Nigerian born NFL star Efe Obada opens up about his traumatic past, tells of how he was trafficked

Nigerian-born NFL star, Efe Obada has opened up about the traumatic past of child trafficking and homelessness.
26-year-old Obada says he was a victim of human trafficking at the age of 10. He said he and his older sister were abandoned in the streets of London, England.
Obada said when he was eight-years-old his mother arranged for him and his older sister to move from Nigeria to the Netherlands, where she was living at the time. After a couple of years of living there, she decided to send the children to the United Kingdom so they could have a better life.
That turned out to be a mistake. The stranger that was supposed to take care of children didn’t carry through on the promise. Instead, he and his sister were left alone and homeless.
There,  they learned to survive until eventually they were discovered and placed in foster care. They moved from home to home until Obada was old enough to make his own decisions.
“I was young and I didn’t have any say into what was happening in my life,” Obada said. “I was ignorant to it.” 
“Some of the issues, I haven’t dealt with,” Obada said. “I haven’t really taken time to understand. … Right now I just want to focus on football and make the most of it.” 
Obada went to college in London, where he discovered the game of football for the first time at age 22.

He began with the London Monarchs, the equivalent of an American semi-pro team and helped them win a championship as a tight end and defensive end.

He continued climbing up the ladder before joining the Panthers’ practice squad last season. Obada was chosen as one of four players to participate in the NFL’s International Pathway Program, which began in 2017. But he’s the only one to make a final 53-man roster, which was determined on Saturday.

He’s due to earn $480,000 this season, significantly more than the $129,200 that a member of an NFL practice squad makes.

“It instilled a hunger in me that I have until this day,” Obada said of his early life experience. “And I feel like I can apply it in a game. It’s kind of going into a state of survival — that is what I do every day. I don’t take this opportunity for granted.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he sees that every day in practice. The coach said 6-foot-6, 255-pound Obada’s passion and drive is one of the things that helped him earn a roster spot over the team’s 2017 third-round draft pick Daeshon Hall.

“He practices 100 miles per hour,” Rivera said. “I got some guys, they get upset with him because on Friday (during walk-through practice) he’s going hard. But you say to the guys, ‘Hey, if you came from where he came from, if you dealt with what he dealt with, that’s the way you’re going to approach everything in life.”

 

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