To Evelyn Oghenefegor Ikogba, a former corps member, there is nothing as important as serving humanity and impacting the lives of those in need positively.
When the 25-year-old was posted to Kaduna state for her compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in November 2019, she saw it as another opportunity to leave her mark in her new environment — and she did.
The graduate of mass communication was posted to Invicta 98.9FM in Kaduna as her place of primary assignment (PPA). It was not long after she commenced work at her PPA that the coronavirus pandemic struck, halting activities across the globe including restriction of movement due to the lockdown imposed to combat the spread of the disease.
During the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown last year, Ikogba reflected on inmates at juvenile correctional centres in the country who have been stripped of their freedom temporarily to see how she could help them.
While researching about the state of juvenile correctional centres in the country, the Borstal juvenile correctional institute in Kaduna caught her attention.
Ikogba, who hails from Isoko North in Delta, wasn’t impressed with the state of the facility housing the inmates at the institute and was ready to improve the situation.
To facilitate the project, she came up with a proposal and quickly sourced funds as part of her community development service to renovate hostels at the institute.
With sheer determination and a dint of hard work, the dream became a reality eventually.
Ikogba renovated a large and spacious block of the dormitory, which comprises 4 large rooms, 8 toilets, 8 bedrooms, and a soakaway pit.
According to her, the renovation of the toilets at the institute will help improve the general hygiene of the inmates.
Speaking with Nigeriana, Ikogba said her passion for helping humanity and the need to encourage the inmates to become agents of change when they leave the centre inspired her to carry out the project.
She also stressed the need for the government and citizens to work together to build a sustainable nation.
“Passion for helping humanity is my driving force. To inspire the young ones to find a purpose, and become agents to society when they leave the correctional center,” she said.
“I believe I can do so much more to serve my country if given the opportunity. And that young people should be encouraged to use their skills to contribute to the development of our nation.”
On how she got sponsorship for the project, she noted that sourcing for funds was a collaborative effort of friends and private organisations.
“Many individuals, families, organisations complained of lack of resources but by God’s grace, passion, determination and discipline from my end, many bought into my vision and supported with cash, materials, and manpower,” she said.
“Sourcing for the fund was a collaborative effort of my friends, my place of primary assignment, some key organisations and individuals in the community.”
STARTING A BLOG AND A PODCAST
Ikogba added that she is currently working on starting a blog and a podcast in order to explore her media skills and connect with amazing people all over the world.
“I’m presently based in Kaduna city, and I’m currently working on starting a blog and a podcast as a way of exploring my media skills and connect with amazing people all over the world,” she said.
Solomon Bala, a staff of Invicta 98.9FM, took to his Twitter handle to appreciate Ikogba for the project while highlighting the leadership qualities and efforts she showed to make the idea a reality.
“A young lady from Delta State, Miss Evelyn Ikogba, came to Kaduna for her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in the year 2020. She was designated to work in the organisation where I work,” he wrote in a Twitter thread.
“During the lockdown due to the Covid19 pandemic, she took the time to embark on a project as part of her CDS, to renovate a block of Dormitory that comprises 4 large Rooms, 8 Toilets, 8 Bathrooms as and a Soakaway pit for the students at the Borstal Correctional Institute Kaduna.
“At a time when our country is in need of inspiration: young people like Evelyn Ikogba should be encouraged, and stories like this should be heard, let young people know that we can all wake up and lift our country by doing our bit and contributing to the development of Nigeria.”
Several Nigerians also took to the comment section of the thread to hail Ikogba’s heroics and selfless service.