Blind Beggars resident in Niger state have lambasted the State Government over the sharing of palliatives, saying they have resorted to eating mangoes in order to quench their hunger due to unavailability of food.
While speaking to Journalists, The Head of the Blind Beggars and physically challenged people in Minna (Sarkin Makafi), Rabi Abdullahi said “we have resorted to eating mangoes in order to quench our hunger due to unavailability of food.”
Narrating their ordeal, Abdullahi said at the Niger state House for the Blind Beggars in Minna that, the pallatives brought by the state government were grossly inadequate and insufficient, adding that “the grains did not go round to his people who are about 500.
“How would a state government in its wildest imagination give Blind Beggars 8 Mudus of rice, grains and maize to share? We are very disenchanted with the government officials including Governor Abubakar Sani Bello over their insensitivities to the plights of the poor people in the society.”
Accordingly, he said “the government brought to me only eight mudus (the measurement used in the north) of Rice, eight mudus of maize, eight mudus of millet and 12 pieces of spaghetti.
“I am the leader of the blind and we have over 150 men as members in Minna, not counting the women and some of these men have two or three wives and none has less than two children. So if you calculate it, you will see that we are about 500.”
He asked further, “What can 8 mudus of rice, maize and millet with 12 spaghetti do to these families. It is not enough in any way. In my family alone, I have 30 children, so even a portion of this pallative could not even take us for more than a meal.”
He lamented that his people are complaining about the pallatives, saying “some have even accused me of hiding some of the pallatives.
“it is unfortunate that my people did not believe these are all they brought, they accuse me of taking everything and bringing out something that is not realistic for us to share. But some of my members were there when they brought the food that day.”
He said even though they are blind, they also have relatives and children who have eyes to see and know what was brought.
On how the pallatives was shared, Abdullahi explained that, “some people got a milk cup of each of the grains, some had to leave it for others to have. And because, the palliatives are meagre, my people in Chachanga, Bosso and Maitumbi didn’t get anything.”
On how they and other Vulnerables have managed since the declaration of the lock down in the state, Abdullahi said it has not been easy saying that his people had taken to eating mangoes in order to keep away hunger.
“We are seeing it more. If the rich people are crying about the impact of the lockdown, is it us, blind beggars that won’t cry? If Government or well meaning persons do not give to us, we won’t eat. For now, no one is really giving us anything and our only means of survival is begging.
“These days, we are not having any other food other than mango, we thank God that it is Mango season. Mango is now our food but we are tired of eating mangoes. We need real food. We hear on radio, a lot of food that government get and they say it is for the vulnerables, then why can’t they give us enough that will go round and last us even if it is for a week.”
Some of the members of the Blind who also spoke to journalists said that they are only praying to God to bring an end to the restriction of movement to enable them to be able to go out and beg for their daily food.
One of the blind members and woman leader, Jumai Bello said “I have six children and when I heard about the distribution of grains, I came down but did not get any as they said it was not enough to go round.”
She added that their daily meal include eating mangoes in the morning and afternoon while at night, they manage corn meal with dry okro soup adding that, it has been the way they have been surviving.
Also, another blind member, Amina Unar said she was lucky to get a share out of the food they brought saying it was not even enough for a meal.
“They gave me one cup of rice, One cup of millet and one cup of maize but it was not enough for my house, We had to buy more to compliment before it could be enough for us.”