Mobility independence is freedom

If one is visiting our cities and towns for the first time and very observant, the only disabled people one is likely to see are the crippled or mental health patients – this is because quite a lot of people in this category live on our roadsides. These are the lucky ones, others die mysteriously during the early years.

Photos below show a 19 year old Kano lady whose younger brother is tasked to carrying her around the city to collect alms. Both recently have been spotted by good Samaritans, the lady received a wheel chair and promise of education for the boy.

This is an uplifting story.

Very likely the young woman has been used for alms begging since she was little. Nothing about the parents was shared. Was the mother sitting around the corner keeping eye on them? Or was she at home looking after other siblings? The father? Oh well.

This woman is in the north. I am not sure what the stereotypes about disability are in the north, however, given the huge number of people incapacitated by polio and the commonly accepted alms begging culture, I assume folks up north are a bit more tolerant with disability (I could be wrong her).

In the SW, dealing with a disabled family member is not easy on everyone in the family. Not because of the disability itself but because of so many people telling different tales of what they think cause the disability.

If the parents are the type that goes from one miracle church to another aka TB Joshua type church – they are likely going to spend every kobo they earned casting out devil. If that doesn’t work, any elderly ladies in the family are likely to be labelled witches therefore they are likely going to turn everyone that could help to enemy.

Hopefully, this act of kindness extended to the lady and her brother will inspire many more people to be nice to disabled around us.

Categories: Africa, Nigeria

Tags: ,

2 replies

  1. I don’t know, but as I grew up in England I learned not so much from home but at school, to respect the disabled and that has always stayed with me. Everyone has rights, and to be respected is one of those rights.
    At home, I was taught to be thankful for what physical attributes I have, ie sight, sound, hearing, taste, mobility etc.
    It was only when I went to Nigeria, and witnessed the degradation many disabled people live in, I realised not all disabled people are treated in a respectful manner around the world.
    Rather than leave people to their own devices, shouldn’t the state provide some sort of assistance, ie care? Rather than the foolishness of ‘mass weddings’ and other similar unnecessary practices.
    I heard Nigerian senators want to purchase 120 luxury Toyota landcruisers 2016 models, minimum price is $83 000, not to mention the added specifications which will raise the price to $86 000 for wheel drive vehicles for 109 senators. I didn’t even mention the senate president (Bukola Saraki) want to purchase 11 luxury vehichles. You can see what we are witnessing is a crime. The full story can be viewed here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • On disability case, my experience is the opposite of yours – it is shameful. Even if the state has department that was meant to look after disabled persons – you can bet that all the budget has gone to salaries of people being paying for doing absolutely nothing.

      I must say though that my perspective about disability started changing after the birth of my nephew, none of the speculations made no sense. I am really grateful to have lived in a country where disabled people are treated with kindness.

      Spot on, on mass wedding. And see, almost any big city you go to, one is likely to see so many folks from the north with one form of disability or the other begging. Last April that I saw about a dozen women in Ife market begging, they all had toddlers tugging on them seeking attention. These women, despite their disability (some caused by polio) were ignored, yet they were given money to be recycled amongst men to be the 4th wife.

      I am hopeful though as clearer picture is being shared, hopefully someone will see the sense that living decent lives is human right.

      Thank you jco for the link. I read about that story last week or so, I shook my head and forced myself to not think about it. I think Buhari said something last week to the effect that he didn’t expect that purchase to go through given the tight economic situation. On the senate president, he is the product of wastefulness that is Nigeria, he was born into it and will never change – I still don’t understand why he is there given the court case over his shoulders.


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