A visually impaired newspaper vendor, Mr Hakeem Olukerede, has lamented his growing woes in the hands of his customers whom he accused of cheating.
He, therefore, appealed to corporate organisations and philanthropists for financial assistance to treat Glaucoma.
The 50-year-old vendor, who operates around Gowon Estate, Egbeda, Lagos State, said on Friday that the assistance would help him to get treatment and return to his furniture business.
“I don’t like the newspaper business because the stress is too much for me with my condition.
“But I don’t have any option for now and I don’t want to sit at home because if I sit at home, I will be full of worries.
“Actually, this is not my business. I’m a furniture man. I learnt furniture making and I attended the Government Technical School in.
Ikotun, Alimosho Local Government Area,’’ he told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Olukerede said he completed his technical education in 1989 and had since then been doing the furniture business until he started having problems with his sight.
The father of three told NAN that his sight problem started gradually, and became severe four years ago.
According to him, it was later diagnosed as Glaucoma.
“When the eye problem continued, I said to myself that I should not stay idle and that I must look for something else to do.
“So, I met one of my people and he suggested that I manage newspaper vending. I accepted since half-bread is better than none,” he said.
Asked how he manages to identify which particular newspaper a customer wants, Olukerede said: “I have a way of arranging different newspapers from the point of collection such that it makes it easy for me to identify the exact one a customer wants.
“I arrange them starting from the Sun, Punch, Sporting life, Vanguard newspapers and others will follow.”
On his challenges with transactions, he said, that at times, when a customer paid him for a copy, he would ask the customer the amount he had given to him.
“Sometimes, they will give me N100 and will say the amount is N500 or N1, 000. I have a way in which I arrange different denominations in my pockets.
“So, when I get home, I give my children the money to help me count what I have made for the day because I cannot differentiate between N1, 000 and N500.
“This is also to find out whether I have been cheated or not, in most cases, I am cheated, most times I come back home with just N400.
“At times, people will give me N100 and they will collect the balance. But I don’t think about that. I know they are cheating themselves,” the vendor said.
Olukerede appealed that people should help him so that he would look for something else to do.
“I have children, I have so many things that I’m supposed to be doing. If I’m doing my furniture work, I know what I gain than this one,” said Olukerede.
The vendor said a particular vehicle usually carried him from Aiyetoro to Iyana Ipaja, where he collects newspapers on daily basis.
He also told NAN that sometimes when the vehicle does not show up, his wife who hawks at Iyana Ipaja market would walk him to the bus stop to board a commercial bus.
“At Iyana Ipaja, I have somebody that will bring the papers to me. So, from there some people will now assist me. I have some drivers that know me too.
“Immediately they see me, they will take me to Olanade junction. From there, I will now be coming to Gowon Estate.
“If I want to cross the road, I will say my brother please, I want to cross the road and someone will assist me,” he said.