The Zombie Encounter

Chuba was driving me home from his place that Monday evening at about 8:00pm and just as we got to the Asokoro junction, the traffic lights turned red and so he slowed the car down. We had barely been there 5 seconds and next thing I know, this crowd of disabled people begins to surge towards the car. I was so scared, I instinctively took the glasses up. They stayed there  for a couple of minutes like a bunch of zombies chanting some well rehearsed lines that we couldn’t even hear because our glasses were up. Their presence there unnerved me; there were so many of them.  It wasn’t until they moved away from the car to the one behind us that I heaved a sigh of relief. Wow! Nigeria, begging is an occupation. Those people are there, every single night! If you’re going by that junction, you’re bound to meet them!

Here’s the point of my little story. Chuba and I could not fathom why people who have some form of disability should give up on life and resort to begging as a means of livelihood. And yet again, we could not understand why the federal government would allow for such especially in the Federal Capital territory and not just anywhere in Abuja but in Asokoro where we have heavy foreign presence. It’s really sad actually! Well thankfully, the lights changed eventually and we drove off, leaving the crowd of zombies behind.

Don’t get it twisted. Our sentiments were not because we’re privileged to have our bodies fully functional but our sentiments were based on the fact that we are well aware that life does not end with a part of your body being dysfunctional. I knew a man while I was growing up, who he lost his left hand in a factory accident but I never saw him one day begging on the streets. Actually, he drove me to school a number of times. He had something tangible doing. There was a cab guy I met here in Abuja that drove my friend and I one day and we did not know but one of his eyes was bad. So he was essentiall a one-eyed cabbie but he wasn’t begging on the streets. I guess most people know Cobhams Asuquo, blind from birth but very popular musician here in Nigeria and he plays the keyboard! There are so many examples I could give but I really want to keep this piece short because I’m actually rushing off somewhere. Now to my most important and final example. On two different occassions, I saw a man with one leg selling recharge cards. Actually that was what inspired me to write this article. I met the first one some months ago, but the second man, I met this morning on my way to work. He was a hausa man. Probably couldn’t speak much English. But he knew enough to say “recharge cardt! recharge cardt!” while he leaned on crutches for support! And I was glad to buy from him.

The downfall of a man is not the end of his life. I’ve heard that so many times! My thoughts? The loss of a limb is not the end of your life! I’m actually tired of seeing beggars on the streets. Its rather embarrassing! I mean, how much can you give to each one you meet and how long would you continue to give to them? Of all the beggars at the Asokoro junction, there is a particular one that Chuba no longer feels sympathy for. She is a young lady, probably in her twenties. You could not see what is physically wrong but she always carries a paper so we assumed that she is either deaf or dumb or both. She would just stare at you for a while and if you gave her money, there would be no gratitude in her eyes. She would merely look at you as though she had a right to the money, like she had earned it just by being there! And then she would walk away! Annoying but true! That’s the country we live in.

I hope the government does something about those people. Set up a rehabilitation centre, organize skill acquisition trainings… anything legal that can take them off the streets! The paralympics competion that took place sometime last year in the UK was organized for disabled athletes! I don’t think Nigeria would have had any medals to boast of at that competition if all those individuals had taken to begging on the streets. Beggars all over the place really is an embarrassment. Governor Fashola of Lagos State was somehow able to manage the beggars in Lagos I think by rehabilitating them (Not sure at the moment and I’m typing this in a hurry but I could update that later. Plus I don’t mind being furnished with more information :)  ) and now beggars are nearly non-existent in Lagos but we cannot say same for Asokoro, right here in Abuja where the President is! Oh well, I hope that someday, somehow, that will change.

Please share your thoughts. I’ll be glad to get your feedback. Cheers🙂

14 thoughts on “The Zombie Encounter

  1. Great piece babes. This is something that has happened to every single one of us and like u said, it’s not just sad but really embarrassing. These are people that are fully capable of putting their talents to use but just choose to take advantage of people’s generosity and live off that. God help us. Look forward to reading more of ur write ups. Cheers


    • Thank u so much Muna. I appreciate your feedback. Yes, there are so many things that “disabled” people can do but when the generous ones keep giving them, they just limit themselves to such hand-outs. Really sad. I’ll definitely do more as I am inspired to write. Thank u for reading and commenting dearie. cheers🙂


  2. When I first moved to north, and saw the amount of beggars I was curious, why were they so much? I give out arms then, but after sometime, I realized that begging is like a profession. They beg not because they dont have. Even if the government do something for them, they ‘ll not stop begging. How far with the almagiri schools, many of them are on streets still begging and endangering their lifes and others. It is a way of life for some people.


