“I am always happy anytime I read in the news that traffic robbers have been caught, because I don’t want anybody to experience what I went through”.
These were the words of Mr Waziri Oluwatomi Ami, the former Uber driver who lost his sight duringa traffic robbery incident while at work about three years ago.
He also called on the government to do something about the state of insecurity in the state.
The 30-year old father of one was caught in traffic at the notorious Apogbon area where two young guys accosted him and demanded to for his phones, money and other belongings, while conveying a customer to the Mainland.
Despite his willingness to part with his belongings, one of the armed robbers shot him through the car glass with his locally made gun which shattered pellets into his eyes, face and brain. He lost his sight as a result and later on attempted suicide due to depression.
Waziri, who now reside in Ikorodu, in an interview with THE IMPACT, also pleaded with the government at the local, state and federal levels to make social and welfare packages available for persons with disabilities.
“I didn’t hear anything about them (the robbers that shot him) till today. I don’t know if any investigation was carried out. I could remember that one of the policemen said that those boys have been operating in that area for a long time and that they are cultists”, he said.
“In fact, till today, I still hear that they are still robbing at that spot. I am pleading with the government to do something about the state of insecurity. Not just that place, we get news every day that people are being robbed in the traffic.
“I am always happy anytime I read in the news and hear that traffic robbers have been caught, because I don’t want anybody to experience what I went through. So, to my knowledge, those that robbed me have not been caught”, Waziri said.
In his appeal on behalf of persons with disabilities, Waziri, who is a blind illuminator, counselor, inspirational speaker, writer, ambassador of love and kindness and founder, Tomi Waziri Foundation, charged government at all levels, especially those that would be elected in the 2023 general elections, to provide social and welfare packages for persons with disabilities.
“Well, thank God that we are even in the election season. I would say that any government that is going to come at the local, state and federal levels, should ensure that they have social packages for persons with disabilities like we have in other countries”, he said.
“These social packages are gotten from taxes paid to the government and given to people with disabilities and others that are in need. That is one thing that is lacking in this country. We need support that would encourage us to just keep going.
“They should see to how they can make welfare/social packages available to us. There are NGOs that can work with the government. Giving us N50, 000 or N100, 000 monthly is not much, because how many of us are in the country. It is not easy to be a person with disabilities, especially in Nigeria. Food stuffs are very expensive because my wife complains all the time”, he said.
Waziri, who is expecting his second child, also expressed his displeasure over the treatment of persons with disabilities when it comes to employment.
“Secondly, we don’t like to be sidelined; we have persons with disabilities who can do jobs. In this part of the world, people are always skeptical about you (people living with disabilities) if you go for a job”, he said while expressing his displeasure.
“I have heard several stories from blind people like me, many of whom have been way blind before my own case. We have people that can do any job, but because they are blind, people are always skeptical and at the end, we won’t get the job.
“We want government to assist us in ensuring that we are giving considerations as along as the applicant can do the job. Why not give him the job? People with disabilities should not be treated as the worst or second-class citizens.
“We should be treated as first-class citizenry; with preference like it is done in banks. I am pleading with the current President, though, I know that there is a lot going on, but whoever that is coming as the next President, I am pleading that he should make persons with disabilities one of his priorities”, he said.
Other experiences of Waziri as a blind illuminator, counselor, inspirational speaker, writer, ambassador of love and kindness and founder, Tomi Waziri Foundation, are in the full interview (both video and written) coming soon.
Mr Waziri can be reach and follow on his social media handles: Twitter: @tom_waziri, Instagram: @tom_waziri and Facebook: Tomi Waziri.