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Meet Damaturu’s helpless widow

In the slum of Nayinawa ward in Damaturu, 45-year-old Hauwa Hassan, lives in a makeshift shanty fashioned from sticks, rags and polythene sacks. Hauwa found…

In the slum of Nayinawa ward in Damaturu, 45-year-old Hauwa Hassan, lives in a makeshift shanty fashioned from sticks, rags and polythene sacks.

Hauwa found herself in this situation following the death of her husband a year ago. After sometime she was unable to pay the rent of the house she was living and the landlord evicted her from the house.

A good Samaritan, who pitied her condition, provided her with a space in Damaturu’s city centre where she pitched a ramshackle tent where she has been living for six months now.

“I couldn’t pay my rent, so, my landlord threw me into the street. The owner of this land took pity in me, and gave me this space to erect the shanty. That is how I have been living here for months,” she said.

Our correspondent observed that the shanty, where Hauwa sleeps with her son is less the 40 feet in size with no provision for toilet to answer the call of nature.

“When nature calls I normally delay it until midnight because there is no bush close by to excrete. Sometime, if pressed, we  do it in a nylon and throw it into the gutter,”  she said.

“Life has been cruel to us. After he died, I lost my eldest son, our bread winner, who once worked in a construction company.

“He fell from a truck and was ran over by an oncoming vehicle and he died instantly. His death further compounded our situation, though prior to his demise we were living hand to mouth,” she said.

Hauwa, now a destitute, was left to carter for herself and her last born Mamman Sani,  who is suffering from a mental health problem since childhood.

“As I am speaking with you I do not have a kobo and I do not know what the family will eat for the day,” she said.

In spite of her condition what disturbs her most is the health challenge being faced by her 15-year-old son, Mamman Sani. This has overwhelmed her and further impoverished the family.

Hauwa said she had been struggling, in the last 13 years to find treatment for her son.

“Every kobo I got, is being spent to settle my  son’s medical bill. His illness started with fever, weeks later it turned out to be a mental illness. I took him to a psychiatric hospital in Maiduguri and Kaduna without any improvement,” she said.

The helpless widow said, she could no longer afford hospital treatment for her child, therefore has resorted to using traditional medicine.

“I wish it would work because I was left all alone in this world. All my friends and relatives have deserted me,” he said.

The widow said she received assistance from the State Vulnerable and Orphans Welfare Committee but would need more to complement that.

She appealed to government, non-governmental organisations, spirited individuals and civil society organisations to come to her rescue and save her from 15 years of bondage.

“As you can see, we live in a roughly-built hut made from cornstalk, polythene bags and rags and the rainy season is about to set in. I don’t have anywhere to go. This situation will force us to stay awake all night or migrate to any government building because if I can afford to stay awake my son can’t. I know what I always face when he could not sleep for just a night” she decried.


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