Efforts to speak with him proved abortive as he obviously looked too scared and very cautious to interact with strangers. Our reporter approached a trader Abdullahi (not real name)very close to the bridge, who by chance understands English and Hausa languages. After about an hour, finally the boy agreed to speak.
Speaking in Hausa, he gave his name as simply as Habib. He explained that he had stopped granting interviews to people. According to him, a lot of people have taken his pictures for different purposes.
He said: My name is Habib. Please i beg you, don’t take my pictures. I beg in the name of God. Many people have used my pictures for different things. Some people even use it to make money outside the country.
Asked how the ailment started, Habib said he was very young when it started. It enlarges as he grew older. “I just don’t know. This thing just started growing. My parents are in Sokoto. I just somehow found my way to Lagos with my brother from our state. He too is just hustling on the street.
Infact, i am the one that normally feed him and one other brother, from whatever people give me on the streets”, he lamented.
He also said he had been to hospitals in Sokoto, when he was younger, but his parents could not afford to pay his bills.“Yes, i have been to the hospital, but we do not have money to settle the bills”.
He continued: “Sometime ago, a convoy on the way to the airport stopped, and a woman alighted from one of the cars. She told me she was a pilot and would like to assist me. She took my pictures, she asked me questions and gave me some money promising to return to see me.
“After sometime, she returned and told me she spoke with former governor of Lagos State, Raji Fasola. She said the governor felt pity and they promised to invite my parents and get them a house, but I haven’t seen her since then”.
On the other hand, Abdullahi, who interpreted, said he had known Habib for some years now. He lamented that despite the fact that the boy begs just at the nose of Nigeria’s foremost hospital, Nigerians still neglect him.
He said: “This boy is not up to 15 years. I have known him for some years now. I pity him alot because he carries the hand on his head. It’s so sad, but there is nothing i can do. Imagine, this is the General hospital. People should help this boy”.
Habib is mostly around the General Hospital at Ikeja in Lagos, and pleads with the general public to come to his aid.