By NBF News
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Wilson Badejo's kind heart for area boys
Thursday , March 04, 2010

Dr. Badejo (centre) flanked by the graduating students

Photos: Sun News Publishing

Every day, you find them in the streets of Lagos. Along with their peers, all they do is molest innocent citizens and extort money from them. From the motor parks, they spill into the streets, disturbing the peace of neighbourhoods in the state. Call them area boys, street urchins, miscreants or hoodlums. The truth is, they are a menace to the society.

But on this day, their story was about to change. Looking resplendent and harmless in their matriculation gowns, the lives of these former hoodlums took a new turn. With determination and seriousness etched on their faces, they pledged to become better members of the society.

The young men, all former street toughies, were graduates of a three day training workshop organized by the Wilson Badejo Foundation. The skills acquisition programme featured intensive training on how to set up cottage industries. The participants were taught how to make soaps, detergents, beverages, disinfectants, insecticides, hair creams, balm, and air fresheners, amongst others.

The first two days were dedicated to the training while the last day was the matriculation ceremony.

In all, a total of 46 people graduated from the workshop. Various items, including generators, spray-painting machine and others were given to some lucky individuals amongst the participants just as scholarships were awarded to 12 indigent students amongst the participants. The foundation also assisted other participants by offsetting the house rents of some of them while jobs given to others.

According to Reverend Wilson Badejo, President of the foundation and former General Overseer of the Foursquare gospel church, the WBF intends to produce leaders for the country.

'We are starting small but I am a person who does not despise the days of small beginnings. Who knows whether the next president is seated here?'

Badejo said the organization would give the necessary assistance to the participants to make them become useful to themselves. 'This has been the ultimate goal,' he said. 'There are very many people who are looking for just a little assistance so that they will be able to reach their destiny in life. We do not just want to give them money which they will squander away or use to smoke. We are thanking God because we are not just making them eaters of fish but they will be fishers of fishes and by so doing they will not only help themselves but they will help others.'

He also urged other sectors of the country to embark on similar projects.

Speaking in the same vein, Dr. Kehinde Kemabota, expressed satisfaction at the conclusion of the event. She expressed hope that the training programme would produce business magnets who would establish business empires. 'There is nothing that you all cannot do if you put your mind to it,' she said. 'I am looking forward to seeing the next Aliko Dangote emerge from this hall.

The event featured an exhibition of some of the items produced by the participants, some of which included air beverages, hair cream and disinfectants, amongst others. After the pledge and collection of their certificates, the young men could not hide their joy. They were excited that they have embraced a new life and become responsible members of the society.

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