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6 months after Eko Trust report, teenage scavenger returns to school

Farouk Adeniji

The hope of 15-year-old Farouk Adeniji of becoming an accountant and professional footballer has again come alive, six months after Eko Trust reported his ordeal as a junior secondary school dropout turned scavenger.

Eko Trust had reported in February this year that Adeniji lost his father when he was only five years old, after which, according to him, his mother, whose name he gave as Nike, abandoned him for his aged, jobless grandfather to take care of.

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However, for the old man, feeding his grandson and paying his school fees at Aliqmat Secondary School, Olunloyo, Ibadan, Oyo State, was quite some burden.

Our correspondent had beheld the teenager early February at Salvation Army, Oke Padre, Ibadan, with a bag of scraps, pieces of can and steel, disused household items and the likes slung over his shoulder, while he scavenged here and there to add to his collection, which he disclosed he sold to a scrap dealer as he struggled to survive.

Adeniji told our correspondent that he had to jettison education two years ago when he was in junior secondary school 1 and took to the streets, abandoning his grandfather at home.

He expressed a desire to be an accountant and a professional footballer, wishes he considered unachievable because of his wretched condition.

The report Eko Trust did on Adeniji’s plight has, however, given him a new lease of life and opened a window of opportunity for him to enable his dreams come true. A week after the report, a philanthropist, who pleaded anonymity, offered to assist the teenager to return to school by financing his educational, clothing, accommodation and feeding needs.

The teenager has, thereafter, been offered accommodation at the Almighty God Compassion Home, Ososami, Ibadan, through guidance by the Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs.

Also, he is now fully settled in school, but as a Primary 5 pupil at Methodist Primary School, Ososami.

Our correspondent reports that Adeniji was returning home from school when he visited the Almighty God Compassion Home four weeks ago.

It was an excited Adeniji who told Eko Trust, “I have started life all over again. Thanks to the management of Almighty God Compassion Home. They provided us with food, clothes and shoes. I promise to continue to abide by the rules of the Home. I won’t deviate from the path of goodness.”

The teenager has not buried his dream of becoming a professional footballer. “I hope to become a great footballer, so I train hard at school. I also wish to continue with my studies and be an accountant. But the only challenge we are having here is trust. This is because the Home believes we can abscond if we are given too much chance to move about on our own. All we do is from home to school and from school to home. We understand the Home is securing our future, so we promised never to abscond from there,” he vowed.

The administrator of the facility, Mr Adeniyi Oluwafemi, said the Home had been striving to take care of Adeniji and over 50 others like him.

Oluwafemi said, “It has not been easy but God has been helping us. Farouk is now a refined boy. He is always busy with his books. I am sure he will be great in life.

“When he arrived here, he was having some infections, which I believe he got through scavenging and from the slum he was sleeping then. We had to ensure the infections were treated, and that was exactly what we did with the money donated to him by a good Nigerian. I think the money was N18,000, which you handed over to us. Also, he lacked parental care before he got here, so we had to begin to train and retrain him on how to be useful to himself.

“We took him to school and bought a uniform for him. Also, we must ensure that they eat at the right time so that they won’t return to the streets. All these activities require money, but I can tell you that God has been providing for us. We need more money to care of them all.”

The administrator added that the Home had a plan to train each of the boys on a vocational skill and empower them to become entrepreneurs. He lamented that the facility, however, lacked the financial means to actualise its plans as it would wish to. He, therefore, called on well-meaning Nigerians to support the Home in ensuring that all its residents are well taken care of.

The Head Teacher of Methodist Primary School, Ososami, Mrs Atinuke Ariyo, confirmed to our correspondent on phone that Adeniji had been doing well in his studies since he started schooling there.

 

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