I was known in the street by almost everyone as the guy who wore one outfit everyday because that was the only one I had.

That wasn't even my problem, my problem was that I was beaten too much by hunger, so I just wanted to eat and survive!

I knew I had nothing, but I definitely wasn't ready to die of hunger. I just wanted to survive.

Everyday, I wear my one outfit and go down different streets to do anything I could to earn money and eat.

I helped market women push their goods, laid bricks, sweep the road, etc and the pay was always very small, but I didn't mind, as long as it'd give me food to eat and survive for the next day.

Yes, I was looked down on by people because I had nothing. I lived in a small abandoned hut, and I was very okay, as long as it sheltered me.

Shop owners were always scared of me when I approached. They felt I was a mischievous person because I had nothing and I looked tattered.

The mistake I made was going to beg for food a day I was so hungry and couldn't help but beg.

I was insulted, humiliated and disgraced by these people, though a very few of them pitied me, but ended up giving me encouraging words to eat, rather than the food I begged for.

So, I left in shame and hunger and told myself I'd never beg again because of how terrible it was.


That night, I drank a lot of water and slept. It was better than stealing because I detested it so much, even though I knew nobody cared.

Another day, I helped a lady who owned a very big shop in my busy street. She came back with a whole lot of goods, so I helped her remove them from the vehicle into her shop.

After helping her, she gave me a fifty naira note, but I told her to give me bread instead. She said there was no bread of fifty naira and that all the bread lined up there were one hundred Naira and above.

I begged her to add a little amount of money to the fifty naira so that I could at least get something that'd satisfy me a little, since I hadn't eaten that day, but she got angry and chased me away with the fifty naira in my hand.

I watched as a very rich looking man drove to the shop and the same woman who refused to give me a one hundred Naira bread gave out a very huge bread of five hundred Naira to the rich man for free.

Quietly, I took the fifty naira note and walked on. I didn't go far when I heard people screaming 'thief! thief!"

I stopped and before I could turn back to see who they were screaming at, some giant looking guys had surrounded me.

I wasn't even given a single opportunity to say a word. I was beaten up mercilessly.

I looked around and saw the whole village gathering around me with anger in their eyes.

I could hear people saying "I suspected he was a thief! The way he'd be loitering around people's shops made me know he's a thief. Look at his scary looking face!"

Then I looked around and saw the woman I help to offload her goods some minutes ago. I heard her shouting "This thief, he asked me for money and I gave him o, but when I turned to attend to the driver that drove my goods to my shop, this thief took my purse containing my money and ran."

I was on the ground, pleading to be given an opportunity to talk, but I got none.

I saw my teeth on the ground because of punches, I saw my blood everywhere, I saw sticks beating me, I saw legs kicking me but I didn't see anyone who cared to ask me for the money I stole.

Few minutes later, two guys came with tyres and a gallon of fuel. Before I could say a word, they hung the tyre on my neck and one around my waist.

I screamed and tried to talk, but my mouth was blown with punches. I begged with my hands, but they paid no attention to me.

They poured the fuel on me and within a twinkling of the eye, I was set ablaze. I was burnt to ashes. I was killed for a crime I never committed, why?
Because I begged for money.

As soon as I was dead, they all left in satisfaction. The woman whom I helped to carry the goods went back to her shop and lo, her purse of money which she claimed I stole was behind her fridge.

It fell while she was busy arranging the shop and she didn't notice. So for the fact that I was jobless and I asked her for help, she had concluded I stole her money.

The funny thing was that she couldn't tell anyone that she had found her missing money, after all the whole village had already suspected I was a thief, so what was the need?

Did you notice something? The woman I helped forgot to tell the crowd that I helped her offload her goods, rather, she told them I came to beg for money.

The people forgot to ask me of the money I was accused of stealing, they burnt me to ashes because already, they had thought me to be a bad person, why? Because I was poor and unkempt.

The woman gave out a bread worth five hundred Naira for free to a rich man, but couldn't give me a hundred Naira bread because I was nothing.

I watch in silence as people frown at racial discrimination, yet within themselves, they have no atom of love for their fellow races.

I watch in silence as very dubious people condemn others through jungle justice, meanwhile, their own deeds are worst than the ones they condemned.

I watch in silence as the rich become richer while the poor become poorer.

I watch in silence as poor and unkempt people are labelled thieves and witches because they have nothing.

I watch in silence, because innocent souls have been accused wrongly and condemned severally because they have nobody to defend them.

I watch in silence as hypocrisy takes over the world, yet everybody claims to be good.

When will they stop biases and prejudices?
When will they start helping one another?
When will they end hypocrisy?
When will they end jungle justice?
When will they end general tribal discrimination?
When will they make things right?

I'm still lying dead, watching in silence.

This is a fictional story by Ima Udott

Post a Comment