    • Yes mum, it’s true. For some of them its a way of life but I still think the government can make an attempt. It’s really terrible here in the north. If the government can make provisions for them to be rehabilitated then they would reserve the right to possibly arrest anyone involved in begging. I think something like that happened in Lagos a while back where some of them were arrested. I just feel the government should at least make an attempt, especially in the north as u rightly noted. Thanks for reading and commenting mum. I really do appreciate.🙂


  3. I dont feel 4 dem anymore..d’ most annoyin ones r d’ ones dat gv birth n’ introduce their kids 2 beggin…n dey always gv birth 2 twins,wonder how dat happens…God ‘ll deliver dem n’ help dem take a que from other disabled pple who r making it. There is Ability in Disability!


    • Loool. Damnet, give birth to twins? Haha. That’s quite creative of them. Well, its really sad. Why would anyone give birth to children and introduce them to begging. Is it really that lucrative or are they that shallow minded? Something really must be done! They need a re-orientation of their mind-sets. Perhaps sessions can be organized where “disabled” people like themselves who are doing something tangible can come and address them. Hoping that would challenge them to do something tangible. There really is ability in disability. Thanks for reading and commenting dear. Cheers.


  4. But seriously matter d amount u give to beggars dey’ll still come back to d streets to beg…wats d point den in begging?? Do people actuli beg over and over again…no matter d circumstance…there’s Ability in every disability regardless of d situation!!


    • Yes dear, they beg over and over again and its so sad. Truth is, whatever u give them, it can only take them through the day at most and so they’re back the next begging again. It’s why I suggest a re-orientation of their mind-sets. There truly is an ability in every disability, no matter the condition. Thanks for reading and commenting dear. Cheers🙂


  5. Sadly we have created a society of previlage, a society where everyone expects to have something for nothing. Apart from this social and financial mobility is directly proportional to how much you embezzle. This has created a culture where the disabled are marginalised to begging, and now see it as a lucrative source of livelihood. In the US a person on a wheel chair can work an office job because their system has cartered to providing ways of making things easier for them( from wheel chair accessible buses to buildings) here in Nigeria we cart them to religious functions and hope God will heal them. We will never get out of this system until the disabled are recognised as equal members of the society and not seen as broken tools to be tossed change or prayed about.


    • Hmmn. Interesting, really interesting and very true. I was in the UK sometime last year and was really touched and impressed when I noticed how well they catered for their disabled. Walkways, restrooms, everything you could think of; they had provisions for the disabled! I wonder if we’ll ever get to that point in this country. They are also human beings and if anything they deserve more care and attention than the average “normal” person.
      I appreciate that you read and commented. Thank you very much. Cheers🙂


  6. Great piece! In as much as these ones(beggars) need to do something more dignifying for themselves, most of them are hopeless, in despair, laid back and therefore would need a push to be able to stand on their own. They need to be taught to fish not just give them a fish. Is all up to us-government,private institutions,individuals and every well meaning Nigerian to take a step and save fellow brothers and sisters.
    Kudos once again!


    • Thank u very much Zubi. I do agree that if they were not helpless they would not be on the street. But their helplessness comes from thinking that their case is entirely hopeless. It’s why I suggested that some sessions could be held and successful “disabled” people could be brought to speak so they could be motivated and inspired. Because disabled or not, if a person thinks that he can amount to nothing then he’ll definitely amount to nothing! It’s pretty simple!
      Another issue would be their literacy level. Obviously, that’s more than likely to be zero. And why would their families also quit on them and send them to the streets? Big question!
      Anyways, truth still remains that the government is in a better position to do more than the average Nigerian, financially speaking. All private institutions set up were done majorly for profit making, so if the institution cannot see a means of profiting from engaging in a certain exercise, the probability that they would do it is zero.
      Thanks for reading and commenting all the same, I really do appreciate. Cheers


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