Di boy wey dem kidnap from im family to guide blind beggars for Nigeria

Samuel Abdulraheem no fit remember di day wey dem kidnap am from im family home inside northern Nigerian city of Kano, for di age of seven.

Although e come from very big family - im fada get 17 pikin from four wives - Samuel dey on im own wit e nanny dat day.

Dem tell im family say Samuel bin go outside go ride im bicycle.

Dem no come see am again for anoda six years.

Di search for Samuel

"E no get notin wey we no do to try to find am," im older sister Firdausi Okezie tok.

Den, dem no let Firdausi wey be 21 years old, know about di disappearance at first.

Her broda bin dey always enjoy to rush ansa di phone and speak wit her wen she call dia house from university.

But wen oda members of the household begin answa di phone anytime wey she call, she begin suspect say sometin dey wrong.

Afta her classes one afternoon, Firdausi travel go home witout telling anybodi and her fada, wey be architect and hotelier, dey force to reveal di truth give her say Samuel dey miss for more dan one month.

Image copyright Abdulraheem family
Image example Foto of Samuel mama few years before di disappearance. Dem tell am say her son dey miss

"At first, my papa arrest di nanny, but afta investigations, dem let her go," Firdausi tok

Dem also try to hide di news from Samuel mama, wey don dey divorced from im papa. Everi time she call dia phone from her new house wey dey anoda city, dem go give her different excuse.

But at di end, dem give one uncle di work to tell di mama wetin happun to Samuel.

To add join di plenti police investigations, di family even put adverts for newspapers and sent out pipo wey go enta street to go look for Samuel. Dem check gutter wey dey along roadside in case hit and run driver jam am, and even consult Muslim spiritual priests, wey dem dey call malams.

Afta some time, di papa tell di family to accept di fact say dia broda don die - dem don do di best dem fit do.

How dem take see Samuel

Firdausi no gree give up. She dedicate her university thesis to her missing broda and one year afta she graduate, she move go Lagos to go find work.

She convert to Christianity and start to dey attend Winners Chapel - wey be one of di big churches inside Lagos and dey based for Ogun state just outside di city.

Everi December, di church dey hold five-days gathering of dia members from all ova di world.

During di event, wey dem dey call Shiloh, dem dey give interested members for di congregation free stands to display dia goods and services witin di church compound.

As Firdausi no still get job for December 2000, She apply for one stand to sell tie-dye fabrics wey her mama don make.

As she dey wait for carpenter to help her set up di display, she sidon for chair and put her head for her lap to rest small.

Dat na wen she hear one beggar dey beg in di name of Allah, for money, den Firdausi raise her head up to look.

Dis beggar put im hand for di left shoulder of one boy wey wear brown tunic tier-tier shirt and jumpi-jumpi trousers.

Firdausi scream - Di boy wit tier-tier shirt wey dey guide di beggar na her small broda wey loss.

How Samuel kidnap take happun

Samuel, wey be 30 years now, no fit remember exactly how dem take kidnap am from im family: "All I remember na di train journey."

Dem take am go one-armed woman wey dey live for di outside di city of Lagos for one area wey disabled beggars for plenti.

Di woman hire am out to blind beggars for 500 naira (dat na like $5 or £2.50 for dat time) per day.

Di sight of blind men and women wey small boys and girls dey lead dey common for many streets inside Nigeria - especially for wia hold up dey, or around churches and mosques.

Only Samuel dey live wit di woman and im dey sleep for mat inside her kpako house.

E say about five oda boys later join am to live wit oda women inside di same yard, and dem dey hire out each of dem give blind beggars.

Samuel suspect say dem do sometin to am or give am sometin during dat time because e no remember to ever think about im family during dat period, or wonder how dem dey.

"I no dey sure if I get emotions den. I Just dey like zombie wey know say e gatz to wake up and lead beggar out. Make money, eat food and sleep, and do di same di next day.

Life of slave

Different beggars hire am for a period of time, like from one week to one month.

For di end of each day, Samuel and di beggar go sleep togeda wit odas for different public spaces.

If one beggar enjoy di way Samuel work wit am, dem go hire am again for anoda period.

"I dey like slave, I no fit tok say I wan go anywia and do anytin. I need to dey around always."

As e dey always dey waka, Samuel no too get friends, only sometimes im go play wit di pikin of oda beggars wey im meet for evening.

Sometimes dey go give dem food as dem dey beg. For oda times dem go hang around restaurants and eat leftovers or go look for food inside dustbins.

"I dey always hungry. During daytime wen you work, you no go fit sit down to eat," e tok.

"I no feel say di beggars dey bad. Dem go wake up, go beg, just di way pipo dey wake up and go work."

Day afta day, Samuel waka from one end of Lagos to di oda wit one beggar wey grip im shoulder wit im right hand.

