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Drama As Abuja Beggar, Translator Receive N2m Cash Gift

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A beggar and a labourer had a chance meeting with a man
from “dreamland” and their stories changed dramatically.
JOHN OFIKEHNUA reports
IT LOOKS like a fairy tale from a fiction book, or a folklore,
told by a talented storyteller. It is the story of an Abuja beggar,
Fatima Adamu, and an itinerant labourer, Usher Titus.
Ordinarily, it sounds too good to be true, but it is real! It began
on a cloudy afternoon at Wuse 2 area some three weeks ago.
For five years, Fatima has been eking out a living as a street
beggar, choosing a particular location in the highbrow district
as her “duty post”.
The 41-year-old widow and mother of seven had set out as
usual, with her little daughter for the day’s schedule of a
typical mendicant. Since she started begging after her
husband’s death, collections usually come in trickles of N10,
N20, N50, N100 and N200 on very rare occasions. She usually
raked in an average of N400 as daily take-home or N500-
N600 on a good day. Then suddenly, this unusual alms giver
appeared from nowhere. Fatima reeled out her practised
chants, focusing on the well dressed prospective giver with
expectation.
But instead of giving out his alms and walking away as others
do, the strange man started asking Fatima questions. There
was, however, a language barrier as the man could only
communicate with her in English Language. Fatima, who had
never stepped her feet in any classroom all her life, could not
understand what the stranger was saying. Ba n’da jin turenchi
( I don’t understand English) was her response.
An itinerant labourer, Usher Titus, was sitting a few metres
away, watching the unfolding drama. He couldn’t get anyone
to engage his services all day, so he had plenty of time to play
with. The man beckoned to Titus to help interpret what the
beggar was saying. And Titus joined the two who could not
understand each other. That was how Titus, a 34-year-old
native of insurgency ravaged Gwoza, Borno State, became an
interpreter. He attended secondary school and speaks Hausa
fluently so he could understand what the two were saying in
their different languages. And with the help of Titus, the man
got to know the pathetic story of Fatima and how she came
about begging.
After listening to her story, the man decided immediately to
change Fatima’s life for good. Speaking through the
interpreter (Titus), the man promised to give Fatima N1million
to start a business. Then he looked at Titus and said, “I will
give you N1million also.”
Although Titus, unlike Fatima, knew exactly what a million
naira is, he considered the strange offer a ruse. Then the man
gave out his complimentary card and asked Fatima and Titus
to come and collect the N1million each he promised them. It
took them three weeks to respond to the invitation, apparently
in doubt of the man’s sincerity. With nothing to lose, Titus
linked up with Fatima and they proceeded to the address
indicated in the man’s complimentary card.
So, on September 8, 2019, in the afternoon, the two arrived at
the Abuja office of Belema Oil Producing Limited where they
met with the “strange man”, Mr. Jack-Rich Tien Jnr, Founder/
President of the company. Tien, an Engineer, received his
visitors with open arms and was delighted that they honoured
the invitation. And like play, like play, as it is said in street
parlance, the oil magnate summoned his staffers and ordered
them to arrange the cash in two parcels of N1 million each.
On sighting the raw cash, the beggar and the labourer started
to quiver in disbelief. They became nervous. Their dream
became a reality when the oil magnate handed them the
money. There was, however, a mild drama as Fatima had no
bank account to deposit the cash. As she was informed of
the risk of handling a huge amount of cash by herself, she
became momentarily disillusioned, thinking that the oil
magnate had changed his mind. She suggested that the
money be placed in the bank account of her 25-year-old son,
Bashiru. But Tien initially expressed misgivings over the
trustworthiness of today’s young men, fearing Bahiru might
end up squandering the money.
But Fatima vouched for her son’s integrity and was able to
convince the oil chief to get the money deposited in Bahiru’s
account. With goose pimples stringing all over him, Titus
could not believe his luck as he narrated his story and how he
stumbled on Tien. “I finished from Government Secondary
School, Gwoza in 2004. I wrote and passed the Senior
Secondaey School Certificate, but since all my siblings are in
school and my father is not capable of sponsoring all of us. I
had to do menial jobs for sustenance. On that fateful day, I
was on a site in Wuse 2, where Senator Philip Aduda had just
bought a house that we were refurbishing. I was taken as a
labourer there when we met. I had worked with construction
companies before now”
Asked whether he knew Jack-Tien before the encounter, he
said: “No, he didn’t know me. It was just God’s doing”.
Titus said the gesture has taught him some lessons about
giving. According to him, when the CEO asked him how much
he required to start his own business, he requested for
N600,000. Now he has got N1million from a man he just met
by chance. On what he intends doing with the money, Titus
said he was going to rent a shop where he would be selling
bags of cement.
Fatima said Tien has made her realise that differences in
religion and ethnic groups are no barriers to philanthropy. She
promised to manage the fund prudently to avoid returning to
the streets for begging. “Allah, I thank you, Tien, I thank you. I
will continue to pray for Tien for the rest of my life,” she said.
Titus thanked the Belemaoil chief profusely, saying he will
ever remain grateful to the man who has touched his life and
changed his story.
Tien’s company also has a Foundation that runs a charity. Its
Programme Adviser, Mr. Obinna Nwaneri, said the Foundation
stands for charity and service to humanity.
Nwaneri said Tien has always demonstrated a strong passion
for business support and fighting poverty.
Tien, who is the Foundation’s President, said in addition to
the cash gift, the Foundation will organise an entrepreneurship
training for two beneficiaries in the Hausa Language.

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