A family that has been in sorrow for the past 6 years since their son Samuel
Abdulraheem went missing were joyful when he was found at Canaan Land, the headquarters of Living Faith Church Worldwide, in Ota, Lagos.
The little boy who comes from a large family of 17 children and four wives and a Muslim architect father was kidnapped at 7 years of age while riding
His closest sister, Firdausi while revealing how the incident unfolded said that at the time of his kidnap, she was 21 years old and the family has tried everything to find him since them.
According to her, she was not initially aware of the situation when she’d call home from where she was studying.
However, she began to suspect something was wrong when her favorite sibling did not run to the phone to talk to her as usual.
Suspecting something was off, Firdausi traveled home unexpectedly and found out the sad news. She said:
“At first, my father had the nanny arrested, but after investigations, they let her go.”
After several searches
Firdausi refused to give up and she dedicated herself to finding her missing brother. After graduation, she relocated to Lagos in search of job opportunities and while there, converted to Christianity.
Then one day as she was at Canaan Land attending the Winners Chapel annual 5-day Shiloh service, she found her brother. Firdausi was trying to set up her mother’s tye and dye clothes stand which she sold to church members when a boy being held onto by a blind beggar came up to her and behold, it was Abdulraheem.
Abdulraheem struggled to remember how he was kidnapped. All he could remember was the train ride from Kano to Lagos state, where he was later delivered to a woman, who rented children out to beggars for N500 per day.
Now a 30 year-old-man, Abdulraheem believes he had been under some kind of spell which ripped him of emotions.
He said he had never thought about home once, all he thought about was to work hard for the beggars and survive:
“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.”
Abdulraheem talked about how different beggars hired him for periods of time ranging from one week to a month. He said he and the beggars slept alongside others in various public spaces. He said:
“I was like a slave. I couldn’t say I wanted to go and do anything. I had to be around always.”
Talking about his experience as a beggar’s assistant, he said:
“I was always hungry. During the daytime when you work, you hardly sit down to eat. I didn’t feel the beggars were bad. They wake up, beg, the way people wake up and go to work.” “There were times when you get so tired and you start bypassing people, but blind people are very sensitive – their hearing – so they pick up sound. Sometimes they would twist your shoulder and say: ‘There is someone there. Why are you moving away?’ They try to make as much money as they can.”
Speaking on meeting his sister, he said it took a while to know who she was.
“It took a while but I knew that she was someone I knew – that this person was someone related to me.”
He was 13 years old at the time he was found, and returning back to living normally was not easy for him. He went back to his father’s home while his sister continued to take care of him.
The 13-year-old had returned with boils and rashes that gave off a foul odor. His right shoulder remained bent for more than a year from years of being gripped by beggars.
After years of no education, it was hard to get him into any school as he was rejected almost everywhere and was told he was too old for primary school.
A school led by a proprietor, who had been in Canaan Land when he was found, finally agreed to take him. He excelled in school and within a year he passed his entrance exam to secondary school.
He then proceeded to secondary school where he spent 3 years where he was exceptional and wrote his university entrance exams at 17, gaining admission into Ahmadu Bello University to study chemical engineering.
Due to his intelligence, Abdulraheem became popular for helping students out with their assignments, but he was unfortunately expelled in his fourth year after he was caught writing another student’s answers during exams.
The 30-year-old, who now works as a supervisor on a construction site, revealed his desire to go back to school and study computer science
Abdulraheem said the time he spent with the beggars has shown him how to treat beggars and the children that assist them. He said:
“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.” He also advised people on how to treat beggars and their assistants, “When they see a beggar with someone, they should have a second thought that, possibly, this child could need help, don’t just see and give money and walk away.”
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