By Miftaudeen Raji
Against the backdrop of neglect by the society, residents at the Leper’s Colony, Iberekodo, Abeokuta, and the Ogun state capital have cried out for help for improved well being and education of their children.
The leper’s community made this appeal for assistance, Friday, while receiving relief items from a non-governmental organization, JAW JAW Africa.
Speaking on issues affecting lepers, the Secretary of the colony, Folorunso Lukman, pleaded with the government, public and civil society organisations to support their children’s education for a better future.
He said, “We have accepted our cross but please in God’s name help our children. Our present situation has frustrated some of our children out of school to learn either trade or handwork after learning, we still don’t have money for them to start up or buy work tools for them.
“Please we didn’t bargain for this but it happened, we have accepted our fate. We haven’t failed until we can not help our children to make good lives for themselves.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the colony, Jimoh Ahmed, advocated for soft loans to boost the petty business of the traders among the lepers.
He said, “Another problem we have here is security. Every day we are only sure of going to bed but waking up is God’s doing. Our colony here is too porous. There are exit routes everywhere. Before now, there were no houses around us but development has made people build houses all around the colony.
“At night, the whole of this place will be in total darkness exposing us to more risk but what can we do?
“So, if you ask me to make a request now, I will appeal for solar street lights, even if it is just two that we can get, we will forever be grateful.”
Chairman of the elder’s council at the Colony, John Ojuawo, also complained on how cattle destroy their subsistence farm, a development, which he said, has stopped their farming business in the colony.
Meanwhile, the convener of JAW JAW Africa, Victor Eniola – Mark, noted that the NGO prioritises issues affecting children, youths, women and the elderly, requested data of out-of-school pupils, and students, and promised to work on the pressing issues in the Colony.
Mark promised that the organization would facilitate the installation of street lights in the Colony, adding that security must come first in all human dealings.
He said, “I’ll also like to tell you that we understand that this that happened to you is not what you bargained for, we also understand that it can happen to anyone, that is why we are here to tell you that you are not alone.
“We shall be waiting for the list of all the complaints you have made here today for consideration.
“We will work with you and as well with our friends who we know should be able to help in achieving a more comfortable life for you all.”