Celebrity | 24 April 2008 11:05 CET

X PROJECT STORMS SIERRA LEONE

By

-Project, the trio of X-project Majeed, Slez and Saal, yesterday left the country for a Channel O concert billed for Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The group will also use the opportunity to visit some towns on a musical tour while in the country.

Slez and Saal, who have been in Nigeria since 1999 after the civil war, are very happy to visit their country once again.

According to Sta Image boss, the public relations consultant to X-Project, “they never thought they would come as far as this in concert. When the civil war broke out in Sierra Leone in 1991, Aziz Kamara (Slez) and Salieu Umaru Sindi (Saal) were still in primary school, too young to understand why their country was falling apart. Up to 1999, the only grounds in the Sierra Leone that was a safe haven was the Western Pennisula comprising Freetown and its environs. Expectedly, Freetown was thronged and choked up by nationals running away from the troubled 'upline' and in no time, the previously beautiful city was in ruins and stripped of the qualities that once made it the Athens of West Africa. Education, health, social infrastructure and family values collapsed. Like all other children in Freetown then, Shack, Slez and Saal were exposed to the elements.

“However, unlike some other unfortunate children who got hooked on drugs and other self-destructive vices and lifestyle in the absence of good education, Slez and Saal turned to music.”

They later fled to Nigeria via a ship provided by ECOMOG and after some gruesome weeks on the high seas, they got to Lagos. The sad experience on the trip to Lagos discouraged them and made them regret the decision to flee Freetown.

In addition, they arrived Lagos with anxiety. They were seeking for a way to survive. In Lagos, they had nobody to turn to, but with the help of some Nigerians with whom they made the journey, they were able to trace the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR), on Awolowo Road, South West Ikoyi.

After a long interview and considering their situation, the UNHCR accepted and took them to the Oru Refugee Camp near Ijebu Ode in Ogun State, to join thousands of other refugees from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo Democratic Republic, Rwanda, Sudan and other war-torn African countries.

“It was on arrival at the refugee camp that they realised the full effect of their new status as refugees. They knew straight away that they had to do something to eke a living.

“Therefore, through providence, they met Akinwumi Akinwoye (Majeed), the Nigerian in the group, the hard street boy from Ketu at a DTD show at Lekki Beach in 2000. The show was essentially meant to exhibit raw musical talents. It was a chance meeting, but it was turning point for them all. Since then, things have changed for good.

X-Project—Slez, Saal, the Sierra Loenians, had forgotten all about the war in their country.

They quickly mingled with Majeed who often motivated them that they could conquer the world together if truly they wanted to go into music.

“This will be another happy moment in our lives. After our new song, Sierra Naija, has been making waves in Sierra Leone, we have not had a chance to travel down there. It was as a result of the shows here and there in Nigeria. Freetown will feel us again,” they commented.

Kenny Ogungbe on the other hand is also on board the plane that departed Nigeria with the Prime Time crew, to cover the show and findings also revealed that the award-winning Nigerian pop star, 2Face Idibia is also part of the trip.

Other sites The Nigerian Voice