Walking down a popular street in Ajegunle on a cloudy Monday evening, I saw young boys between 15 to 18 years, muttering incantations and behaving awkwardly on the street in a broad day light.
I thought they were mentally deranged, but was baffled when some people spoke in hushed voices that they were cultists. I screamed, considering their age. Moreover, these innocent-looking teenagers who are supposed to be in school or probably at home running errands are now on the streets to cause havoc.
From rape, stealing, gangsterism, touting, all manners of assaults, to any kind of crime you can imagine, these fellows are very vulnerable.
The worse is that they are unleashing themselves in Ajegunle that is already notorious for its ghettos and high crime rate associated with slummy areas.
Worried about safety of lives in the slum, I made efforts to understand how residents live with such hooligans in their midst. Mama Chiboy, a middle-aged woman who runs a local bar in the area, frowned at my inquest, fearing that I would walk into trouble.
But on noticing my genuine concern, she opened up. We cannot tell all we see inside this Ajegunle. She asked.
She is not worried about the many brothels that harbor prostitutes, but about how teenage girls who are still under the roof of their parents sleep around with men even without protection. Aside that, the level of school drop-outs is alarming in Ajegunle as many take to touting, commercial bus driving or conducting, car wash and all manners of menial jobs.
But those who have guts do robbery, high level thugs for politicians, tax agents among others. The sad thing about Ajegungle is that the area, which was once famous for breeding creative talents, sports men and women, celebrities among others now breeds criminals.
What happened, if one may ask? The irony is that while the city breeds talents, the talents leave to develop other areas in Lagos or Nigeria, once they rise to fame. Tracing the history of the area, the man explained that people in Ajegunle should be living in affluence because the area was supposed to serve as residence for the low cadre workers in the old Nigerian Ports Authority.
If the low cadre NPA staff had lived here since then, the man argued that they would have grown in position by now and at least, buy and redevelop the old houses they lived in before moving to Lekki and Ajah. Of course, insecurity and neglect by government, especially lack of social infrastructure have driven some businesses that would have grown in the area to safer areas.
Same businesses also employ people from Ajegunle and pay them peanuts. In some extreme cases, fight of superiority among rival cults, touts and thugs have often led to the burning of houses, cars, business places with the culprits never apprehended till date. So, it is survival of the fittest amid slum madness.
However, respite is not in sight as the bad state of roads, poor development and insecurity in the area have worsen in the last 10 years and have seen the exodus of many enterprising people from the area.
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You will receive mail with link to set new password. Prev Post Golf: Stakeholders call for corporate sponsorship to grow the game.Odion Ighalo may have completed a sensational January move to Man United, but beyond the transfer's headlines, Ighalo's switch to Old Trafford epitomises hard work, perseverance and simply keeping the dream alive. Sitting more than 35 points behind league leaders and rivals, Liverpool, it was no secret Man United were set for one of their busiest January transfer window in recent years.
And in a move aimed at adding more depth to their squad, the club ushered in three new signings in winter, including one of the most unlikeliest in Odion Ighalo. Marcus Rashford's back injury is understood to have forced United to enter the market in search of a short-term replacement, with the dire situation seeing PSG forward Edinson Cavani emerge the perfect candidate to fill the void. However, the deal never saw the light of day - with United instead landing Ighalo on loan from China in a deadline transfer deal that took many by surprise.
A section of fans, including former United players have openly mocked the transfer claiming it goes to show how far the club has fallen. But born 30 years ago in Ajegunle, an underprivileged neighbourhood of Nigeria's Lagos state, Ighalo can only be proud of the strides he has made in his football career.
He was subsequently taken for trials in Norway where he impressed, earning a move to Lyn Oslo in It was at the Norwegian club where he spark to prominence as Serie A giants, Udinese, eventually came calling.
Two years later, he returned to the Premier League, joining Manchester United on loan until the end of the —20 season. Internationally, Ighalo made his debut for Nigeria inrepresenting the nation at the World Cup in Egypt where he emerged the competition's the highest goalscorer in and the Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign where he emerged the competition's top scorer. He will now be looking to disprove his critics and doubters when he finally pulls on the red shirt to make his bow for the Old Trafford dwellers.
