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This 83-year-old retiree has been sleeping under bridge for 17 years

• Yusuf
Photo: Olaleye Aluko
This 83-year-old man, Sule Yusuf, says he has been sleeping under the Oshodi
Bridge in Lagos State since 1999 after losing contact with his family.

Yusuf, who hails from Igboora, Oyo State, and claimed to have retired from the Nigerian Army, told PUNCH Metro that after he retired, he lost contact with his wife and children, but decided to stay put in Lagos.
The
octogenarian had been spared during constant raids of the area by
policemen after he explained to them that he was a retired soldier and
his family members had allegedly deserted him.
It was learnt that Yusuf, who once
worked as a security man at the Mosafejo Motor Park, was relieved of his
duty a few years ago because of old age.
The 83-year-old, after he reportedly retired from the army in 1979, had
moved to the Makoko, Yaba area of Lagos, until his rent expired and he
was asked to vacate his apartment.
It was learnt that Yusuf had been
staying in the Mosafejo Motor Park during the day, and had been sleeping
under the Oshodi Bridge. He said he last saw his wife, Beatrice, and his
two children – Morili and Jimoh – around 1999 before they relocated to
Owerri, Imo State, where his wife hailed from.
Yusuf said he wanted to be reunited with his family members and needed some financial help to live a better life.
He said, “I joined the Nigerian Army in
1967. When I left in 1979, my last place of service was at the
cantonment in Adekunle Fajuyi, Ibadan, Oyo State. I met my wife when I
served in Owerri, Imo State, and we had the two kids.
“She returned with the children to her
hometown in Owerri in 1999. I was in Makoko, Yaba, till I packed out
when I could not pay the rent. So, I moved to Oshodi. I was collecting
my pensions from the army until I lost my ID card in the park.
“I retired from the army as a staff
sergeant. I was usually given N12,000 monthly as pension. I used to sell
herbs in the motor park area. Selling herbs was my father’s handiwork.
So, I returned to it after misplacing my ID card.
“Since I got to Oshodi, I have not had
anyone personally taking care of me except God. When I stopped selling
herbs, the union executives assisted me by making me a security man in
the park.
“But since that 1999, I have been
sleeping under the bridge. I have been sleeping there for about 17
years. I need to see my family again. I need to be helped out of this
situation.
“When the taskforce policemen raided the
Oshodi area, they saw me, and I approached one of their commanders and
explained my situation to him. He said his men should leave me alone. I
do not have money to rent any house again. I want the government to help
me. I do not have any sickness. I am not taking any injection. I only
need help,” he added.
The Assistant Secretary of the Mosafejo
Motor Park, Hamzat Sanusi, said the octogenarian was allowed to stay in
the park because they saw the military ID card on him before he
misplaced it.
Sanusi added that it was the union which had been bearing the burden of Yusuf’s survival.
He said, “He used to have a military ID
card. We know him very well. But since he lost that card, he had not
been given any entitlement. He claimed to have worked as a military
officer.
“Sometimes, he drinks and smokes because
of lack of family care. Since he had served the government, we think
the government should rise to his plight.”
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