Back home, bandits did not allow us to enjoy our lives and here, we couldn’t find any job to do –

by Kangmwa Gofwen

Zaiha Ado aspired to own his own business and free himself from street begging.

Zaiha, who is from a border town near the Republic of Niger, said she and her husband, who were farmers, were driven out of their village by bandits.

“Before we moved here we were farmers but bandits stopped us from farming. You’ll work on your farm and they’ll shoot you, if you’re lucky enough to escape that’s fine, if not it’s over already,” she told the Saturday Tribune this week in Ibadan’s Mobil Junction.

Zaiha said they didn’t like life in the north, so they moved to Ibadan to find better jobs to take care of their children.

“We had no food. My husband didn’t have a job again, so we moved here to find a source of livelihood. Back home, they didn’t let us enjoy life, and here, we couldn’t find any work to do. We’re here just looking for Food, we have children to feed.

“We are here with my husband and if my husband gets a job it means I get a job too because he will find something to do for me. I don’t like this kind of begging but it’s God’s will and too Fate has arranged for me. I have daughters, God gave me six daughters and my late husband, the boys are not left, the girls are all married. I am just here with my current husband, a boy and a girl, But I don’t have anything to satisfy them. If I had, I wouldn’t be sitting here begging,” she said.

She said her husband was a taxi driver before losing his job, which forced them back to begging on the streets again.

“My husband used to be a taxi driver but he stopped and people said bad things about him and here we are now. If I get something by begging we buy food and if I don’t we wait patiently. I have been here for eight years and my husband has been here for almost ten years. So, if we have money, we buy food, if not, we thank God. The money we have saved is not enough to go back to the village and rest. We need rest too,” she added.

Zaiha said that if she had the resources to start a business, she would not beg, emphasizing that she would not use her energy to beg.

“If we had the resources, believe me, you wouldn’t see us begging here. Someone with energy like me wouldn’t be begging here, I’d much rather be in business, but I don’t have the money to start one. Look at my kids , I want to go home so my son can join Islam (Arabic school).

“Once the children are old enough to join Islam, we send them to school. We don’t just keep them at home. We don’t send them to traditional schools, not because we don’t want them to have a traditional education, but because we don’t The resources send them there. Islam is free, you just provide the children with what to wear and what to eat, that’s all,” she said.

Zaiha said she was popular near Mobil Junction on the Ibadan ring road and believed that if she started any business there, it would move.

“I’d love to do business here; I’m popular here so I think my business will sell, but my main challenge is finances. You see anybody sitting here doesn’t like it. I pray God take this shame away so I can take care of the kids at home and they have five kids some three or four so I need to take care of them. My kids here are from my second husband; I lost my my first husband, so I married this man next to me,” Zaiha told the Saturday Tribune.

She said her family’s situation had deteriorated since Nigeria’s central bank introduced a new naira policy and required people to deposit their old banknotes, while she prayed that a president-elect would help them find jobs.

“Our situation keeps getting worse because of the cash swap. It’s not easy since the government asked people to take their old notes to the bank. Like today, I have to eat on credit because we don’t have cash. My two daughters are in the North Births, but I don’t have money to send them stuff. What we get, we just use it to prepare food for our babies, and sometimes it doesn’t even run, but we just manage. Honestly, we want to rest. Tuesday we are empty Going to bed on our stomachs because we’re not getting anything here. We’re just praying that the president-elect will help us, we really want to rest. We hope he will provide us with jobs and food,” she said.

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