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– Abdulkabir Oyekan, Senior Boy, Farm Settlement Primary School, Odongunyan, Ikorodu.
What influenced your coming to this school?
I came to this school because the teachers are qualified, disciplined and the quality of education have received so far from my first day at school till date have been impressive. My parents knew the caliber of teachers here and felt they would make impact in my educational career.
How has the journey been so far?
Well, when I started the journey, it wasn’t easy. It was somehow different but due to hard work and dedication of the teachers, have been able to wither the storm till date.
How are you able to overcome the burden and stress accrued to learning?
Right from my tender age, my parents do tell me that it is good to be hardworking and my teachers also sound this to my hearing. These have kept me moving and have been able to overcome numerous obstacles.
When you got admitted into the school, how was the environment like?
Sincerely, the environment wasn’t conducive for learning. When I came into this school, there was no fence, we were not safe and weren’t happy. Especially that building that was reconstructed by Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER, and Ford Foundation. When it rains, it’s always terrible. Rain was entering the class because there was no window. The ceiling was also leaking. Hooligans used this place as hideout. These miscreants also defecate in our classrooms and also slept on the food vendors table. We were not protected.
What was the move made by the school authority and the government to safeguard the pupils of the school from these miscreants?
The teachers tried their best including the government to some extent. But the government can’t be everywhere as we are been told by our teachers. Our gratitude goes to JODER and Ford Foundation because they came to rescue us by building six blocks of classroom for us with 200 tables and chairs. The organization also renovated the office of the Head Teacher and other staff. Before now, hooligans have destroyed the windows, doors and other things, but we really appreciate the organization.

How do you feel about this infrastructural development and facelift given to your school by JODER and Ford Foundation as the senior boy of the school?
I feel great. Am really happy because we are secured and we can study peacefully.
This is happening in your tenure as the Head boy, what is it like?
I am delighted, words can’t express our gratitude. If not for them, where are we going to be? Am happy because everyone is grateful including the pupils, teachers and the head teacher. We wish we can reward them. All we want to say is thank you to JODER and Ford Foundation. May God continue to bless them.

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A poem about the school after it was renovated by Taofik Qudus. -Basic 6F

Oh! What a beautiful school
On the plain-side of odogunyan stand a school
That the golden hand of JODER and Ford Foundation has touched
Now Farm Settlement Community Primary School
Is the best school around the town.
Come and see what God’s people had done
You built us fence and gates
You built us six classrooms that shine like stamps and
Desks and benches all around.
Oh! Now we have toilets to answer the call of nature.
We can now eat from the fruit trees
And play around freely,
Without stepping on the hooligans faeces
JODER and Ford Foundation,
May you be successful in life.

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His Excellency,
The Governor of Lagos State,
The Representative of the Ford Foundation,
Officials of the Lagos State Govt.
Members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm,

SSSD    May I start by restating that education is the hallmark of human development. There is no investment greater than human capital development. Education is the milestone of human development. It is an investment that prepares the society, the people and the communities for the loftiest renaissance.
Education is better than providing food or housing. With education, you will be providing the light of life for the individual and the society at large. Little wonder that the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo took education as one of the most precious pillars of his philosophy.
This must have explained the decision of the Ford Foundation to support the provision of these six classrooms, six toilets and fence for this historic school which was first built in 1978.
The story of this school is legendary. It has been producing children that have become adults and professionals in their chosen fields for the past 38 years. For one thing, we must remain ever grateful to the government of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria, (UPN) which first built this school as a community school for the downtrodden. In a strategic way, the then authorities at least were able to secure the space, giving room for the reconstruction that we have seen here today.
This school has a population of not less than 1000 pupils. Many of the pupils here are from the poorest of the poor families that could hardly live above poverty line. But the parents are commended for choosing the right part for their children and wards by asking them to enroll in this great centre of learning, inspite of the pitfalls associated with the school.
With a population of over 18 million people, Lagos has the biggest challenge of meeting the needs of a desperate population. Lagos for the past few years has become the new centre of attraction for many people across the country. The crisis in the Magreb region, in some parts of Central Africa and in Northern Nigeria and the middle belt zone continue to lead to displacement of several communities. Many of these people find Lagos as the most attractive port of call.
This has already overburdened Lagos. It will pile up more pressure, socially, on the city of Lagos. Education will be one of the most affected as parents displaced, struggle to at least keep their children in public schools in Lagos.
Before the Farm Settlement Primary school was reconstructed, over 200 pupils had to learn in a small classroom barely enough to accommodate 50 pupils. For many of the classrooms, there were no chairs and tables. The school premises were left at the mercy of grievous invaders and street urchins who had turned this school into a hideout and some sort of a red light district where various nefarious activities were recorded. At a point in time, armed gangs turned the school, in the late night hours into a hub.

