By Jaafar Jaafar
A 12-year-old shoeshine boy, Ibrahim Bukar, who traversed the city of Maiduguri to clean shoes for pittance, is now outshining pupils at Future Hope Private School in London Chiki area of the metropolis – courtesy of a good Samaritan.
The city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, is bouncing back to life from the ruins of Boko Haram insurgency, which left tens of thousands of people dead.
Clattering the metal handle of a wooden box in his hand to attract customers, a basket full of implements and other bits and pieces wedged askew on his head, Master Bukar trudged from his base to the far away city center every day.
A few weeks ago, a good Samaritan, Ibrahim Yusuf, met the preteen wandering in the city in search of customers and asked him questions about his life.
Master Bukar said he was the breadwinner of the family as he gives his daily earnings to them. Sympathetic to his situation, Mr Yusuf asked the boy to take him to his father.
“The boy took us to their house in London Chiki, but unfortunately the father was not at home. We were told the father is a trader around Custom area, so we decided to go and see him in his place of business,” Mr Yusuf, told DAILY NIGERIAN.
“On reaching there, the father was not around also, but his goods were there on display and his business neighbours told us he went away, but will be back soon. We waited, and while waiting for him, I got to understand why he could not send his boy to school.
“We waited for about 45 minutes, and throughout the time, nobody came to buy the beans and the millet he was selling. When he eventually came back, we greeted him and informed him about our mission there.
“The man almost burst into tears, he told us that he had wanted his children to go to school, but unfortunately he can’t afford to. He told us that before the insurgency became worse, he had sent the boy to Almajiri school in Dikwa, but when boko Haram took over the place, the boy escaped and came back to Maiduguri”.
Mr Yusuf said he had no option but to enroll the boy in a private school since there is no public school within trekking distance to his house.
“With the support of a philanthropist and my little effort, Ibrahim is now in Future Hope private school in London Chiki area of Maiduguri, and so far he is doing very well. I visited the school today (Friday) to see for myself how he is doing.
“His teacher informed me that Ibrahim is already performing beyond expectations. She told me that he said he wanted to be the best student in the class, and every evening receives extra lessons from one boy in his neighbourhood. Ibrahim can now recite the English alphabets from A to Z, just within one week. His is outshining his classmates,” Mr Yusuf said.
The head teacher said Master Bukar would be getting accelerated promotion every year according to his level of comprehension and receiving crash lessons to make up the skipped classes.