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How she lost her twin kids to recession.

Forget about the recession and the alleged exit from it. Forget about the attendant hardship we are going through at the moment. Forget about the biting effect. In spite of everything, Nigerians still have the milk of human kindness!

Stealing from student

This is the conclusion you are bound to reach as you read about Mrs. Faren Awe who was caught recently stealing some food items belonging to Miss Comfort Kyange, a part two NCE student of Department of Agric/Econs, College of Agriculture, Lafia, in Nasarawa State. 

The 33-year-old woman from Umaisha village in Toto Local Government Area of the state was so hungry that she did what she had never done before, what she never imagined she would ever do in her lifetime: stealing.

She stole some food items belonging to a student who herself is dependent on parents, guardians, friends and other benefactors. But the young lady with a heart of gold, seemed to come from another planet other than our famished earth. Rather than beat her to death or engineer her lynching by an enraged crowd as some Nigerians under the present biting economic hardship would have done, she surprised the poor, hungry, thieving woman by giving her more foodstuffs out of the little she had to live on. In a chat with Saturday Sun, she admitted doing the unexpected after listening to the woman’s pathetic story.

Her story

In her own account, Mrs. Awe told the story of how she sold a phone she bought at a huge amount, at a giveaway price of N2000. With the amount, she was able to raise the transport fare to Lafia where she is staying at the moment with a friend in Angwan Tashi area of the town.

Initially, on her arrival, she took to begging to sustain herself and her child. But it was when that seemed not to be bringing in much that she was tempted beyond her ability to endure hardship. In a chat with Saturday Sun, she recalled what happened. “I was passing by when I saw that the door leading to her room was open. I first knocked but there was no response. I drew the curtain aside and saw some yams and other food items. I decided to take some. But on my way out, I met her at the door coming in with a bottle of kerosene. That was how I was caught. I am very sorry about everything. It was hunger that led me into stealing.”

Milk of kindness

Rather than descend on her out of anger, Miss Kyange surprised her by giving her more than she had stolen. In addition to the half piece of yam, she gave her three more yams, two cups of rice and five cups of garri and a token of N1000. Not only that. She pleaded with the vigilance group to allow her to go in peace.

“I was surprised at her manner when I saw her coming out of my room,” she said while trying to explain her unexpected benevolence. “She was calm and coherent in her response to me when she said that she is not a thief. She had this cheerful look about her. She had her baby strapped to her back that day. Not knowing what she had been through and still going through, I told my friends that this woman has a mental problem but you will not know because she speaks well. But on a second thought I discovered that she didn’t really look it. It was not until I listened to her story that I became devastated. Her story is real and pathetic.”

How she lost her twin kids

The story that Miss Kyange is talking about is how Mrs. Awe lost her twin babies to sickness owing to poverty that hit her family as a result of the recession and how she tried to make ends meet thereafter in order to save her only surviving child from going the way of her departed siblings. That was the story that broke the young student’s heart. And, you had better watch it as you read because it is likely going to break yours too.

Faren Awe married to Sunday Audu Awe, 35, from Gadu village of the same Toro area was blessed with three children: twin boys and a girl. The couple named the twins, aged 5, Matthew and John, while they christened their only daughter, 2, Mary. Both did not have any formal education and, were, by occupation, peasant farmers whose only source of livelihood is farming.

But the frequent herdsmen/farmers crisis which yearly disrupt farming in the area especially during rainy season put the entire family in a terrible situation that made it a heavy burden catering for everybody. Frustrated, her husband decided to relocate to Abuja in search of greener pasture.

He left with the hope that if things got better he would come home and move his family to wherever he was able to find fortune. But things didn’t turn out the way he had planned. Since he left village for Abuja sometime in February 2017, his wife reports that he had only visited home twice as things appeared not to be working out the way he had originally hoped.

Sometimes in July this year, the twins suddenly fell ill and died within one week. According to the woman, they died from severe attacks of diarrhea and headache. During that period, all efforts made to reach their father who she learnt had moved to Lokoja alongside other labourers to work at a newly opened construction site proved abortive. She attributed this to poor network service. Because there was no money with which to buy food, not to talk of taking the ailing kids to the hospital, she resorted to herbal medication.

Poor woman

In the process, she lost them to the cold hands of untimely death. She reports that they died on Saturday, July 3 2017 and were buried on July 16 after their bodies had begun to decompose. Again, every attempt to reach their father failed. This was the story that Mrs. Awe who relocated to Lafia in search of means of survival for her and her surviving daughter told Miss Kyange and the traditional head of the area Alhaji Sulieman Abubakar, in the presence of the vigilance group who invited her.

“We are facing hunger,” she said amid tears, “no menial job for my husband to do, no money to sponsor our only daughter to school. Having lost my two children to poverty, my condition is terrible.”

On how they died, she said they fell ill as a result of lack of clean drinking water. Initially, she applied palm oil as directed by some villagers but the sickness persisted. “Unfortunately, I ran out of money,” she sighed. “I had nothing on me to buy medicine. To make matters worse, my husband was not around to do the running around for cash. I became afraid that the little girl may also be affected and I started looking for people to help me. Believing that herbs could cure them, my husband’s father asked me to apply them continuously on them, which I did. There was nobody to take them to clinic. After a whole day, they went into a coma since they were not eating anything. The few villagers who came around believed that they would get well. But I eventually lost them. One died in the afternoon while second died the in the night of the same day. Since then we’ve been managing. 

My baby is not eating well. Sometimes, we go hungry for days. Sometimes we don’t have money to buy food and the baby doesn’t get enough food.  She is about two years and I feed her only when money is available.”

Taking her story a step further, she narrated how her husband had called a week after the burial of the kids to say that he was in Kogi trying to get a job at a building site. He added that the reason he had not called all the while was that, in the first place, he lost his phone while on his way to Lokoja, and secondly, he fell seriously ill afterward and was just recovering and would like to continue with the job at the construction site.

She confessed to not informing him about the death of his kids for fear that telling him the sad news might worsen his health situation. So, when the husband asked how they were doing, she answered that they were okay. He said that in the absence of his own phone he used his co-worker’s phone to call his wife. According to her, the husband ended the call by promising that he would be home by the first or second week of October to put his children in school.

“I met my husband in 2006 during a political rally in my village and we continued from there until we got married in December of the same year and when I gave birth to the twins, it was a thing of joy,” she said. “We were able to make do with proceeds from our farm produce until the herdsmen came and destroyed our farms.”

She believes that it was poverty occasioned by the recession that made her lose her twins, adding that her major problem now is how to break the sad news to her husband who had promised to come home to put them in school.

“The last time he called to ask after them and how we are managing the hardship, I told him it is difficult but we are managing. Then we had just buried them. I didn’t break the news to him because he sounded very worried. Moreover, he said he was not feeling fine.”


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