By Ajibola Abayomi,
When Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) arrived the center on January 16, 2020 fact finding mission, the story in town was that over 100 personnel from the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies were drafted to arrest suspected criminals and evacuate abused children from the malnourished home.
However, contrary to that the site spanning over 40 hectare of land at Uhogua was filled with many residents numbering over 4,000 according to a care giver at the center, Pastor Evelyn Omigie.
The environment was calm with well fed people living normal their life not minding whose ox is gored.
Of note were children in large numbers on playing ground unmolested while other adults attend to vocational engagements like tailoring, barbing, petty trading, cooking and others.
Although, many of the residents were sheltered in buildings that needed remodeling with a medical center requiring attention to operate at full capacity yet life continues unabated.
One of the narratives that attracted interest was the story of three young lads.
Insurgency that ravaged Gosa community in Borno State forced them to abandon their homes between 2014 and 2015 where many lost loved ones due to the invasion of dreaded Boko Haram sect.
The lads were among victims brought to the Home For The Needy Foundation serving as temporary abode and rehabilitation center for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Uhogua, Benin City.
The foundation was founded by a cleric of International Christian Center, Pastor Solomon Folorunsho.
According to the trio of 21 years old Suleiman Ayuba, Plutemon Usman aged 22 and Iliya Isaku, 25, they had lost hope of furthering their studies until they were enrolled into the Christ Life School.
Gradually, from the school they picked the pieces of their lives.
Through the intensive coaching at the government approved school built by former Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiohmhole with other facilities from other philanthropists they moved on with their academic aspirations.
Against all odds, the students sat for the 2019/2020 Joint University Joint Matriculations Admission Examinations (JAMB) and scored required marks that qualified two of them to study medicine while the third was also offered admission to study Law at the Igbinendion University in Benin City.
Chatting with our correspondent, Isaka had this to say: “I thank Pastor Folurunsho for accepting us into the needy home. I am happy to gain admission into the university while I look forward to God’s intervention to raise money to fulfill my dream.”
Ayuba and Usman both said having escaped death from Gosa, Benin was the paradise they hoped to continue life.
They pleaded for support from the well meaning Nigerians to further their studies.
An elated Folorunsho said his greatest joy was the oppoutunity to raise the hope of the needy through divine assistance from members of the public.
“That the IDPs that are here today, after what they have passed through still have hope of better tomorrow is a joy to me.
“Wherever they find themselves giving the training we had given them, they would be useful to the nation.
“Feeding thousands of kids and adults twice a day is beyond my knowledge. I am appealing and praying that God should touch the hearts of the privileged ones in the society to assist us to cater for the education of these kids.”
He debunked an insinuation that some Muslims were being converted to Christians at the center.
“We have the record of everyone here. They are all from Christian communities facing persecution in the northern Nigeria from Boko Haram.
“This foundation started in 1992 as home for the needy to take care of kids from broken marriages, orphanage and other less privilege.
“Through divine help, we have produced more than four lawyers, engineers and doctors. One of the children we cared for is now a lawyer with the Edo State ministry of Justice.
“These people are being raised to be useful to the society as future leaders. They are free to reunite with their communities and love ones subject to their wishes and whenever their personal safety is guaranteed at their place of birth“.