ago. Attendance is irregular because parents usually cannot afford the N4000 fees. 

Ms Folu

                       (Ms Folu) 

It is not a strange sight to see out of school children in Mosafejo on fishing boats or out of the streets doing nothing. The fall out of this, is the growing crime rate.

VALU says;“The former Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for Oworonshoki in 2019 told me one of the major reasons for the increase in cult activities in Oworonshoki was because young kids from as early as primary 4 were been initiated into gangs” 

VALU’s dance classes are providing a somewhat temporary solution to a problem that deserves a strategic, well funded and holistic solution. 

“When I go to a school and volunteer to teach dance, even the hardest or most stubborn of the kids won’t refuse a dance class, why? Because it’s Fun! 

So I get their attention with dance, then I slowly encourage them towards taking their academic pursuits seriously. 

If they attend 3 hours of my dance training after school, where will they find the strength to go meet up with again afterwards? They will go home sleep and go to school the next Day!

Dance is fun and the young people in this neighbourhood need a space to express all that energy.”

VALU would love to build a community arts center for young people close to the waterfront, but he is worried about forced evictions by the government. He has seen waterfront communities like Otodo Gbame and Takwa Bay displaced and he is worried that it might be his community’s turn soon.

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