By Adetokunbo FAKEYE
London - The Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola OFR, on Saturday, August 26th, 2023 visited Peckham, a community in London, referred to as, London's little Lagos".
On the visit with Ambassador Isola was United Kingdom-based Nigerian-born prime property agent and Managing Director, Founder of Daniel Ford International, Yemi Edun.
Peckam SE15, as said by Yemi Edun, is home to the largest overseas Nigerian community in the UK and going by the 2021 UK census, the area has the most Nigerian-born people in Britain.
In his piece as memoir after the visit, Mr Edun wrote, "I accompanied the Nigerian High Commissioner, His Excellency Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola to see and get immersed in "London’s little Lagos".
"Meeting up at Rye Lane, we walked down to Lolak Afrique, rumoured to serve the best pounded yam and Amala in England, both popular local delicacies in SW Nigeria.
Ambassador Isola standing in front of Lolak Afrique Restaurant in Peckham, London owned by Nigerian.
"As we navigated our way through the heavy human traffic, due to Rye Lane being now pretty much pedestrianised, save for buses. We saw 2 ladies in identical dresses, this is a rarity in London. I opined they were twins and the High Commissioner decided to engage them to confirm. Behold, they were. Very friendly and engaging, sharing some local Peckam tips.
"We had a meal of hot amala, pounded yam and fresh fish that was delectable, Ambassador Isola engaged diners on various topics at great length. The restaurant owner, Alhaja popularly known as "mama Lolak" walked in as we exited. Her strong local knowledge shone as she engaged on her experience and journey.
"The walk back to the car, parked at Morrison store, confirmed that Peckham is very much "Little Lagos" as conversations on the street were predominantly held in Nigerian local dialects.
His Excellency Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola OFR eating Amala at Lolak Afrique Restaurant, Peckham, London.
"The mostly Asian shop owners, stock local Nigerian products and speak passable Yoruba, enough to hold a conversation. The shops are predominantly grocers, butchers, hair salons, phone shops, banks and mainstream stores.
"Walking past the Peckham Rye station, the Ambassador spotted one such shop, stopped to buy some Bitter Kola to round up a most interesting experience of Peckham".
Mr Edun ended the memoir with "Why did so many Nigerians settle in Peckham?". kindly share your thoughts.
In his simple remark about the visit, Ambassador Isola said, "it was very interesting outing, visiting a community with largely Nigerians in London".