Meanwhile, Legit. The Super Eagles defender has been struggling for game time since his summer move from Bundesliga side Mainz in Breaking: Ighalo becomes 1st Nigerian player to sign for Man United after completing 6-month loan deal on deadline day. Super Eagles legend joins top Italian side from Premier League giants.
Respect to that but my own case was different," Ighalo told Sky Sports. My parents couldn't afford that so you have to pay a viewing centre to watch that.
We would pay to watch that. When it would get to the weekend, everybody was excited because they wanted to watch Man United play. Ighalo recalled his experience in the viewing centre filled with hundreds of people and his participation in a Manchester United fan forum group. You would eat at home and they would give you some pocket money to go to school and maybe eat lunch there. But you would be saving it bit by bit and when you get to the weekend, everybody is ready," he continued.
You put them on and go to the viewing centre and it's crazy there. Some other fans want Man United to lose then you're a Man United fan and you want them to win and you start arguing, shouting, screaming and all of that. You go to another one and you see people in there.
Some people would stand, you're paying but even then, you're standing and watching it from afar.DRASA in the Ajegunle Slum
There's a big screen and a little screen and you have to watch there. They won every game, every season you'd see them winning the Premier League when Sir Alex Ferguson was here.
Everybody wants to associate with a team that's winning and that's how I associated myself. I was very young then and growing up, I followed the team to today.
It's a great moment for me and I'm enjoying every bit of it. The former Watford striker has played three league matches so far and he will be hoping to open his Premier League goal account since his return to England in January.
Sports Home. Email Address. Sign Up. What to Read Next.Ajegunle is a slum in Lagos, Nigeria, where three million people, from all over West Africa, have settled. In the past, the only means for slum dwellers of Ajegunle to improve their lives was through a talent for football or music.
First agreed at the United Nations Millennium Summit in Septemberthe eight MDGs set worldwide objectives for reducing extreme poverty and hunger, improving health and education, empowering women and ensuring environmental sustainability. The report says that great progress has been made, with close to five billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide at the end ofand almost two billion people throughout the world now having access to the Internet. But it also underlines that vast improvements are still needed.
Why a Lagos slum is producing Nigeria's top football talent
At the end of the six-week training period, these students are expected to start their own businesses and compete for internships and special training slots. Ugo Nwosu, Programme Manager for Ajengunle. They are able to better express themselves, thus opening up more opportunities.
The graduates pay for their education and support their families from their earnings, either from internships or small businesses. According to Nwosu, they have also become bolder and go on to tackle life issues without the feeling of insecurity.
The benefits not only help the trainees integrate better into society, through job and ICT skills, but also improve the image of the community through the Internet.
Now slum dwellers, like Taiwo, see a brighter future thanks to their ICT training. A group of favela residents in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were so fed up with negative media coverage that, inthey established their own small website to link themselves directly to media directors in order to provide an alternate source of information on life in favelas, rather than news just being sent in via the police. The goals of Viva Favela were to democratize information in two ways.
And the second is to serve as a mechanism to reduce social exclusion by providing amateur journalists, cameramen and web technicians from the favelas, with the tools and training to empower them to take up opportunities to become professionals. This has opened the website to a wider audience, to include those residents who are not wholly literate. Landa Araujo, 26, was selected in to become a community correspondent for Viva Favela and has since moved on to become a spokeswoman for the Social Welfare office of the Rio de Janeiro Municipality.
Landa believes that the fact she is still living in the favela helps break down the prejudice from those outside and provides a confidence boost to other residents. Self-esteem is not only increased for the trainees, but also for the residents accessing the website. Some side benefits for the favela communities are that the broadband cables will also allow security cameras and lighting to be installed.
Some teething problems still exist though, with some extremely slow connections reported in various parts of the favela and others with mixed reception signals. Many of the slums around the world, however, do not yet have reliable Internet access, but instead depend on the ever-increasing penetration rates of mobile phones to access ICT. In Kenya, mobile phone banking has shown that when the formal sector fails the poor and marginalized, ICT can come to the rescue.
