Vice President’s wife Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo yesterday shared the experience of how she worked under Lagos bridges, trying to reshape the life of street boys popularly called Area Boys.
Mrs. Osinbajo, who said the boys called her Mama, said her experience in the 10 years she worked with them revealed that contrary to popularly believe that the boys are children of the poor, several of those from rich and influential homes also found their ways into the street.
Addressing teenagers at the 2017 Teens Career Conference organised by The Everlasting Arms Parish (TEAP) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Abuja, she said streets running through and around some of the bridges had names of popular people, some of whose children also found their ways on streets as Area Boys.
She said while working to get many of the boys off the street, she came across several kind of hard drug, noting that she decided to document her experience in a book which she titled: “They call me Mama”.
Mrs. Osinbajo urged teenagers at the event not to allow anybody despise them.
Also speaking, former Minister of Education Oby Ezekwesili urged the participants to use their teenage years to decide on what they want to be in life, lamenting however that 65 per cent of children in public schools who are not doing well in education are children of the poor
Asking those in government to do something urgently to address the decay in public schools, she said: “If we do not reform education in this country, the 65 per cent of the children in the public school system that are failing are usually the children of the poorer segment of the society.
“So, what it means is double jeopardy. You are going to create what I call inter-generational poverty, dynasties in families simply because you have failed to make public education effective and productive and able to grow the competitive skills that they need in order to move from one level of society to the next level of society”.
Other speakers at the conference include Kaduna State Deputy Governor’s wife Mrs. Charity Shekari and popular Nollywood actor and former Commissioner in Delta state Richard Mofe-Damijo.
Head of the Teen Church, who coordinated the event and former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Segun Adeniyi, said the event was organised to inspire young people to know that there is nothing they are going through that others have not gone through.