Life & Living

Tonmene, Ijaw born physically challenged Keke operator in Lagos cries out for help

Tonmene, Ijaw born physically challenged Keke operator in Lagos cries out for help

Tonmene, Ijaw born physically challenged Keke operator in Lagos cries out for help

…Calls on Sanwo-Olu, Oborevwori, Diri, others for assistance

…Says family going through agonizing economic hardship

Gift Captain Tonmene, a physically challenged tricycle (Keke) operator in Mile 12 area of Lagos state has cried out to the Executive Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Sanwolu and his Delta state counterpart, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori to save him and his household from agonizing economic hardship.

He also called on well meaning Ijaw brothers and sisters, religious bodies, corporate organizations, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) within and outside Nigeria to urgently come to his rescue in his present time of need.

Speaking with GbaramatuVoice in Lagos on Monday, the 32 years old Tonmene, married and blessed with a child, who is of Ijaw ethnic nationality and hails from Tuomo in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta state, explained that that he got crippled at the age of two under a mysterious circumstance, noting that he walked like every normal child of his age when he was a year old but got crippled to the consternation of his relations at age two while in his sleep one fateful night.

“Efforts were made by my parents to salvage the situation but all to no avail. At some point, i was taken to Sisters of Charity, a Catholic Church Charity House in Port Harcourt, River State, where  surgery was carried out on the legs without any positive result.

Tonmene, Ijaw born physically challenged Keke operator in Lagos cries out for help

Asked if he is satisfied as a Keke operator, the Ijaw born Tonmene stressed that riding to him could be likened to taking a fish out of water, insisting that he would go into business as he had earlier undergone apprenticeship on tricycle parts dealership for three years.

He further stated that he detested the act of begging for survival and that informed his decision to become Keke operator but lamented that operating a tricycle with his current physical state is laced with a lot of stress, frustration and hazards.

While he argued that he took to riding tricycle because preferable was not available, the Ijaw born Captain submitted that if given the needed financial support, he will abandon Keke for his first ‘love’ which is the sales of tricycle parts as that will be more profitable and provide him with the needed comfort.

In his words, “I believe in the dignity of labour and that is why I cannot be a beggar. I don’t have the capacity to beg and that is the reason why I want to work and feed my family. If I am given the necessary financial support needed to establish the business that I learnt (sales of tricycle parts) I will definitely leave Keke for commercial purposes and invest in that business. I am sure that I will excel and most importantly, doing the business will provide me and my family the needed comfort and take effective care of our financial demands.

“I lived in Bayelsa state for some years before I decided to come to Lagos to seek my daily bread. I like Lagos and if I am assisted, I will establish my business here in Lagos. Sanwolu is a good man. Delta state Governor, my governor is equally a good man. I know they will assist me,” he said.

Continuing, Captain pointed out that he never considered his condition a disability or allowed it to stop him from achieving his set objectives in life.  This fact, according to him, explains why he crawled without clutches to the school all through his primary and secondary school days until he was given clutches in 2010.

While he observes that the harsh economic situation was made worse by the fact that his wife is presently unemployed, Tonmene, decried situation where he has to pay one thousand three hundred naira (N1300) on daily basis as levies to different authorities and task forces in the state before he could be allowed to operate his tricycle in Lagos state. He however appreciated the Chairman, Tricycle Operators Association in the locality, whom he said gave him a waver to be paying only N1300, while other operators pay far more.

He, therefore. called on the Executive Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Sanwolu, his Delta state and Bayelsa counterpart, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori and Senator Douye Diri, respectively among other interventionist agencies and organizations to come to his assistance.

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