African female talking drummer, Aralola Olamuyiwa, has said that 95 per cent of homeless youth across Lagos State were victims of failed homes and leadership.
Ara, as the drummer is fondly called, noted that an investigation conducted through her ‘Eko Inspire Me’ project showed that many of the homeless youths came from other states to find “greener pastures in Lagos state”.
She added that further findings showed that children between the age of 13 and 15 years old keep coming to Lagos daily without having anywhere to stay or people to serve as their guardians.
She said this during the official launching of talent discovery of street urchins across Lagos state.
She stressed that parents play a major role in the rising rate of homeless children in Lagos State.
Olamuyiwa noted that her ‘Eko inspire me’ project was aimed at discovering talents on the street and supporting them in achieving their goals.
She also added that she plans to have an academy where the street urchins can be accommodated, rehabilitated and re-orientated.
She added, “We realised that as we started this work, it is not something we can solve like that within the twinkle of an eye because every hour, this youth troops into Lagos. It’s like mopping the ocean. Except something is done, and I must also say, it is not a Lagos or Nigeria issue. It’s a global issue. Homelessness is a global issue, and for every social problem, there is an economic solution.
“What we are trying to do with Eko Inspire is to support the government in eradicating or eliminating or reducing the number of homeless youth or street urchins or area boys and girls.
“As a mother, I see as young as five years old among them who came in from another state. It will also shock you to know that approximately 95 per cent of them are not from Lagos; they are from Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Anambra, and Imo.
“The governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, whom we are always thankful for, for his support. He does not have the capacity as Mr. Governor to stop anybody from coming into the state. But I am hoping that in the near future, there will be a policy that can at least address this issue.”
Ara, however, admonished parents to fend for their children.
She further said, “I am also advocating for parents to take care of their wards; stop having children you can not take care of. We need to put a system in place that can stop this.
“And as I said, it is a global issue; it is not a Nigerian thing. We need to address it. We are doing it in our own way. I’d be more fulfilled when I have an academy with a minimum of 100 beds space; an academy where we’d pick youth off the street, rehabilitate and reorientate, and reintegrate.
“Today, we are delving into sports and talent involving those who have talent in sports, music, and dance. From here, we are going to have a tournament in table tennis. We are going to have a grand finale where the winner is going to take it all.
“So, we are starting the table tennis tournament from here today. From Oshodi, where the idea was conceived.”