In the midst of the sad and tragic stories that pervaded our media space last week, one story emerged that brightened my heart and gave me hope that all is not bane and gloom in this country.
I mean, very few Nigerians could say they were not touched by the painful episode of the Zabarmari massacre. We kept asking ourselves what was the fault of the poor peasant farmers, who left their hearth and home hundreds of miles away, in order to earn a living in Borno’s rice farms.
Through no fault of their own, they were gruesomely murdered by the bloodthirsty bigots who call themselves Boko Haram. For the umpteenth time I say these murderers have no connection with Islam and if we have to find a link between them and Muslims, it is to say that they are enemies of islam who are succeeding immensely, in giving our religion a bad name.
Of course the response of our Federal government, to this massacre, left a lot to be desired. And it is while mourning the dead, sympathising with their relatives and desperately praying for an end to this recurring carnage, that I came across the latest about octogenarian singer-turned-beggar Hajiya Magajiya Dambatta.
And what a pleasant update it was. Several months ago when I read about her pitiable situation, I was greatly moved by the unfortunate state the former popular crooner found herself in. It was a chance encounter with renowned journalist Jafar Jafar (He of the Ganduje dollar videos and Emir Sanusi II Emirate council controversy) that brought her plight to the spotlight.
Apparently, after singing her heart out in praise of government policies and campaigns, in order to popularise them, with the passage of time Magajiya Dambatta had found herself in abject poverty. She had no means of support and no way to make ends meet and so she resorted to begging.
At the age of 84 and battling poor eye sight, Hajiya Magajiya was forced to go and beg on the streets, accompanied by her small granddaughter.
Singing a popular song mainly used by beggars to seek for alms, Magajiya Dambatta was busy with her song when Jafar the journalist saw her. This caring young man immediately swung into action by setting up a crowdfunding appeal and engaging in an aggressive media campaign to alert fellow Nigerians about her plight.
Our compatriots responded favourably and in no time at all the appeal fund to rehabilitate Hajiya Magajiya ran into a few millions. Jafar Jafar and some public-spirited cohorts set about building the old lady a befitting home and getting her a means of livelihood that would save her from begging.
Last week, the dreams of these good Samaritans came true when they finally handed over the house to Magajiya Dambatta in Kano State. I received this update in a WhatsApp group and was thoroughly overjoyed at what I read
therein. Like I said earlier, it lifted the gloom I felt as a result of the Borno massacre and also restored my faith in human nature.
It showed that there are still people out there who will stand for others in need, without seeking a reward or profit except the pleasure of Almighty Allah. No doubt about it, I salute the kind and sincere effort by Jafar Jafar and Co which resulted into a life-changing situation for her.
Below is the update sent out by Malam Jafar, which says more about what they did to bring succour to the Octogenarian singer Magajiya Dambatta. Please read on:
Update on Magajiya Dambatta
“We have finally completed the task of buying a plot of land, building a new house and furniture for the famous music diva, Magajiya Dambatta.
Since the beginning of the intervention in December last year, we have kept the promise of feeding her, buying clothes, and giving her allowances in order to stop her from begging. It is gladdening that she has since quit begging and her granddaughter-guide is now enrolled in school.
We have already settled Magajiya Dambatta in her new house within her preferred location, Makoda. The new house is just a stone’s throw from her family house. The 3-bedroom house is also connected with electricity supply, internal pipe-borne water supply and squatting WC. From a corner of the courtyard, a modest animal pen is sited.
On behalf of members of the team: Musa Sufi, Ibrahim Sanyi-Sanyi, Munzali Hausawa, Dr Kabir Dambatta, I sincerely thank all those who donated for this cause. Of particular note is the commitment of Musa Sufi, who shuttled regularly from Kano to Makoda to see how she was faring and the progress of the project.
Special appreciation to Mallam Hassan Gama of “Friends of the Community”, the NGO that kept the money and gave good account of it.
Our profound appreciation also goes to Arc. Bilyamin Kaila Umar who designed and supervised the project free of charge.”
May Almighty Allah reward all these people abundantly. Actions like these certainly give us hope even in the most trying times.