For Muhammadu Sale, being a physically challenged person is not the end of potentials after the 27-year-old rose from being a beggar on the street to a self-employed cobbler who is able to cater for his needs.
The journey into financial freedom was accidental. Sale was always on the streets of Kano, north's largest commercial city, looking for crumbles of bread falling off good samaritans' table every day.
But Kano government led by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje's predecessor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso announced the banning of street begging, a big menace that has become part of Almajiri culture — and that was the defining turning point.
Speaking with Daily Trust, Sale, sitting on his wheelchair, said he did not find the cobbling job easy but he was forced into it after the ban was announced by the Kwankwaso government.
The 27-year-old attributed his success to commitment and doggedness, adding that the arrest of street beggars by the government put his feet on the path of financial independence.
Saleh, sitting at Sha’aban Restaurant along Zoo Road in Kano metropolis, said he makes N1500 daily with his new engagement.
I will not return to street begging
With a young apprentice helping him to buy material, collecting and dropping shoes for customers coming to the restaurant, the beggar-turned-cobbler said he is living a comfortable life.
Saleh also said he has no plan to return to begging, though his friends are still depending on almsgiving for living.
"I cannot even go near begging again and I am praying for other physically challenged persons to get something doing and stop begging."
On empowering physically challenged people like him, Saleh said he will be happy to have another boy who has a disability problem.
“If I get the opportunity to add another boy I will think of getting a physically challenged person.”
In another related story, Legit.ng reported that Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna promised to sponsor the education of a 13-year-old Almajiri boy who learned the art of shoe repair from his brother because he does not want to take to the street for begging.
In what started like a fairy-tale, a social media user, Muhd El-Bonga Ibrahim, had tweeted on Friday, June 26, 2019, that 13-year-old Usman, an Almajiri boy from Maiduguri, learnt ''how to shine and repair shoes from his brother where he earns an average of N500 a day.''