‘I had 22 cows in Kano but they were all rustled, that was how I became a beggar in Ibadan’

Twelve years ago, the once promising life Ibrahim Sahabi had in Shanono Local Government Area of Kano State was upturned when 22 of his cattle were rustled.

Sahabi, who not only was a cattle breeder but also a farmer, depended on the dung from the cows as manure for his farm. He told Saturday Tribune at the Mobil Junction, Ring Road Ibadan that he was thrown into the pit of poverty after the incident and he therefore decided to come to Ibadan, Oyo State to beg for alms to take care of his family.

“I had 22 cows back then but they were all rustled and that was how I became poor. I was raring my cattle and farming. The cows were rustled 12 years ago,” he said.

Sahabi continued to trudge on with his farming even after the incident, but he could not keep up because he lacked the requisite resources to finance the farming at a size that would meet his needs.

“I am here not by choice. I am here begging because I don’t have the strength and capacity to source fertiliser and other things required for effective farming. I continued farming after the incident, but I was farming without any fertiliser. But you know how it is, one must use the foreign fertiliser and local manure but since my cattle where I got manure from were gone, I had none — no foreign fertiliser or local manure.

“It became too much for me so I had to leave. I have been coming to Ibadan for the past five years. I come and go because my family is still in Kano,” he said.

The father of 20 said he would have loved to be together with his family but fate had him on the streets to meet the needs of his family. He told Saturday Tribune that he sends home whatever he made from begging to his family to feed on while he manages the little he had left.

“I have three wives and 20 children, seven of whom are married. I am here in Ibadan alone so whatever I make here I send it back to them to feed. If I had all that I needed I would not be out here in the open, begging. I would have stayed back in Kano to take care of my family. Before I decided to come here, I was a farmer but farming became difficult for me because I couldn’t afford to buy fertilizer and inputs again.

“So I started coming here to beg and then send whatever I make from begging to my family. Sometimes I am able to send up to N15,000 at the end of the month. I move round, I go to anywhere and everywhere to beg, since this is our fate. Back home we have nothing, if we did we would have been managing the little we had and we will progress that way little by little,” he said.

He lamented his inability to be home to secure the family front or do some business close to his family.

“If I had a business or something else to do I wouldn’t have come here, I would have stayed back with my family. I am supposed to be home with my family to secure the family front but look at it.”

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