The service is also saving people time and money. Within the slums, kiosk owners and similar outlets act as agents where people can collect or send their money. Non-governmental organizations that operate in the slums of Kenya are also using the service to make social payments to slum residents.
It allows them to collect their payments when they want, and spend it on what they want. She and a team of neighbours designed the map for the Internet. Broadband: The State of Broadband Broadband 1.This has made more children to miss school and end up dropping out of school. World Food Day which is a day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger; our commitment is to eradicate hunger starting from our local community by providing food items to 20 families in the slum.
We also provided new school uniforms and learning materials to a low cost school. We are igniting the dreams of vulnerable children living in the slum and reducing the high number of children who do not go to school. Labels: africanchildajegunleBack2schoolBacktoschoolcharitychildchildrenEducationeducationNGOnigeriaqualityeducationsmartinschoolstudentUpforschool.
Sunday, 19 August ICT training for children in the slum. The ICT training program for kids was aimed to teach children living in the slum digital skills which was organised in collaboration with Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and African change makers mentoring. Now the children are certified in computer appreciation package.
Labels: africanchangemakersajcityajegunlechildrencomputerDFTSDreamsfromtheslumEducationeducationictITparadigmnigeriapinigeriaslumtechtech4kidstechonology. Surprised at how his popularity has soared in the ghetto, the Big Brother Naija winner says he never believed kids could recognise as this. The social service expert also identified three children from his organisation, who wanted to become a pilot, just like Miracle, the Big Brother Naija winner.
The soft spoken winner who claimed his journey was not particularly rosy said he was happy to struggle his way to become a pilot because he believed he can do it.
He charged the kids who wished to become pilots to continue to believe in their dreams. Dummy Super-Eagles jerseys were distributed to the kids who feel delighted at the presence of the A-celebrity in Ajegunle. Labels: advocacyafricanchildajcityajegunleBBNAIJAbigbrothernaijachildchildrendayoftheafricanchildDreamsDreamsfromtheslumflyboylagosmiracleigbokwenigeriaschoolslumwinner. The readaloud session with the children opined their eyes to certain values the y should have as children and to have empathy on others; while the reception that hosted 30 teenage girls and mothers enlightened them on their health and hygiene as majority of the girls live in the slum.
They were also taught how to make use of sanitary pads because some of them has never used a pad before. They use clothes when they are ON because they cant afford it. They also got extra pads to give to their family or a friend as a way of teaching them to GIVE. Labels: ajegunlecharitychildrengivingtuesdaygivingtuesdaymenstruationmotherspadreadaloudWomen. ItStartsWithMe is a campaign centered on educating the public on good infection control and personal hygiene.
A number of environmental factors influence the spread of infectious diseases including water supply, food sources, and sanitation facilities. Good hygiene — particularly hand hygiene — is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of diseases including diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid United Nations.
In these communities, people are at high risk of spreading and dying from infectious diseases. In a collaborated effort with Dreams from the Slum Initiative, it was hosted in Araromi Community Slum in Ajegunle and school children learnt practices as quick, simple and extremely effective ways to remove germsavoid illness and prevent the spread of diseases.
Through a practical demonstration, they also learnt how bacteria and viruses spread and they were taught how to properly wash their hands and educated on the importance of good personal hygiene for maintaining their health. Dreams from the Slum Initiative took action to inspire hope and smiles on the faces of children living in the slum as school items were donated.These are external links and will open in a new window.
Ajegunle is known for being one of Lagos' toughest, most dangerous slums, but it also has another reputation - for producing some of Nigeria's top footballers. So what's the secret to its unlikely success? For a football-obsessed nation like Nigeria, talent can be found in every corner, but there's definitely something special about Ajegunle, or AJ City, as it's known by locals.
Since the early s, Ajegunle has been churning out football talent. They have to contend with high crime rates, as well the absence of running water, grid-powered electricity or healthcare. Other open spaces are often claimed by so-called "Area Boys", unruly gangs who often demand a fee for people to play there.
Super Eagles striker Jonathan Akpoborie, who made his name in Germany's Bundesliga in the s, also honed his skills here. They were inspirational to us. The slum also has an established system of grassroots football, which encourages talented youngsters to play competitive football for local clubs at an early age.
