In Nigeria, seeing beggars on the street is very common. We see children with elders and assume they’re all in it together. Little do we know that the children might just be the ones asking for help.
In a documentary by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani on BBC, she narrates the story of Samuel, a young man kidnapped when he was seven and made a beggar’s guide.
Samuel came from a large family of 22 including 17 children and on this fateful day, he was believed to be playing outside like every other day, but unlike every other day, he didn’t make it back home to any member of his family until six years later.
In this six years, Samuel was hired to different beggars weekly and monthly to guide them through their various begging destination and all these while, he remembers nothing about his past life or even think about a life after begging.
I am not sure I had emotions then. Just a zombie that knew he had to wake up and lead a beggar out. Make money, eat food and sleep, and the same routine the next day.
Samuel stayed with a woman with one hand and while with the woman, different children were brought into the same place to be hired off to beggars. Samuel recalled a child who was brought in and how the child cried all night. the next morning, Samuel revealed the child has become just like him, a Zombie living to lead beggars in Lagos state.
In 2010, Samuel’s sister, Firdaus, who was amongst the retailers in Shiloh prayer ground had found him in guiding a beggar. She screamed on recognizing her brother and her scream gathered crowd who took her into the church. Bathed and clothes changed, Samuel was fed and called to the stage to testify.
Samuel is thirty now and working as a supervisor in a construction site. Not trying to be dragged by his past, the young man revealed he has no grudge over what happened, but his experience as a beggar has influenced his reactions to beggars.
“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.”
To Samuel, sharing his story is his way of exposing that part of society and hoping people become attentive to this shocking part of society.
Read the full story on BBC