Some physically-challenged persons in Bauchi have resorted to using their wheelchairs to hawk petty items as against begging for alms as part of efforts to become self-reliant.
Our correspondent in Bauchi who came across multiple of such persons on Tuesday reported that the rear part of their wheel-chair had been re-designed to carry their wares ranging from edible items like biscuits, sweets, yoghurts, groundnuts and kola nuts, to detergents, cooking stoves, perfumes and pomades, among others.
One of such persons, Musa Bala, who sold locally-produced cooking stoves, said he was making brisk business selling each stove at the cost of N1,500.
“I manufacture the local charcoal stove myself and sell same; patronage is fantastic and that has kept me out of the habit of begging.
“I load them at the rear-end of my wheel-chair and move around with same; I visit places that are busy with people, such as markets and petrol filling stations”, he said.
Another person, Haruna Ibrahim, who sold Air Fresheners and shoe polish creams of various brands along major roads, said the idea of hawking using his wheel-chair, had rekindled hope in life as it had freed him from the embarrassment associated with begging.
According to him, he generates money, not only to cater for himself and family but also save some for the rainy day.
“People encourage me into using my wheel-chair to sell goods and I am now more honourable than I used to be in the past.
“I appreciate my customers for the encouragement; some times people patronise your wares, not because they needed same, but to appreciate your struggle to become self-reliant,” he said.
Ayuba Yakubu, who sells road signs and fire extinguishers, said that petty trading was better than begging.
“In the past, I was getting money through begging but sometimes people pass uncomplimentary utterances on you.
”But now, even the facial expression of people when they see you struggling on your own, is quite complimentary”, he said.
Other physically-challenged persons interviewed were optimistic that the had abandoned street-begging for good.
“I now give alms to my ‘former colleagues’ and encourage them to be self-reliant; I always tell them that once-upon-a-time, I was a beggar like them, but now gives alms”, said Mohammed Bello, who sells car foot mats.
On August 16, 2019, a corps member serving in Bauchi, Miss Odinaka Lovelyn, donated wheel-chairs to 30 street beggars in the state to discourage them from street-begging.
Checks revealed that most of the beneficiaries of the gesture had resorted to using the wheel-chairs to sell wares to earn a living.