It's an all-round community," he tells me. If you can't afford the transport then you stay - and those who stay are great players," says Ighalo. Bolarinwa Olajide is a sports reporter with Lagos-based radio station Wazobia.
He saw many of these players emerge from Ajegunle over the years. They can't afford fees to join a football academy, so they go to Ajegunle because they know scouts come to watch them play, and it's a chance to show what they can do as footballers," he tells me. Leicester City and Nigeria midfielder Wilfred Ndidi did not grow up in Ajegunle but played against boys from the slum during his time at an academy in Lagos.
He believes Ajegunle has produced good football players because the boys there "work hard, the lifestyle is difficult so they try to work very hard and come out with their best. To keep the Ajegunle legacy going, some of the footballers are already giving back to the community with projects to nurture future talent. Akpoborie is helping to identify future football talent, while Ighalo is building an orphanage in the heart of the slum. Why a Lagos slum is producing Nigeria's top football talent 16 April Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Taribo West is just one of the many top footballers to come out of Ajegunle Ajegunle is known for being one of Lagos' toughest, most dangerous slums, but it also has another reputation - for producing some of Nigeria's top footballers.
Life is not easy for many of the residents of this sprawling ghetto. Related Topics Nigeria. Elsewhere on the BBC. Stay fit like a champ Tyson Fury's Home Workout. Daily news briefing direct to your inbox Sign up for our newsletter. Why you can trust BBC News.
Politics Home Parliaments Brexit.There are abundant reasons why AJ City, as it is dubbed by locals, is today recognised as a cradle of the finest talent in the Nigerian game.
And so, too, does Odion Ighalo, who tonight is expected to complete the road less travelled by making his debut for Manchester United.
They had almost forgotten about Ighalo in Ajegunle. That was until United, more out of desperation for a striker than planning, called his agents to secure a last-gasp emergency loan deal. Plucked from exotic obscurity at the age of 30, Ighalo today finds his face plastered all over the streets of his home city. Oluwashina Okeleji has known Ighalo since he was 16, when he was still toiling for local Nigerian sides and chasing the all-important move to Europe. He is as astonished by the latest turn of events as anybody.
People want to see this. The two weeks that he had to spend training away from the main squad, due to coronavirus precautions enforced after his journey from Shanghai, have sharpened the image of a player on the outside looking in.
It is, in every sense, a myopic perspective. Up to 80 million are estimated to be regular followers of its matches, most congregating in vast viewing spaces to replicate the stadium feel.
The club claimed in to have signed papers with John Obi Mikel, before the midfielder controversially announced he was joining Chelsea. Capturing Ighalo, albeit in the autumn of his career, corrects a conspicuous missing link.
Aiyegbeni Yakubu and Celestine Babayaro both succeeded, but no one has left a huge mark since Nwankwo Kanu. All those who supported Arsenal because of Kanu have changed to being United fans overnight. With Ighalo going to United, there are others who will be motivated and inspired by his journey.
Dreams from the SLUM
Ighalo, though, has had the last word in spectacular style, profiting from the type of coup not even divine providence could have conjured. Through life, Ighalo has been anything but egocentric.
But he came from a strong family, with older brothers to protect him from these dangers. He and his twin sister were the last born, and he left the ghetto very early. The moment he arrived in Norway, he told his mum he was cold.
The Norwegian connection proved another propitious circumstance in steering him towards United. For all that Ighalo has scarcely concealed his euphoria at securing such a move, his off-field activities suggest an unbreakable attachment to his native land.
At Udinese, he spoke of his resolve to build a place in Nigeria in which the destitute still had a chance to thrive, and he has made good on that promise by creating an orphanage in his name in Lagos. When Ighalo, who, despite his fortune has no permanent base outside Lagos, turned up last Christmas to inspect the premises, he was venerated, followed through the front door by a brass band.
The happiness of his improbable United switch is tempered, however, by the loss of his sister Mary, who died in December aged just 43 after collapsing at her home.
It is her name that will be stitched on his red boots against Chelsea tonight, alongside the Nigerian flag. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.