The “rewarding” tears of Na’ima, the weeping girl
By Abdullahi Salihu, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
The ceremony, taking at the palace of the District Head of Shuwarin in Jigawa, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi on May 20, was intended to be modest.
It was just to handover wheel-chairs to some physically-challenged persons as assistance, courtesy of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
A physically-challenged teenage girl, Na’ima Hamza 14, had earlier arrived in the venue unnoticed, having received information that wheel-chairs were to be distributed to some people in her situation.
As the list of beneficiaries was being read, she was sitting on the ground, anxiously waiting to be called upon on to come forward and receive one.
She had thought that getting a wheel-chair would alleviate one of her challenges but she became disappointed when the list was exhausted and she was not called.
Because she has tribal marks that look exactly like the tears dropping from her swollen eyes, none of the people in the event noticed that Na’ima was crying.
“I was informed that wheel-chairs would be distributed and my source raised my hope of getting one but from the look of things, my hope is now dashed,’’ she told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Shuwarin, shedding tears.
Na’ima’s outburst suddenly drew the attention of the audience, including the Coordinator of NYSC in Jigawa, Mr Michael Omulo, who came to find out what happened.
Worried by the emotional reaction of the teenager, Omulo calmed the weeping girl with N2, 000 with a promise that she would be considered in future.
As the fate would have it, however, Na’ima’s action elicited emotions from the participants in the event and she ended in getting more than what she had earlier desired.
Moved by her outlook, Brig.-Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, the Director-General of NYSC, directed that Na’ima should be provided with a wheel-chair immediately.
Instantly, an anonymous philanthropist donated three wheel-chairs and three sewing machines and a pledge to sponsor her education.
“The donor said we should never mention his name because he assisted only to impact positively on the life of the girl, and not to publicise himself.
“He said that a report on her emotional reaction made him to assist her and he has also directed that the girl should be enrolled in school immediately.
“For these three sewing machines, as you can see, one is handy, which she can operate with her hands.
“For the remaining two sewing machines, he said two of her relatives should use them to learn together with her, Malam Baba Sani, the representative of the donor said while presenting the items.
In the same vein, CONTEC Global Foundation Nig. Ltd, Abuja, after giving Naima a wheel-chair, awarded her scholarship to further her study.
“After reading Na’ima’s emotional story, we thought of doing something to support her life; we felt we should either empower or grant her scholarship to go to school.
“So, we thought it will be better for her to go to school and we are ready to grant her scholarship,’’ Mr Tunde Ayansanwo, the Corporate Affairs Manager of the foundation said while presenting the wheel-chair in Shuwarin.
Perhaps, the highest donation was from a traditional title holder in the state, Alhaji Nasiru Dano,Dutse, who assisted the girl with two tricycles valued at N1. 4 million.
So, a week after the event, the girl had received five wheel-chairs, two tricycles and two scholarship awards, apart from other miscellaneous gifts.
Naima and her parents said they did not expect such spontaneous support, thanking the donors with gratitude to God.
“I thank all those who came to my assistance. I least expected it. I promise to use the items judiciously,’’ the girl pledged.
Malam Hamza Muhammed, the father of the Na’ima, thanked the donors for expressing interest in the welfare of their daughter, just as the mother, Mrs Rakiya Hamza, said the sewing machines would empower the family.
“The home of the lucky girl’’ has since been a popular slogan in reference to Na’ima’s family in the area.
Na’ima’s mother, Rakiya, said her daughter stated facing challenges when she was barely seven months.
“When she was seven months, she fell ill from chickenpox and all efforts to cure her failed; that was how she became crippled from the feet and since that time, we had been struggling with life,’’ she said.
Na’ima also said she had to drop out of school in primary four due to the enormity of the challenges, having to crawl to go to school.
“My ambition now is to further my studies up to the university level and will live to the challenge, by the grace of God, especially with the assistance of those who came to my rescue,’’ she said.
However, as members of the Hamza family continue to celebrate their fortune, some elders of the town have decided that some of the items donated should be given to other physically-challenged persons in the area as a show of concern.
The palace of the district head of Shuwarin, had, from the beginning of Na’ima’s case, taken the list of 18 cripples who visited the palace with the hope of rewarding them.
The district head and other respected persons in the area thought that if all the donated wheel-chairs were given to Na’ima, they might be under-utilised or wasted.
In the light of this, they resolved that one wheel-chair, one tricycle and some other miscellaneous gifts should be given to her, while the rest be distributed to other physically-challenged persons in the area as more people are still donating.
Observers see the case of Na’ima as a typical example of how the media can bring a change in the lives of the less-privileged by laying emphasis on rural reportage and development journalism.
They observe that Na’ima’s widely publicised case has positively impacted on the lives of others in her situation within her immediate community.