By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Esther Onyegbula,
LAGOS—A suspected drug addict arrested by the Lagos State Command of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, has disclosed that he made over N300,000 monthly from begging in Ikeja.
Kehinde Olatubosun, 56, from Ibadan, Oyo State, was arrested along with 18 other drug addicts at a joint in Ipodo, Ikeja.
A decoy team of RRS officers, last Friday, traced a stolen phone to the joint, leading to the arrest of 17 suspects: a mobile phone thief, three drug peddlers and 13 drug addicts.
Olatubosun said he made over N10,000 daily begging at Mobolaji Bank Anthony Roundabout, beside Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Toyin Street and Opebi, all in Ikeja.
He said: “Every day, I make over N10,000 doing corporate begging. All days of the week, I am always in Mobolaji Bank Anthony Roundabout, Toyin Street Roundabout and Opebi.
“At times, I collaborate with other beggars. Whatever we make, we share. But I get a larger share.
“What I do is that I get LASUTH drug prescription papers from their waste bin. With this in my hand, I convince motorists, passengers and passers-by that I have a relative who is in need of money to buy drugs and I show them the prescription papers.
“This is what I have been doing since I was deported from Germany in 2004. Before the deportation, I was working as Electrical Engineer in Bauhusa, Cologne, Germany. I was in Germany for 12 years before I was deported.
“I was in possession of drugs when I was arrested in Germany, so they deported me. I have four children. Two are in Germany with my wife. One is in Texas in the United States and another in Nigeria. Unfortunately, all the money I make from this begging goes into drugs.
“I am always there, seven days a week. I make more money on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I make more than N10,000 on weekends.
“As I speak with you, I am not on drugs, but I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms. That is the effect of not taking drugs for some time. I was at Ipodo drug joint, Ikeja, when I was arrested. I was on drugs.
“I have never been arrested for any offence before. I am praying that RRS releases me. I promise I will not go back to drugs again. Where I live presently was given to me by my in-law.”
Drugs cost me my family—AJAYI
Meanwhile, another drug addict, who was arrested at the same drug joint with Olatunbosun and several others, has said that drug addiction destroyed his life. Dada Ajayi, 48, noted that his hopeless condition was as a result of his drug addiction.
Ajayi emphasized that for more than 17 years he was hooked on drug, adding “I am trying to get over it now. Drugs have been the cause of my stagnation in life. I frequent that joint because I have nowhere to go. I have lived the better part of my life consuming drugs.
“As I speak with you, the remains of my wife is in Ikeja mortuary. She was taken to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. I was asked to bring N150,000 for surgery but I did not have N50,000 on me then. She died in the process.
“Right now, I have lost my family because of my drug addiction. I do not know where to start my life again. I cannot stop going to that drug joint because it is the only place where I get consolation.
“It is the only place I am at peace with myself. If anybody wants to help us, they should arrest the drug barons or dealers. Arresting us will not solve drug problem because without the sellers there will not be the takers.
“When you arrest the dealers, I mean the merchants, then you have cut the supply and thus saved us from getting drugs. Without that, we will always find our way there whenever we are released.”