Colorful celebration marks Nigerian Independence Day

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Boys and girls are dressed in traditional Nigerian clothing at the celebration. In front from left are Abraham Olanrewaju, 9; Emmanuel Fajuti, 13; and his brother Samuel Fajuti, 13, all of Egg Harbor Township. Standing is Mubeen Momodu, 11.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Although they now live in the United States, natives of Nigeria and their American-born offspring gathered to mark a momentous day for their home country on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Scullville Volunteer Fire Company fire hall.

“We were so happy when we were liberated from British rule,” said Florence Asemota of Egg Harbor Township, who was just entering college when her native country achieved independence on Oct. 1, 1960. “There was so much rejoicing. I remember it well.”

Asemota said the local celebration gives the Nigerian community a chance to come together and share in the anniversary as well as help American-born children understand their roots.

“Some of them have never put on Nigerian clothes before tonight,” she said, noting how beautiful they are.

The evening featured plenty of traditional dishes such as fried plantains, puff-puff, moi-moi, Efo, foo-foo, jellof rice, fried rice, chicken, ribs, meat pie and pastas.

The attendees helped themselves to the long buffet while children read poetry, teens performed a cultural dance and other community members participated in a fashion parade, modeling all of the colorful clothes before everyone joined in a big dance party.

Imohimi Unuigbe, 11, a student at Alder Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township, said the evening was the first time he attended one of the Independence Day celebrations and said he was enjoying all of the dishes.

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