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TalesTales of Kuje’s not-so handicapped beggars

Once, Anaruwa Yahaya was a trader for many years, with his journeys taking him to Lagos, where he bought fairly-used clothes to sell in Katsina State. But now he talks about a swelling disease that dealt a serious blow to his ability to continue. So he had to wait till he was better. “I started begging for alms when I got better,” he says, adding that he did not have the means to take care of his wife and five children. His children are little and he has sent the eldest to learn the Qur’an in Niger State. This is Yahaya’s story – a fortyish man who spends most of his day in the company of other older men just before Kuje’s major junction. Where Yahaya sits is a roadside that is growing into a beggars’ haven. Gradually, both old and middle-aged men, women, young and old, converge there in increasing numbers, giving the impression they have discovered a gold mine. But perhaps it is to them because it is close to the junction that serves as a major entrance to various parts of the satellite town.

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In the group where this former clothes dealer sits are three elderly men, who have a farming background. One of them, Usman Ibrahim, took to begging because he does not have children that will take care of him and recalled his days of farming in Daura, Katsina State. “I still farm. I planted guinea corn and millet this season,” he reveals. For him, soliciting for alms is a side business. Suleiman Hassan is from Ringim in Jigawa State. He ties his present status to old age and virtually the same reasons as Ibrahim, except that all his grown-op children died. “I made N300 yesterday,” he disclosed with a pathetic expression.

Away from the men are women in groups with their children. They all seem to have the same story about ‘losing what they had’. Bowls on the ground, they remain absorbed in their discussions while their children run towards moving vehicles now and then to ask for alms. Halira Isa holds an infant close to her chest. She appears visibly embarrassed to admit she is a ‘beggar’. “My husband died three years ago, after which I fell ill and lost everything I had,” she explained, adding that because she does not have anything to call her own and had to resort to charity when she came to Kuje two years ago from her home town in Zaria. Another widow, Larai was making and selling bean pudding for many years before her story changed. “This is my fifth day begging here,” she reveals. She was forced into the act after she lost her husband and then all she had. Now she has to fend for a family of seven children alone.

Aisha Muhammadu too has not been begging for alms for up to a week. A former tailor, who also plaited hair and sold used clothes, says “I have lost everything and don’t even have proceeds from these businesses. When I go to the market, I trade but don’t make any money. When I buy clothes, I look at my bag and see there is no money,” she explains, adding that her home is bare at the moment. “I have nothing there. My husband ran away and left me with six children.” The beggars all have similar reasons for what they do, ranging from old age for the men, and the death of their husbands or loss of capital for the women. However, only a few showed signs of plans to quit when their condition improves.

23 Saturday, August 22, 2015 Weekend M A G A Z I N E Around & About These

 of Kuje’s not-so handicapped beggars.Once, Anaruwa Yahaya was a trader for many years, with his journeys taking him to Lagos, where he bought fairly-used clothes to sell in Katsina State. But now he talks about a swelling disease that dealt a serious blow to his ability to continue. So he had to wait till he was better. “I started begging for alms when I got better,” he says, adding that he did not have the means to take care of his wife and five children. His children are little and he has sent the eldest to learn the Qur’an in Niger State. This is Yahaya’s story – a fortyish man who spends most of his day in the company of other older men just before Kuje’s major junction. Where Yahaya sits is a roadside that is growing into a beggars’ haven. Gradually, both old and middle-aged men, women, young and old, converge there in increasing numbers, giving the impression they have discovered a gold mine. But perhaps it is to them because it is close to the junction that serves as a major entrance to various parts of the satellite town.

In the group where this former clothes dealer sits are three elderly men, who have a farming background. One of them, Usman Ibrahim, took to begging because he does not have children that will take care of him and recalled his days of farming in Daura, Katsina State. “I still farm. I planted guinea corn and millet this season,” he reveals. For him, soliciting for alms is a side business. Suleiman Hassan is from Ringim in Jigawa State. He ties his present status to old age and virtually the same reasons as Ibrahim, except that all his grown-op children died. “I made N300 yesterday,” he disclosed with a pathetic expression.

Away from the men are women in groups with their children. They all seem to have the same story about ‘losing what they had’. Bowls on the ground, they remain absorbed in their discussions while their children run towards moving vehicles now and then to ask for alms. Halira Isa holds an infant close to her chest. She appears visibly embarrassed to admit she is a ‘beggar’. “My husband died three years ago, after which I fell ill and lost everything I had,” she explained, adding that because she does not have anything to call her own and had to resort to charity when she came to Kuje two years ago from her home town in Zaria. Another widow, Larai was making and selling bean pudding for many years before her story changed. “This is my fifth day begging here,” she reveals. She was forced into the act after she lost her husband and then all she had. Now she has to fend for a family of seven children alone.

Aisha Muhammadu too has not been begging for alms for up to a week. A former tailor, who also plaited hair and sold used clothes, says “I have lost everything and don’t even have proceeds from these businesses. When I go to the market, I trade but don’t make any money. When I buy clothes, I look at my bag and see there is no money,” she explains, adding that her home is bare at the moment. “I have nothing there. My husband ran away and left me with six children.” The beggars all have similar reasons for what they do, ranging from old age for the men, and the death of their husbands or loss of capital for the women. However, only a few showed signs of plans to quit when their condition improves.

23 Saturday, August 22, 2015 Weekend M A G A Z I N E Around & About These

 

OVER 5,000 NIGERIAN MEN HAVE OVERCOME POOR BEDROOM PERFORMANCE SYNDROME DUE TO THIS BRILLIANT DISCOVERY

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