Seventy-five-year-old Audu Lima is a trader selling sweet potato and cocoyam in the busy Kasuwan Shanu in Maiduguri metropolis.
Before he found this vocation, he lived in Treze village in the hills of Gwoza in Borno State. He was forced to leave because of the activities of Boko Haram insurgents.
The octogenarian, who was a butcher in his village, told Kanem Trust that what inspired him to join the trade despite age and health challenges was that he did not like staying idle.
“I am not used to sitting idle because it is not a good habit. I prefer to fend for myself, to take care of my family and other pressing needs.
“What motivated me to venture into selling of sweet potato and cocoyam is my firm belief that a single kobo you hustle and sweat for is far better than a million naira someone dashed you.
“Despite my age and the challenge of having only one eye, I like hustling to earn a little income to take care of myself. I lost one of my eyes during an attempt to remove an infection and that is why I am using eye glasses.
“I want to exhibit good example for my children and grandchildren to learn how to fend for themselves. I have five children – four are females and married while the senior one is scholar but died some years back.
I am living with some of them here Maiduguri but I can’t wait for them. I also want hustle to earn a living. They supported me with the capital to start this trade and I am happy to come out everyday to the market,” he said
He said he makes profit from the business. “I make between N500 to N1,500 but sometimes I also record losses if the sales is poor.’’
The octogenarian said it took him two days to sell a bag of sweet potato but if the market was moving fast he could sell two.
Lima said: “But for the security situation in my village, I wouldn’t waste my time here in Maiduguri struggling to survive because during our good old days in Treze village, I was a butcher and chairman of the butchers. I used to slaughter two to three cows a week. I was also a farmer in the village but the activities of the insurgents displaced us from our ancestral homes.’’
Lima said he wanted to go back to his village adding, “ there’s no better place like home’’.
“We pray to return and reunite with our extended families, other relatives and neighbours to rebuild community cohesion for a prosperous future of our children and grandchildren.
“We are praying for Allah’s intervention to bring an end to Boko Haram activities and support the state government in its efforts to resettle the people back home.
“We are optimistic that one day peace and security will be restored not only on our village but the entire Borno State to our lost glory of peace and development of the people,” he added.