A call has gone to all sectors of the society to come to the plight of the urban slum dwellers across Nigeria to make life more meaningful to them. They need more attention in the areas of education, health care delivery, social infrastructure and development.
At the 2014 World Habitat Day celebration organized by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), with the support of the MTN Nigeria Communications Limited with the theme “Voices from Slums", participants including children stressed the need for serious interventions of the government and corporate bodies in the life of the slum dwellers.
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation for some weeks gathered school pupils to go to about seven selected slum communities in Lagos and document the social and environmental peculiarities of each slum as it concerns their problems and threat, while suggesting solutions through creative art works depicting "Life in Lagos Slum". The objective is to give a voice to slum communities in relations to the theme.
Speaking at the final presentation of the art works by the pupils at the Foundation office in Lagos, the Director General of the NCF, Mr. Adeniyi Karunwi, expressed concern that people in slums were disproportionately affected by climate change, with houses often built precariously on slopes or unsuitable building space and with inadequate materials making them vulnerable to landslides, floods and earthquakes.
"NCF in support of this global concern has locally engaged her school Conservation Clubs to Project Lagos Slum scenario in a creative manner that engages the student on learning about the social and environmental concerns of the slum dwellers. This we are sure will contribute to the Millennium Development Goals of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by year 2020".
An environmental activist, Desmond Majekodunmi linked the challenges faced by the slum dwellers to environmental concerns. According to him, the more we have bad environment, the more we have bad slums hence, the need to stay alive by protecting the environment.
Quoting the United Nations Secretary - General, Ban Ki-moon, Majekodunmi said, “Ensuring that our towns and cities expand in a well-planned and managed way is not only necessary to meeting the housing needs of our growing urban population, it is also vital for combating climate change, protecting the environment and supporting sustainable development. Let us focus on a new urban agenda that leave no one behind,”
The Founder of Slum 2 School Initiative, Otto Orondaam enjoined people to be part of the solutions to the challenges facing the slum dwellers. Orondaam whose initiative has facilities for about 650 pupils of a popular Makoko Lagos Slum, to have access to education, challenged the youth to be proactive and take initiatives that solve societal problem.