Ten-year-old Joseph was sleeping on the street beside his unsold plantains in Victoria Garden City in Lagos when media personality UnilagOlodo chanced upon him. Olodo, alarmed, took to his Instagram last July 4 to share a picture of the sleeping Joseph, which immediately garnered thousands of reactions, thanks to his strong following.
“10:00 p.m. Somebody’s child on a major road,” wrote Olodo.
Many has since responded to his photo of Joseph, one of whom was Nigerian actor Williams Uchemba, who told Olodo to help him get the child. It’s uncanny just how powerful social media’s influence can be, but it didn’t take long until Joseph was taken off the streets, thanks to Olodo and Uchemba.
“I’ve met up with the boys selling plantain at VGC bus stop and gotten some info,” said Olodo. I’m on my way to confirm their residence.”
Actor Uchemba also took to his Instagram to share to his followers that he finally found the 10-year-old Joseph.
“I found him, his name is Joseph and I was just told he hasn’t eaten anything for 3 days. Well this is his last day on the street,” wrote Uchemba on the same day, extending his gratitude to Olodo for locating the child.
In another Instagram post that Uchemba shared last July 5, he told his followers that he had the chance to have a video call with Joseph. Uchemba apparently is located at Los Angeles, California, while Joseph is back in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.
Uchemba shared that Joseph is originally from Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom state.
“He told me that he is living with a woman that took him from his parents in the village and promised that she will send him to school in Lagos because his parents couldn’t afford to train him, but when he got to Lagos instead of school the lady put him on the street to sell things and bring money back to her.”
Uchemba also said that he tried talking to the woman who exploited Joseph, but she didn’t want to talk.
“Instead she said we can take the boy. I have spoken with Joseph and he said he wants to go back home and go to school because his parents who he hasn’t seen or spoken to doesn’t know that he is hawking in Lagos, and yes he hasn’t eaten in 3 days.”
Uchemba added that he wants to clean Joseph up first before putting him on a flight back home to Akwa Ibom. He also promised that he would give Joseph a scholarship. “He has a bright future( I can tell) and if not for anything kids his age are not suppose to be on the street but in school.”
In an update made later that same day, Uchemba shared a picture of Joseph shyly smiling during his flight, fully cleaned up and wearing fresh clothes.