By Abdul Muttalib Muktar
Growing up in a community like our own does not avail one’s face with the chance to glow with smiles. On the contrary, due to a series of nightmares, one often thinks we live in an entirely different world.
It is not our personal choice to become drug addicts at a tender age. Despite knowing that we are a nuisance, we feel sad when referred to using derogatory terms. But what people sadly fail to understand is that we are a creation of our community. Should we be conceived and be given birth again in an entirely different society with an established family institution, where the quality of children is prioritised, we would not grow up to be a nuisance as we are today.
Some of us have already gone mad because of excessive drug abuse; many of us are in prisons awaiting trials for many offences, a lot of us are scattered across different markets and parks. We pickpocket, steal and cause trouble; some of these troubles even escalate into ethnic and religious crises. The number of us caught in the act are wounded, others lynched. We terrorise our community today by the commission of robbery, burglary, housebreaking, thuggery and phone-snatching while stabbing our victims with sharp objects.
We grew up under no umbrella of a family. Right from our toddling days, the family becomes broken. Our fathers get married again and again to new wives–these wives are scattered into different rented places. Our mothers also get married, move to new houses where they begin a new life, give birth to a new generation of children, and abandon the old generation.
We begin to fend for ourselves from the age of nine or ten. One could see us inside, smelling gutters, dirty rivers, dusty dumping grounds and abandoned buildings, scavenging for iron, copper, aluminium, brass, etc. In the course of our search for these materials, we steal properties.
Fundamentally, we do all this to buy food and clothes for ourselves. Our younger ones are seen today in the streets following suit. It is not like we have no conscience, but the substance we have been taking and the realities that define our growth, harden our psychology. So don’t be surprised that we behave with no shred of humanity today.
We could not go to school. Some of us that started have eventually dropped out and returned to the streets because our parents prefer multiplying us rather than moulding us into responsible men.
We learn to take hard substance from the collective decision of our community – an unfortunate decision of bringing us to the world in multitude and throwing us out even before our legs could firmly hold us. We commit all the horrible acts today because our community’s tradition is that you must go and fend for yourself once you have learned how to walk. We are what we are today because some of us are forced to become Almajiris outside their towns, where they end up peering at other versions of ourselves.
Sadly, the central and local authorities and a vast majority of the people derive pleasure in cursing and punishing us for our deviance. They never bother to ask questions, much less search for answers. No wonder my peers are multiplying, reaching a point of outnumbering the responsible ones in the community.
Abdul Muttalib Muktar can be reached via email@example.com.