*Courtesy the “Get Them” IDPs Games
By Oluwole Francis
John Dawa one of the Internally Displaced Persons at the new Kuchingoro camp has not only emerged as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 5-a-side football event and thereby secured a scholarship to the Pepsi Football Academy, Abuja centre.
The IDPs games area in Abuja was bursting at its seams last Saturday, with hundreds of excited/expectant children and residents of the camp who came to witness the novel project of Oge Women, Children & Youth Empowerment Initiative.
The children and residents enjoyed a fun-filled day of games, music and food.
The games participants were split into three teams: Peace, Love and Pepsie; competing in events such as the sack race, the egg & spoon race and a biscuit eating challenge while the women contested in a head tie challenge.
“Promoting physical activity and competition, especially amongst children, is important as it helps them to develop a disciplined lifestyle and a healthy mind” said Oge Pepsie Adiukwu, the director of OGE told www.gongnews.net
“Oge is encouraging these youngsters to get active and practice healthy lifestyles and we are using the theme “Get Them” as a ‘double entendre.’
We want to get the children, youngsters and women before the bad people (human traffickers) do and we also want to get the traffickers and bring them to justice.
I strongly believe that these vulnerable people need our support and a recurrent awareness campaign on the dangers of traffickers. I hope that our support will help give them the incentive to adopt an active lifestyle and motivation to say no to traffickers.”
Oge managed to feed over 300 IDPs during the event and according to the director it was obvious that these people were starving. She and her team were almost overwhelmed while sharing the food but for the presence of the policemen guarding them.
“A hungry man is an angry man….President Buhari and his team should come to their aid” said Oge Pepsie Adiukwu. She continued “there are fights frequently, at the camp during food sharing with people getting their heads slashed and hands broken ”
That said, she was “overwhelmed” at the turnout and the success of her IDP “Get Them” games.
She further stressed that her Oge NGO remains totally committed to its mission and, along with the welcome support of others, continues to seek means of ‘making a significant difference’ to the lives of the underprivileged women, children and youth of Nigeria while also fighting against human trafficking.
In addition to the “Get Them” T shirts used for the games, there were other gift items with such messages as:- “Empower the Vulnerable People…Keep them from the reach of Traffickers”
“Speak Out Against Traffickers,” “Don’t Be Trafficked”
The participants were also informed about the modus operandi of traffickers and admonished not to fall into their traps.
Popular celebrity and face of the Pepsi Academy project in Nigeria, Mr. Iain Nelson, Chairman, Friends of Oge praised the director for her initiative concerning the IDP “Get Them” games.
“I just want to congratulate and thank Oge Pepsie Adiukwu for the tremendous support she has been giving to the IDPs children and I believe her “Get Them” theme may well be the precursor to a nationwide campaign against human traffickers.”
The Pepsi Football Academy, Abuja coach Rasheed Afolabi who attended the games said “to be honest with you, the boys are very skilful. I really look forward to the MVP, John Dawa, joining us at the Pepsi Football Academy.”
John Dawa, the MVP scholarship winner, is 15 years old. He said: “I am very happy, I like football, thank you for this great opportunity aunty. I won’t disappoint you. Look forward to my emerging as the next great star in this country. I will make you all proud.”
He ran from Gwoza in Borno State to Cameroon to escape Boko Haram. From Cameroon he came back to Madagali in Adamawa and finally to Abuja. His father is still in the IDPs camp in Cameroon while his mother is in Keffi, living with his senior sister who is married.
John lives in the IDP Abuja camp with his senior brothers and over the past few months has been taken out for football training by John Fashanu.
John Fashanu, on hearing of John Dawa’s MVP award at the event said “I’m really delighted that John won the MVP at the IDP “Get Them” games. It’s a testament to the coaching we’ve given him so far. I wish him the best of luck at the Pepsi Football Academy.”