A hawker, who gave money to inmates in a Correctional Service vehicle in Ajah, Lagos State, has narrated how his life has changed after the gesture.
The 26-year-old, Ekuma Jeremiah Iziogo, in an interview with BBC Pidgin, recounted how he hustled to secure admission into a higher institution and he dropped out because of inability to pay fees.
Speaking about the gesture that has since earned him a widespread commendation from many Nigerians, Jeremiah said it wasn’t planned with anyone.
However, he noted the act has transformed his life completely as he now lives a good life with money in his account.
He said: “As I was giving the prisoners money, the first person I gave money said, “God bless you.” When I gave the others, they said I would make good sales.
“At first, I was moved to give them water but seeing the way the irons built around the windows, I resorted to give them from the cash I held in my hand.
“I am Ekuma Jeremiah Iziogo. I am 26 years old. I used to be a student of Ebonyi State University, faculty of law but dropped out due to lack of money.
“I didn’t think the money I gave to the prisoners will affect my market in anyway. On Sundays, I don’t go to market. I stay at home and still manage to eat.
“So, the money I gave them, I didn’t consider it would affect me because, other days, I get to save up some money.
“Even if I had given them all the money with me, I still had some money at home that I could use to feed. So like I said, I didn’t see the act affecting my business adversely.”
He added: ‘’Before coming to Lagos, I resided in Port Harcourt. There I was in different hustles. I sold cookies, chin-chin, charge, rat poison.
“There was virtually nothing I didn’t sell. Until I was able to save up some money and bought Jamb form, wrote it, passed and gained admission into the University.
“Along the way, things became even more difficult to the point that I couldn’t pay my school fees. At that point, I had to drop out of school.
“However, I vowed not to return to Port-Harcourt because some of my friends helped me with funds during my matriculation and others were already calling me a lawyer.
Thus, I felt returning back will be a shameful thing. So I decided to come to Lagos instead.
“The day I was giving the prisoners money, I was totally oblivious of the fact that I was being videoed. It was when I was done, the traffic had begun to move; at that point I was trying to move away from the road.
“Suddenly, someone called out to me while holding out his phone. He asked for my phone number and I gave him. He promised to call me later to inquire for my details. I actually thought it was a joke because I didn’t give my mind to it. I went back to selling my bottle water.
“Since the video went viral, many positive things have been happening to me. My life now is sweet. I am now living the good life, I eat very well, any type of food I like. I now have money in my account. I now sleep well.
“Before now, I used to wake up as early as 4am so I can carry blocked water from Costain to Ajah. I will sell till 11pm. By the time I’m ready to sleep, it will be 1am and I’ll have to get up at 4am. But now, I have time to rest. I am enjoying life now.
“As I dropped out of still, I didn’t think I’ll have to return back so soon. I never had any prior plans but with the money in my account currently I will have to sit down and think carefully so that I don’t squander all of it and end up back on the street once more.
“My recent act was not planned with anyone and if anyone desires to confirm if truly I dropped out of school, they can go to Ebonyi State University or they can call me and ask for my file and I will present them original copies of my documents. And if it turns out to be a lie, they can go ahead and arrest me.”