The presence of the destitute in the streets of Ibadan, as it is commonplace in major cities across the country, has assumed alarming proportion. But that is no news, given the queer dimension the business is fast assuming in the ancient city.
As Integrity Reporters reliably gathered, unknown to them, they have become preys to their inordinately ambitious benefactors, Who now use them as sacrificial lambs to feather their own nest in the spiritual world.
Their so-called benefactors, as revealed, are mostly women, Who, on the instructions of native doctors, are compelled to give out alms, to the beggars, to either boost the prosperity of their children abroad, or elongate their life span.
“The act is being perpetrated mostly by the female folk are extremely desperate. They are constantly at the doorsteps of native doctors in a bid to avert misfortunes over their children and prevent their daughters abroad from being repatriated, ” said a source.
Though they settle in different locations of major streets in Ibadan metropolis, the manner in which they besiege and invade the Mokola Round About over head bridge, Mokola Road, Ibadan, raises more questions than answer.
“The public now use them as a tool of sacrifice to their gods, you know native doctors can tell them to make sacrifices to the gods through destitutes. Unfortunately for the poor, they take alms from them, unknown to them that it has negative spiritual implications on them, ” a trader, Mrs Sade Abegunde.
According to her, the invasion of the area by the destitute started during the time the long bridge was constructed by Governor Ajimobi led government.
Abegunde, Who is one of the oldest trader in the area, stated that the increasing number of the destitute is predicated upon the fact that many a time, after having received help from members of the public, they go home to tell their success stories which in turn, induce others into the begging business.
On his part, another ware seller, Mr Johnson Ekweremadu, opined that most of these so-called destitutes, Who are mostly Hausas and Yorubas, live in residential homes. Most of them, he said, had built their houses and trained their children from the philanthropist gesture of members of the public.
Speaking with Integrity Reporters, one of the destitutes, 65 year old blind man who gave his name as Mojeed Ashaffa, a divocee from Osogbo, said, “I want the members of the public to continue feeding and clothing me before I die.”
Ashaffa, Who has been on the spot for more than 10years, stated that he never retired as a government worker but voluntarily left the job when his eye problem worsened.
“I divorced my wife years ago because she did not take to corrections. My only three sons are currently in America. The elder brother of my wife took them overseas, but the man has been preventing them from helping me, ” he lamented.
Many others who spoke with the reporter, quite oblivious of the said inherent spiritual danger, expressed delight at their trade, which they enthused, they had enjoyed for a very long time.
Observers of the unhealthy situation are also uncomfortable with the plight of the needy lot. As a way out for them, they believe that it is high time the government at all levels, in concert with non-governmental humanitarian bodies, made desperate moves to rescue them, thereby giving them a new lease of life.
“It is not a new thing to hear of such a worrisome spiritual experience by the beggars because in this part of the world, our people go to any length to seek prosperity. Why are people sacrificing their own children in order to live better lives? Some even make use of their private organs for money making rituals. But the most important thing now is for those in authorities to hasten efforts at reducing poverty in the land. That is the only way these people can be less -susceptible to such a nasty spiritual exploitation.” said a concerned resident. What a good observation that could get the destitutes off the streets!
All efforts by this reporter to talk to the Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Mr Toye Arulogun proved abortive as his phone line did not go through.