We are glad that this sordid tradition at the Farm Settlement Primary School has changed. We are glad that this will not happen again. We are glad that hope has replaced despair.

I am glad to welcome you to this official commissioning of the block of six classrooms, fence and toilets at the Farm Settlement Primary School, Odogunyan, Ikorodu. This is a revolutionary intervention in the lives of the pupils here and in the lives of the community that hosts this school. All appreciation should go to the Ford Foundation. I must single out the Representative for West Africa, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, who took special interest in this project during which tenure the classrooms and toilets were conceived and built.

We also appreciate the efforts of Mrs. Yemisi Akin Adeniyi of the Ford Foundation who has to come here almost every Saturday to ensure that standards are met. We appreciate every worker in the Ford Foundation for their commitment in spirit and in flesh for the success of this great venture. We appreciate the efforts of every worker that took part in this lofty project. I cannot conclude without thanking the Parents Teachers Association, the Head Teacher and of course we express special gratitude to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, for creating the time to attend the official commissioning of this project.

We in JODER are full of appreciation for the kindness of the FORD FOUNDATION. Once again, I thank you all for your time.
Adewale Adeoye
Executive Director


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Mr. Olukoga Olalere Adewale, Head-Teacher, Farm Settlement Community Primary School, Ikorodu.

When did you join the school as the Head Teacher?
I joined Farm Settlement Community Primary School, Odongunyan, Ikorodu as the Head-Teacher in 2011.
Can you tell us succinctly about the history of the school?
The school was established during Alhaji Lateef Jakande administration as the governor of Lagos State in 1978, when the settlers at Ikorodu needed a school for their children, mostly parents in the ministry of Agriculture in Ikorodu. In 1979, the school was moved to its permanent site, where it is till date.
For decades, the school has been in existence, is it only indigenes of Ikorodu that enrolled as pupils in the school?
In this school, we have various people from different state, cultures, languages with diverse norms and values that attends the school. The school is not only meant for Lagosians, but everybody from the 36 states of the federation. When activities commenced in the school in 1979 after moving to its permanent site, the population of the pupils was 114 with about 11 teachers then. But as at today, we have a population of about 1,386 pupils, with 33 teaching staff and 11 non teaching staff, making a total of 44 staff.
What is unique about the school since you enter the saddle as the Head-Teacher?
For now, the environment is unique due to the ambience and the new breath of life the school is enjoying presently, because before now, the teachers and the pupils performed excellently well in academic and sport activities, especially the spelling Bee competition which was introduced during the Bola Tinubu administration by his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the school came first in Ikorodu North Local Council Development Association. Then, the school represented the Ikorodu Local Government at the state level in which the school came second in 2013, but there wasn’t a condusive and enabling environment for the pupils and the teachers, not until Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER, in partnership with Ford Foundation gave the school a facelift which has impacted the school tremendously on a positive note.
You said you came on board as the Head Teacher in 2011, how has the journey been so far?
We thank God that with the cooperation of the teachers, the non teaching staff and the pupils, the school has attained greater heights. We work as a team, family and there is no discrimination among ourselves regardless of our tribes. We work to achieve our goals. The vision and the mission of the school are followed strictly to the letter. This has made the school excel in all its endeavors.
Looking at the facelift been given to the school in terms of infrastructural development by JODER and Ford Foundation, what is your reaction to this?
It’s only God that can reward and show our gratitude and appreciation because the other time the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Lagos Province 1A built a toilet for us, we don’t know that it was just a tip of the iceberg, that a bigger one is coming from JODER and Ford Foundation. This is marvelous. It’s only God that can reward them for this upliftment given to the school. The office of the Head Teacher and the Assistant Head Teacher was renovated, the fence, the six classrooms, provision of 200 pupils furniture and also, the teachers were provided with chair and tables, infact its wonderful. We appreciate for selecting our school for this facelift among thousands of schools in the state. It’s an honour to us and we cherish it wholeheartedly.
How has the facelift impacted the school at the moment?
We thank God that on the aspect of security, we are more secured now that the school is fenced all round. You can leave your property in the school and pick it up the next day. It’s safe unlike before, it was an abode of hoodlums, miscreants. Even the parents appreciate the effort of JODER and Ford Foundation. Presently more parents want to enroll their wards into the school. Some people even believe it’s a private school, not knowing that it’s a government school that has been transformed by JODER and Ford Foundation.
How do you feel that the transformation and the facelift of the school is happening during your reign as the Head Teacher of the school?
I am delighted. Am the happiest man in Ikorodu presently because as the chairman of all the Head Teachers in Ikorodu, and when people come to my school and ask chairman how do you come about this, I will always tell them that it’s God, JODER and Ford Foundation. The facelift is exceptional, I can’t hide my joy. It’s God that directed JODER and Ford Foundation to pick our school because have never come across the two organizations, God just deemed it fit to make us a partaker of this largesse. We thank God and we really appreciate them. Like Oliver Twist, we are still on to them for more.

