An 83 year-old retired soldier, Pa Sule Yusuf, who sleeps under the bridge for 17 years in Lagos has rejected the offer of relocation to his country home, Igboora, Oyo State. The Igboora Progress Union (IPU), the umbrella association of Igboora indigenes told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Tuesday.
NAN reports that the news of Yusuf’s 17 years sojourn under the bridge was widely reported in the media on January 6, which necessitated the intervention of his community.
Yusuf, was said to have been sleeping under the Oshodi Bridge in Lagos since 1999 after he allegedly lost contact with his family. He claimed to have retired from the Nigerian Army, and lost contact with his wife and children, but decided to stay in Lagos.
The man was reported to have been spared severally during constant raid of the area by policemen due to his identity as a retired soldier.
Mr Akinyemi Akinlabi, who spoke on behalf of IPU told newsmen that the news was “shocking and pathetic’’. Akinlabi, a former Caretaker Chairman of Ibarapa Central Local Government said that the IPU, under the leadership of Justice John Ige (rtd) swung into action after reading the publication. Akinlabi said that the union promptly directed two of their members, Mr Wole Ogunsola and Mr Muyideen Salami to visit the man and which they did at exactly 11.00 am same day the news was published.
Ogunsola and Salami confirmed to NAN that Yusuf told them he was from Ile-Ekerin, Isale-Oba in Igboora, the same compound, where Ogunsola hailed from.
Akinlabi said that the union had met with the family of Yusuf, to find solution to the problem. The family members said the man was not abandoned by the family but had from childhood cultivated the attitude of living under the bridge. A member of the family who declined anonymity said “ Yusuf has a room and parlour in his family house in Igboora, which he locked up and use anytime he comes to Igboora.
“He was in Igboora two years ago for the burial of his elder sister.’’ “He has declined several attempt to relocate him to Ejigbo by his younger sister, Amudat, who lived in Ejigbo. When also contacted, Amudat said that she visited him regularly at Oshodi and also took him to Ago-Iwoye to remove cataract from his eyes less than two years ago.
Meanwhile, the IPU has commended the media for unravelling the ordeal of the old man, which necessitated the union’s actions. The union assured it would do everything humanly possible to relocate the man to Igboora.