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Thursday, December 1, 2022

My wife abandoned me and 3 kids because I’m blind, 75-yr-old beggar narrates ordeals

My wife abandoned me and 3 kids because I’m blind, 75-yr-old beggar narrates ordeals

By Maria Famakinwa
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The story of Pa Joseph Ojo, a native of Abeokuta in Ogun State who has been begging for alms since 1990 to keep body and soul together was rather a pathetic one.  Though, completely blind, the response of the man who will turn 75 by July this years  depicted a man younger than the claimed age as he narrated his ordeals to The Hope.

His words,” I was not born blind, I was a plumber then in Ado-Ekiti before I came to Akure. The story that turned me to a beggar started like a joke in 1990 when I woke up and discovered sign of a cross in my eyes. I explained to people and they said that it was an infection, but when the sign persisted, I sought for medical help. Different tests were carried out on me and drugs recommended were bought with the help of my family but all to no avail.

”I was also taken to a man introduced as a trado-medical expert, yet, nothing came out of it until my two eyes went completely blind. I was abandoned by my family members since the death of my uncle who took me to Ado- Ekiti. Since nobody was coming to help and I need to feed, made me considered begging for alms from passers by since 30 years ago. My daughter, brings me here every morning and come in the evening to take me home. It is indeed a terrible thing to loose both eyes without any helper.”

Pa Ojo who disclosed that he was married with three children but lost one lamented that his wife left him years ago without bothering about the welfare of the children who were left at the mercy of church members and well wishers. ”My wife, Mary Joseph, from Kogi state, who was married with three children to another man before giving birth to my three children, married me as a blind man but later left for Lagos to meet her children she had for another man in her first marriage because she was ashamed taking me around to beg for alms. Though, she calls her children atimes but that is not enough.”

Ojo who often time sit at Lafe bus stop in Akure to solicit for alms further relayed some bitter experiences.”  Anytime it rains, I am always here drenched in the downpour because I do not know when it is about to rain so that I can run for cover. Sometimes, when I am lucky, passersby show me pity by assisting me to available shed for cover. I inhale dust here that often affect my health. There was a time that I was arrested and taken to welfare for three days before my church members came to my rescue.”

While calling on the State government for financial assistance, he said that he was tired of living a life of beggar. ”I want the State government to assist me and my two children. I pay N18,000 as house rent and will expire this March. I only depend on the church and the little I get from the people which is not enough.”

A woman, who knows Ojo but preferred not to be named blamed the wife for abandoning him for over six years which make living more difficult for him. ”What surprised everyone was that the woman saw him as a blind man before marrying him and had three children for him and latter abandoned him and the children. The man has been living on what the church is able to offer and with whatever money he made from alms. Though, the wife calls her children sometimes but nobody knows her where about.

”I just pray that the government will assist him because it is risky sitting beside the road begging for alms especially in this condition. The old man is completely blind.  I fear for him in case of emergency.  When one should run for his /her dear life.  What will be the fate of Pa Ojo, whose daughter brings him here every morning and leave for where she is learning a skill till evening when she will come to take him home?

 ”The man himself is tired of living his life as a beggar, but he has no choice. Come rain or sun shine, he is here begging to eat, exposing himself to different hazards. Though, people around are helping but not enough.

Also reacting to Pa Ojo’s ordeals, a trader very close to Lafe bus stop, where Ojo sits to beg for alms, Mr Femi, revealed that he has known the Septuagenarian as a beggar for years and needs urgent financial assistance because of his age. ”The man of his age cannot continue begging, otherwise, his health will further deteriorate, but I did not blame him since he must feed and cater for his children. That is why it is advisable for country to have adequate provisions for citizens like Pa Ojo who are physically challenged.”

The Hope Owena Press
The Hope Owena Presshttp://www.thehopenewspaper.com
Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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