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This is the best thing that has happened to the school since I joined

– Makanjuola Khadijat, Head Girl, Farm Settlement Primary School, Odongunyan, Ikorodu.
What is unique about this school that made you choose it as a starting point of your education?
I came to this school to learn on how to read and write and also to sharpen my knowledge and achieve my career goals. Have always dreamt of being a banker in future and I believe the school can assist me and sharpen me to be what I desire to be. This has made the school unique because of its significance and impact in my life.
How has life been so far in the school since you joined six years ago?
Since I joined the school, I have learnt a lot from my teachers, both academics and morals, but lack of security has always been a challenge. Hoodlums usually come into the school, ransack our book shelves and lockers where our books and belongings are kept, defecate in the classrooms, sleep on the food vendors table, dismantle the doors of the Head Teacher and cart away the school’s belonging. Before 2pmthen, we would have been told to vacate the school premises because of these hooligans. Though we received qualitative education but due to the lack of security, we weren’t safe. We really appreciate Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER and Ford Foundation for their assistance. They donated about 200 pupil’s desk and chairs, teacher’s furniture, six modern toilets along with six blocks of classrooms; they also renovated the Head Teacher’s office. It is presently tiled. We are really grateful.
What came to your mind when you saw the facelift given to the school, what was the feeling like?
I was really happy because before now, we the pupils were sad because when we ought to do serious academic work, it was then we will be told to clean up the surrounding that has been littered with dirt and faeces by the hoodlums. But now we are very happy and our joy knows no bound. This is basically the best thing that has happened to the school since the time I joined over five years ago. Everyone is now comfortable.
How have you been able to showcase your school before now and presently?
Before I was ashamed of the school, but now am excited and have been convincing people to enroll into our school. I told some of my friends to switch over to our school because presently we are enjoying courtesy of JODER and Ford Foundation. I feel very happy that this is happening now, we no longer pick dirt on the floor, the environment is now peaceful and everything is working well.
My message to JODER and Ford Foundation is to thank them and pray that God rewards them abundantly, because we can’t reward them. All we say is thank you and God bless you for a job well done for Farm Settlement Community Primary School.

