Slim Yusuf Muhammad ranks among the very young beggars in the metropolis of Warri, the commercial centre of Delta State. He’s handsome, aggressive, and a true Fulani with no guile from Jigawa State….CONTINUE READING....CONTINUE READING
Twenty-three-year-old Muhammad said he lost his left arm (from the shoulder) to a deliberate amputation following a ghastly motorcycle accident in Jigawa, when he was barely six years old. That was his narrative when our correspondent accosted him on a Sunday evening near Hausa Quarters in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
For a society structured in such a way that it hardly works for the able bodied, how would someone like Muhammad, whose case is absolutely salvageable, be helped from the streets? This is because aside his amputated left limb, his other limbs can be productively put into use if genuine help comes his way.
Muhammad speaks on his life and travail: “I’m Yusuf Muhammad from Jigawa State. I’m Fulani. My mom is dead, but my dad is alive. I didn’t know my mom well. I was very small when she died.
“She had a fatal vehicle accident. That’s how she died. I’m the first child. I’m 23 years old. I’m married. But my wife hasn’t given birth, but pregnant. I have to come and hustle in Delta. That’s why I’m here.
“There’s no food for us at Jigawa so I have to leave. If I remained over there, hunger would kill us. I couldn’t bring my wife here because I have nothing here yet.
“If I bring her here, who’ll help us? What I receive from begging isn’t enough for me alone to feed on. If I go out from morning till night and I return here, I can only boast of maybe N1,500 or N1000.
“You” (pointing at our reporter), is that enough for you and your wife to live on in a day? So, while I’m here, what I’m able to make, I’ll do transfer and send to her there.”
In scanty Pidgin that needs some good effort to decipher, Muhammad said he usually travels home to check on his pregnant wife once or twice in three months. “I spend about two or three months before going to check on her over there. My wife is still pregnant, yet to give birth. In fact, I just returned from Jigawa.”
He hardly hopes beyond the scope of alms through begging, like his compatriots from across the Niger, his entire life seems to depend on begging as the only source of living for him, his wife and unborn child. “I’m into begging, full time. I lost my hand in a motorcycle accident at Jigawa. I was sitting behind. A vehicle rammed us from the front. So, I lost my hand after spending three months in the hospital. They concluded that my hand should be amputated, if I must live a meaningful life. The accident took place about 15 years ago. I was still small then,” he recalled.
As he fielded questions from our reporter, one could deduce some aura of strength and vivacity of a young man who still would have preferred a better life. He spoke against the uncaring attitude of leaders from his clime whom he accused of deliberately impoverishing the downtrodden. He then justified his choice of migrating down to the South South region of the country to eke a living.
“Warri is a nice place to be. I survive here. They give a lot. How many states did I pass before getting here? Several! It’s because people in Delta State, especially Warri are good people. They give us a reason to live, to feel loved and appreciated though we’re liabilities,” he averred.
Speaking on the current economic hardship in the country and how it affects his trade, Muhammed would spare no one.
“Oga, we don’t even know which one to see as better than the other. Buhari, my kinsman, was a disaster! That man almost left us half-dead with his economic policies.
“Things actually began to get worse through him. His government gave rise to hordes of people from the North, especially destitute, migrating to the South here. Can’t you see how plenty we are in another man’s land?
“If Buhari had taken care of the poor in the North, we surely won’t be here,” he asserted.
He went further to x-ray the current plague in the country as it affects his calling and fate. According to the Jigawa-born beggar, “the present government is out to possibly continue where Buhari stopped. He appears to be here to completely kill us and bury us before leaving the stage!
“See how the removal of fuel subsidy has terribly worsened the situation? Is it people that will prefer to trek kilometres within town because they can’t afford fuel or transport fare that will part with something for we beggars? Who does that?” he queried.
Muhammad speaks on how he could be helped by good Samaritans if the government is not forthcoming. “I can learn a trade if people help me. I can even learn driving with my remaining right hand if road safety will allow me! I call sell articles in a shop as a sales rep, but will they accept me as I am? I’m still young.
“I didn’t attend school at all. But at least I understand money. Besides the economic hardship people are going through which has negatively impacted our begging business, we’re suffering from rain here. During rain, as it is now, there will be very few or no pedestrian to beg from on the roadsides,” he lamented….CONTINUE READING