Sariyu Akanmu, a 70-year-old fufu seller, who was brutalised in Osogbo, Osun State, by the police during #RevolutionNow protest, has started receiving help from the public.
Mrs Akanmu also called for the release of Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, who initiated the protest but was arrested by State Security Service.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the woman vowed to support more protests to express her displeasure over the poor state of Nigeria.
“I heard the protesters talking about suffering in Nigeria and particularly unemployment. I have kids who are yet to secure jobs many years after graduation. I became moved by their demands,” she said in Yoruba then.
“I have nothing to lose at 70,” she added.
Following PREMIUM TIMES report and efforts by some students of Obafemi Awolowo University to upload the poor condition of Mrs Sariyu online, she is now getting help.
Fatokun Matthew, a final year student, has led the process. He led groups of Obafemi Awolowo University students to Osogbo to visit Mrs Sariyu.
He told PREMIUM TIMES: “The story has caught the attention of many good-hearted Nigerians who have assisted Iya Onifufu in many ways while we await more to come to her aid. The journey started with a visit to her location in Oshogbo in the early hours of Monday. While she received us in high spirit, we met her apartment in the most shocking and unimaginable condition.
“From the poor ventilation to the bed-less state and bare floor, from the darkened asbestos to the faded wall and the disordered clothings. It was not a pleasant sight to behold.”
He adds: “However, things have taken a progressive turn within few days of intervention with the first being a creation of a bank account for Mama for the sake of public donations.”
He said for the sake of public accountability, two persons were attached to the account: Babasola, a female journalist from NUJ correspondence chapel in Oshogbo (the location where Mama was beaten) and Mr Afolabi, Take-it-back movement coordinator, Osun.
“While the donations are aimed at settling Mama’s basic and immediate needs, there is a broader view to address Mama’s accommodation issue and set up an enterprise to sustain her for the rest of her life,” he said.
He said a group got her bed, carpets and foodstuff.
“Also, a RevolutionNow member has donated bed, stove, pots, utensils, cloth and lamp among many other things- as well as paying for the painting of her room.
“Another RevolutionNow member has equally paid for the purchase of a bed frame for Mama to improve her convienence of sleeping while dozens of support are still tripping in,” he added.
He said at of the moment, “Mama’s room has been upgraded and it’s near close to a manageably habitable one but not one that can provide the comfort and convienence that comes with quality accommodation”.
“Presently mama now has a bed with a fairly upgraded room and wardrobe. We do hope that the coming week would bring more progress and developments,” he added.
Elated but determined
Speaking via telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mrs Sariyu expressed her satisfaction.
“I’m most happy for the help I got from the public after opening of the bank account,” she said. “The major problem I have now is that our leader, Sowore is still in detention. I want them to release Sowore to us. He was fighting for us. I want them to release others in prison.”
Mrs Sariyu also reaffirmed her commitment to join subsequent protests.
“I’ve got help from many persons. I don’t know the name of the organisations. They are too many. When we receive one today, others come again to show help. All I can say is to say thank you to all Nigerians,” she said in Yoruba.