Sometimes, dem go trek go oda states wey dey nearby or cross di border go Benin. If di beggars hear news say beta pesin wey go give dem money dey somewia, dem go tell Samuel and e go carrri dem enta bus go dia.

"Time dey wen you go tire well-well and you go start to dey bypass pipo but blind pipo dey very sensitive - dia hearing - so dem dey quick dey pick up sound. Sometimes dem go twist your shoulder and say: 'Somebodi dey dia. Why you dey waka pass am?'

"Dem dey try to make plenti money wey dem fit make."

How di 'miracle' wey Samuel take see im sister happun.

For December 2000, one beggar wey Samuel dey guide hear di news of di programme wey wan happun for Winners Chapel and na from dia e take see im sister.

At first, Firdausi dey very shock to reach out and touch her broda.

"I fall down for floor," she tok.

Samuel look very tin, im right shoulder dey bend and e be like pesin wey dey dumb, e no tok any word. Di sight make Firdausi begin dey cry.

"E take some time, but I know say she be somebodi wey I know - dat na say dis pesin na someone wey dey related to me," Samuel tok.

Image copyright @davidoyedepoministries
Image example David Oyedepo, wey be di founder of Winners Chapel, hold Samuel and pray for am

Soon crowd of pipo gada because of di scream, church officials also showface. Dem manage to understand wetin make Firdausi dey happy and tok say na "miracle" wey dem need to share wit di whole congregation.

Dem carry Samuel to one corner and wash am clean. Dem give am fresh clothes to wear and rush two of dem go di stage of di 50,000-seat auditorium wia dem for give Firdausi microphone.

As she dey cry, she tell dem how she just find her broda wey don dey miss for six years.

Firdausi remember how di whole congregation jump comot from dia chairs and begin dey shout praise and give thanksgiving.

Di founder of di church, David Oyedepo, come hold Samuel and pray for am.

Dat night dem sleep for di church compound inside one car, as di place dey far from wia Firdausi dey live.

She remember how she dey wake up throughout di night and dey touch her broda to make sure im dey real.

How Samuel take recover

Today Firdausi say she regret say she dey too focus about her broda only, and she no try to rescue di odas from wia dem keep Samuel.

Samuel say just before dem rescue am, one new small pikin just arrive for di yard.

E say at first, di boy cry well-well and e no gree chop. All of a sudden, di small boy come keep quiet and dis come make am dey suspect say dem don give or do sometin to di boy to keep quiet.

Image copyright Firdausi Okezie
Image example Samuel wit im sister on di day of her wedding, about two years afta she find am

"For developed kontri, you go just go meet di police. But, here di police go ask you to give dem money for fuel and all dat, and I no even get job," Firdausi tok.

Samuel right shoulder bend for more dan one year, and need X-rays and physiotherapy before e go finally stop to dey show signs of di pressure from years wey beggars don dey grip am.

Firdausi finally come make arrangements for private classes for Samuel to sabi book.

In three months, Samuel move from primary one to primary four. Within one year, e pass di entrance exams to secondary school.

Samuel spend only 3 years for secondary school, wen e be 17 years. E come feel confident enof to sit for university entrance exams.

E pass wit beta grade, and gain admission to study chemical engineering for Ahmadu Bello University inside Zaria.

Because of say Samuel sabi book well-well, oda students come dey meet am for help wit assignments and di school come later expel am during im fourth year afta dem catch am dey write ansa give anoda student during exams.

Image copyright Samuel Abdulraheem
Image example Samuel Abdulraheem do well for school

'I no get any grudges'

Samuel now dey work as supervisor for construction sites.

"Oneday wen I get enof money, I hope to continue my education," e tok.

E add say computer science fit be wetin e go choose as e be say e dey good wit gadgets.

Samuel Abdulraheem
Samuel Abdulraheem
If anyone asks for money, I'd rather buy them food. Because, back then, it was better giving me food than money because the money went to the beggar and none came to me"
Samuel Abdulraheem
Kidnap victim

Samuel no feel bad about wetin im pass through during wen dem kidnap am. E believe say all those years shape am and also teach am to try to always dey nice to pipo.

"Notin wey pipo do, dey actually pain me. I just see am as way of life. I no hold grudges," e tok.

Memories of hunger wey beat am dey affect di way wey im dey relate to beggars and dia guides today. E no dey give dem money.

"I go instead buy dem food. Because, back den, e dey beta to give me food dan money because di money dey go di beggar pocket and no one dey reach my hand."

Samuel dey hope say as im share e tori, pipo go pay more attention to beggars and di children wey dey guide dem.

"Wen pipo see beggar wit small pikin, make dem think twice say, e dey possible di pikin fit need help. No just look and give money, den waka leave dem."

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