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A poem about the school before it was renovated by Nwoti – Precious. Basic 6E

Come to our rescue.
On the plainside of Odogunyan,
Stand a school called farm settlement community primary school.
Wrapped in the blanket of dillapilated buildings
With cracks, holes and leaking roof.
Holding forth in the classroom.
Classroom bare as the sky;
With no doors nor windows.
With little furniture to sit on;
And no toilet to answer the call of nature.
Oh! But teachers are there;
Bright as shining star;
And hardworking like mules.
Oh! What a mess,
Classes messed up with faeces
Hooligans disturbing the pupils and teachers.
With no fence to safe guard the school against highway
As dangerous and slippery as a snake.
Oh! What a pity, teachers, doctors and other major professionals
Are made here.
Rescue! Rescue!!
The song on the lips of parents.
Rescue! Rescue!!
The song on the lips of pupils.
Rescue! Rescue!!
The song on the lips of the community.

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Grazing Reserves: JODER writes National Assembly, Calls for National Dialogue.

The National Assembly has been urged to initiate a national dialogue on grazing reserves being proposed by the Nigerian authorities.

In a letter delivered to the Senate President, Dr Olusola Saraki on Wednesday, JODER said the proposed grazing reserves in indigenous territories have the potential of throwing the country into turmoil by flaming up anger and outcries in affected communities.

“We observe that in all this, discussions about the grazing reserves have been on-going among Nigerian top policy makers including members of the National Assembly. The disturbing aspect is that nothing suggests that the communities that own the land matter.”

JODER stated that most of the recent conflicts across the country are fueled by dispute over land and natural resources. The proposed grazing reserve will do nothing except to compound the already tempestuous situation.

“We urge the Nigerian national assembly to see itself as being in the best possible position to initiate a national consultative dialogue on grazing reserves being proposed by some government officials and members of parliament. The idea of a grazing reserve in Nigeria needs deep reflection and wide consultation with communities that own the land. It is one of the most sensitive issues being proposed by some lawmakers with the potential of inflaming bigger conflict and rage across the country,” JODER said in the letter sent to the Senate President and signed by its Programme Officer, Mr Obafemi Kasali.

The media group said most comments on the Fulani herdsmen and land owners often fail to appreciate the root cause of the widespread conflict that has been associated with grazing in Nigeria, the latest being the killing of scores of indigenous people in Nimbo, Enugu State and Oke-Ako, Ekiti State.

The media group listed some of the major causes of the raging conflict as climate change leading to dwindling forests, plants and natural spring water, mass migration of nomads towards the South, many of them from outside the country,  crisis in the Maghreb region which has led to displacement of indigenous communities, deep feeling of insecurity by the herdsmen which prompt them to look for arms, free access to arms and a geometric increase in the number of arms in the hands of non-state actors owing to the armed conflict in the Magreb.

JODER said the Fulani nomads which population is about 20 million across the world, 7 million of which are in Nigeria, represents the biggest nomadic group in the world and that the pastoral Fulani see grazing as both  cultural and their heritage, a sense of preservation of ancient civilization and an economic art. The truth also is that many non-Nigerian nomads, especially from Mali and Niger Republics, have no respect for international borders owing to their close affinity with their fellow nationalities in Nigeria.

Long before the debate on the grazing reserves was mooted, in some communities, there have been arbitrary invasion by armed nomads. In some cases the invaders take over the land by force while in many cases grazing routes have long been held by share force of arms by many nomads leading perpetual conflict in many parts of the country.

JODER said Senators have been issuing conflicting signals on the Grazing Bill with some of them denying its outright existence even though the content of the bill has become a subject of comments and open debate by many Federal law makers. This only shows the lack of transparency and openness on the part of the National Assembly in the approach to the subject matter.

“The solution to grazing needs is not arbitrary seizure of land and converting them to grazing reserves. The authorities need a middle alternative that will allay the fears and aspirations of the parties which revolves around the critical issue of the emotional attachment to land ownership on the one hand and cattle grazing on the other.  JODER said the national dialogue should involve indigenous communities, especially the voiceless minority ethnic groups in the Middle Belt and the North whose ancestral land might be taken over by the relevant authorities.


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