Olusosun: Defying the odds, Lagos slum rises above filth, produces Africa’s football king
Coming inwards Lagos from the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a mountainous dumpsite on the right side stares you in the face, just after the 7up Bus Stop at Oregun.
Beyond the landfill, nothing suggests that there’s any settlement or community within the dumpsite.
It’s the 100-acre Olusosun dumpsite, Africa’s largest dumpsite located along the Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun.
Olusosun receives up to 10,000 tons of garbage per day, a substantial portion of this is electronic waste from container ships. Toxic fumes are released from the site and chemicals are absorbed into the ground.
However, around a thousand homes exist near the site. Some residents here eke out a living by scavenging scrap from the dump and sorting, burning and recycling what they can.
At the time it was built in the 1950s, the Olusosun landfill, because of its health hazards, was originally located on the outskirts, but since the exponential urban development that has characterised Lagos, residential, commercial and industrial buildings have since sprung up around the landfill.
One of the houses in the Olusosun community is where newly crowned CAF Player of The Year Victor Osimhen was born and raised.
Napoli striker Osimhen’s grass-to-grace story is common knowledge to football followers globally, with the striker, who was born to poor parents, never hiding his struggles as a kid.
Ever since he came into the limelight in 2015, when his record 10 goals fired Nigeria to a fifth FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, Olusosun community – where the striker was born December 29, 1998 — has become very popular for the right reason, other than the eyesore of dumpsite people used to describe it.
In Olusosun, Osimhen is adored, hero-worshipped and loved.
Though the star footballer no longer lives there, Olusosun comes alive whenever he scores or claims a silverware in the last eight years, the latest being named African Player of The Year in Marrakesh, Morocco December 11, to become Nigeria’s first winner of the award since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.
Back in the community, sleep was cancelled by residents to celebrate their golden boy, who had continuously turned lemons into lemonade on his journey to the top of the global football ladder.
Even though the road got narrower as our correspondent paid the community a visit Tuesday, December 12 — following morning after Osimhen’s CAF award — it wasn’t difficult locating the Super Eagles striker’s former residence as passersby readily described the narrow pathway and sharp bends which led to Anisere Street.