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Meet 12-yr-old child who bakes bean cake for survival

Frying akara balls (beans cake), no doubt, is a business purely dominated by the feminine world. Hardly would a man venture into the business. Lawal,…

Frying akara balls (beans cake), no doubt, is a business purely dominated by the feminine world. Hardly would a man venture into the business. Lawal, however, dared to tread where other men dread, as he finds the job not just interesting, but fulfilling.
Born twelve years ago into a family of five, Lawal grew up to meet his elder brother frying akara balls, a business he inherited from his mother, a petty trader. As such, he had no option than to take over from the brother, especially when he gained entrance into secondary school.
Again, it becomes all the more practicable for the little boy to take up the business, in view of his father’s profession, who depends on the good will of his subjects to make ends meet.
Speaking with Aso Chronicle at his duty post at Ijayapi, a small, but populated village located in Byazin across, Kubwa, in Bwari Area Council of the FCT, the primary 5 pupil narrated how he had successfully sustained the business in a relatively highly competitive market over the past three years he took over from his brother.
He also explained how he manages to combine the business with his academics, the dual responsibility he described as both demanding and interesting. Lawal, however, appears not to be complaining, being the only way his academic pursuit can be guaranteed.
The hardworking and dedicated boy says he usually wakes up as early as 4 a.m. each day to wash the beans and to grind it. According to him, performing the two responsibilities takes him not up to thirty minutes to perform.
He further hinted that before he goes to bed around 10 p.m., he has to also grind corn for pap which he sells together with the akara balls.
As soon as he is done with the washing and grinding of the beans, he quickly dashes to his make-shift shop, a distance of few meters away from his house.
Lawal, who insists on decency, will not initiate the frying process each day, until he is done with the sweeping of the environment, to make it welcoming and conducive for business, another virtue that explains why he enjoys a high level of patronage from the residents.  
According to him, as early as 7am, customers are already trooping into his shop to place demands for his products. While others in the same business are getting set for the day’s sales, Lawal has already gone half way in his sales.
He would not, however, allow the influx of customers to becloud his sense of reasoning,  as he is always disciplined to know when it is time to close for the day’s work in order to report to school.
Asked how much he makes in a day, the Kogi State born child, initially did not want to disclose the amount, but later reluctantly hinted that within the approximately two hours he spends each day in the business, he makes up to N2,000 on a good day, while he makes less than that any day the patronage is low.
One good thing about the business is that the leftover at the end of each day’s business is never wasted. Just like any typical local restaurant, popularly called ‘Mama put’ the remnants or left-overs of the sales automatically becomes the next meal of the family.
Lawan hinted that any day the patronage is low, particularly on a rainy day, the remnants is not disposed, but serve as lunch for the entire family that day, an issue his elder brother view as a major challenge to the business.    
As far as Lawan is concerned, the business has paid off.  He was bold to confess that the proceeds from the business has not only placed food on the family’s table, but has been highly instrumental to the funding of his academics.
The major challenge, he however explained, is the ability to combine the business with his academics. Considering the time he goes to bed and the time he wakes up, his studies is being affected. Apart from his lateness to school, he sometimes sleeps in the class. He however tries to make up for those obvious lapses by waking up sometimes in between the night to study.
When asked if he would hand over the baton to his younger brother on graduation into the secondary school, just as the elder brother did, Lawal appears to be indecisive. For him, it is a case of ‘when we get to the bridge, we will know how to cross it.’
Lawan, however, used the opportunity to challenge his peers not to depend solely on their parents to provide everything for them. He said taking up something, no matter how small, would not only help out in the family, but also make them have sense of dignity.

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