By Jubril Bada
Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Network, Ondo State has brought hope and succour the way of a-10-year- old boy, Ojo Sanya whose two arms were amputated in December 2022. The story was published by The Hope.
The 10-year -old boy lost his two arms to a machine at a branding mill in Owo Local Government area of Ondo State where his father enrolled him as an apprentice. Moved by the condition of the amputee and his determination to go to school, YALI through its efforts with the Ministry of Education in the State, took the matter up leading to Ojo Sanya being admitted into the School for Physically Impaired, lkare Akoko for September intake.
Members of the initiative led by their State Coordinator, Mr. Oladimeji Ayodeji during a courtesy visit yesterday to Owena Press Limited,the publisher of The Hope appreciated the organisation and its Chairman/Editor-In-Chief, Sir Ademola Adetula for their contribution to youth development, the coverage of youths activities and discourses on issues affecting the common man.
Ayodeji said that the group got wind of the amputates plight after The Hope published the story of the boy on March 10.
“This is why we consider it imperative to pay your organisation this courtesy visit as a strategic development partner in the state,”
Responding, the Chairman/Editor-In-Chief, Sir Ademola Adetula who was excited about the efforts of members of the YALI appreciated their initiative as dynamic youths for better Nigeria.
He said “as other youths engage in cultism and other social vices, you decided to engage in this laudable effort, you did not lose courage, it shouted there is hope for Nigeria.
“As a community paper, we take pride in being a community newspaper.We are the eye and the ear of the community .
“Our publication thrives in developmental journalism for the development of the people and the state,” he said.
As progressive minded youths, Adetula assured them of the organisation’s support towards their activities.
While telling them that they have responsibility to develop the society, he charged them to use their backgrounds to influence the society through their activities.
Recall that Sanya was taken to a branding mill by his father who had earlier absconded before he was born. Despite his tender age, he was enrolled at the mill as an apprentice.
In December 2022, his master told him to take off the lister engine they were using. While doing his master’s bidding, the belt of the engine hooked his cloth and his tiny arms in.
The ensuing trauma led to his two arms amputated.
This led to more grief for the ten-year- old who lived with his grandparents in Owo who are peasant farmers, Mrs Anjara Dele and Mr. Dele Yusuf.
Unlike many other children in his category, he never had the warmth and care of his parents.
His story is a disheartening one.
He was fathered in a not too pleasant manner. His father, simply identified as Sanya is a labourer at a sawmill in Alao area of Ipele, Owo Local Government area of Ondo State, impregnated his mother and ran away, leaving the care of the young pregnant girl to her father, who was also a labourer in the same sawmill.
Sanya never bothered to know what happened to the pregnancy as he never showed up when Ojo was born.
The struggle to give the little boy life was solely on the shoulders of his grannies. It was never an easy task as the grandfather, Dele Yusuf, was also laid off when the sawmill where he had been working folded up.
The situation became more complicated for Ojo and her grannies as they had to rely on their farm to survive.
To make matters worse, his grandfather, Dele Yusuf, a 70- year -old peasant farmer, could not make enough money to send him to school
However, the father of the little boy, Sanya, showed up early in 2022, demanding that Ojo be released to him, saying he wanted to send him to school after accusing his in-laws of not doing anything to secure a future for the little boy.
That was when the journey of Ojo into a bleak future started. The family lives in an old, abandoned office of the sawmill where the old man once worked . A dilapidated structure, it was the only building in the lonely area.
According to him, he had never seen his biological father for once until he came to their house early 2022 to take him away.
“I am Ojo Sunday, my father’s name is Sanya. I live with my grandparents. I was not going to school because there was no one close to this place. I am too young to trek to the place where the school close to this place is located”.
“My dream was to go to school and become a doctor so that I would be taking care of people, especially the poor ones who can not afford the bills”.
“So when the person whom I was told is my father came here to take me away, I was happy and followed him because he said he was going to send me to school “
“He took me to Alao, very close to this place and put me in AUD Prinary School. He later took me to a branding mill where he also enrolled me as an apprentice”.
I was going to the place to learn. However, the unfortunate thing happened in December of that year, 2022, my master told me to take off the lister engine we were using and as I was doing that, the belt of the engine hooked my clothe. Before you could know it, my hands were in it and I was in pains”.
“I later passed out and was woken up by the doctors at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo”.
Ojo disclosed that the doctors in the hospital worked hard to save his life and later amputated his two arms to make him live.
According to him, his father when he resurfaced only spat on him on his sick bed and disappeared again . He has not returned .
The little amputee who spent a year in the hospital said the only regret he is having now is not being able to go to school to fulfill his ambition.
He however, said he is still hopeful he could do that is Nigerians could help him out.
“I am happy I am still living today but the only regret for now is that it is like I may not be able to go school to become a doctor. My grandparents are old and poor. They cannot support me financially”.
“I am therefore appealing to the government, philanthropist, and kind Nigerians to help me”.
Fifty-five year old Mrs. Anjara Dele, the grandma of the little boy, broke down in tears when asked to talk about her grandson”s predicament.
Mrs. Anjara said that all has not been well with the family as they are very poor and only grow what they eat.
She said her husband is very old and no longer has the strength to do much farm work.
Speaking about Ojo, the grannie said she and her husband had tried much to make him attain his life ambition but lack of finance was frustrating their efforts .
“We have been trying our best to take care of him but there is little we can do now as we are going old and having less energy to do farm work “.
“We stayed for one year in FMC, Owo and it was the doctors and the nurses there that came to our aid as we had nothing to take care of him”.
“We have been living on charities and the little we can get from our farm. Sometimes we would eat and most times we go to bed on empty stomach “.
She therefore appealed to government to come their aid to help give Ojo new arms so that he can use them again.
In her words, “I beg government and rich people to help us so that Ojo can get new arms and use them again. At least, if he cannot go to school, he will be able to learn good handiwork that he will use to feed himself “
Mr Dele Yusuf, the grandfather of the little amputee, said he was working in the same place with the father of the little boy stated that her daughter was lured with money and was put in the family away by the man who later ran away and abandoned the pregnant lady.
According to him, he was forced to take the responsibility of caring for the pregnant lady and later the child when he was born.
“I do not have the capability of sending the boy to school. He was living with me happily before his father forcefully took him away. Although, we didn’t have much, we were happy”.
“It was in 2022 that he (Ojo’s father) came here to fight me and took him away that I was not doing anything for his son and he was going to send him to school. So, I allowed him to take the little boy away after some people intervened “.
“In December last year, somebody came to tell me that my son had been rushed to the FMC. When I got there, I nearly passed out because of what I saw”.
” I have to thank God, the doctors and nurses in the hospital for saving Ojo’s life”.
He, however, appealed to Nigerians to come to the little boy’s assistance as he could not adequately take care of him.
For now, Ojo has remained in high spirits, undaunted by his present predicament. He has the hope that with God and Nigerians, he will definitely get there now that he has been enrolled in school but still need help.