A graduate Taxify driver , Tomi Waziri, who was shot by armed robbers at the Apongbo area of Lagos , recounts his experience .
Have you received support from your family and friends since you lost your vision?
Yes . My family and friends have been very supportive .
Most times, they feel that I can ’ t do things on my own .
They also think that if I am alone , I may be thinking a lot .
So they are always around to make me happy and to encourage me .
My mum is always there for me .
She is always with me so that I can be happy .
My sisters often call me on the phone , even when they are not around .
My friends have also been encouraging me , including my old classmates in primary school .
After reading my story in the newspapers, some of them got in touch with me immediately.
They called to pray for me and to encourage me .
Has any government official or agency reached out to you ?
Did any of the doctors treating you indicate that you might regain your sight ?
No, but I am aware , from the last report the doctors gave me , that my optic nerve is damaged.
Otherwise , I would have been seeing with one of my eyes.
Some people have advised us to reach out to other doctors , even if it means travelling overseas, to find out if it will be possible for me to see again .
How did you feel about your condition ?
Initially , I really felt bad .
When it occurred to me that losing my ability to see meant that I would no longer be able to do certain things I used to do , I felt there was nothing I could do about it other than to die and forget about life .
When those thoughts came, I just had to talk to myself and shake them off .
Then I felt that something can still be done , medically or spiritually , to help me to regain my vision .
This feeling stuck with me throughout my stay in hospital .
Otherwise , I would have slipped into depression.
Do you think your fiancee can still wait for you in this condition?
She has been great and supportive .
When I was in hospital she did a lot for me .
When I couldn ’ t walk to the toilet or do other things on my own , she was always there to help me .
She is still here for me .
She makes me feel that losing my sight does not mean that I can no longer live a fulfilled life .
She inspires me .
Ho w many are you in your family ?
I have two sisters and a younger brother.
Our relationship still intact –Tomi ’ s fiancée, Anuoluwapo Olayede
How long have you been dating Tomi Waziri ?
We’ ve known each other for the past 10 years.
We went our different ways and later reunited two years ago .
What happened when you learnt that he was shot by traffic robbers ?
Tomi’ s brother broke the news to me .
He called me and said that Tomi had been shot by robbers .
He was afraid that Tomi might not be able to see again .
I imagine the situation. It was terrible news for me that day.
With what has happened, do you want to continue with the relationship ?
This can ’ t end our relationship.
The relationship is still intact , I knew him before the incident and the incident cannot be a barrier to our relationship.
Despite the situation, my love for him gets stronger by the day.
I haven ’ t recovered from the shock – Tomi ’ s mother , Mrs Olufunmilola Waziri
How has the robbery attack on your son impacted your life?
The impact is negative .
It has not been easy at all.
First of all, the incident is very strange.
Tomi used to give me money to prepare food .
He bought my last birthday cake .
Now he cannot move from one point to the other , except I am there to assist him .
I have not even recovered from the shock of the attack . Sometimes , when I am
alone, I look at him and cry .
This is somebody that I always called to help me turn on the generator whenever there was power outage at home .
Now, I can ’ t ask him to do such a thing anymore .
He cannot do it unless someone trains him to do it .
This is the challenge I am facing now .
What can he do in the meantime ?
He is still receiving treatment because that thing really affected his eyes, nose and his upper jaws.
He lost two teeth in the process .
Some pellets are still lodged in his face and I am still paying his medical bills .
What about your husband?
He died three years ago .
How the incident happened – Tomi ’ s passenger , Damilola Oke
September 12 , 2019 is one day in 2019 that I won ’ t forget in a very long time .
On that day, I was attacked on Eko Bridge on my way home at about 8 pm .
“ Suddenly I saw two men walk towards the Taxify driver’ s side of the car .
They knocked on the window and told him to wind down the glass.
They didn’ t even give him the chance to do so before shooting him in the face .
The man who shot him ran away while his accomplice asked me to wind down the glass on my side .
God took control and made him leave without taking one item from me .
“ I got out of the car quickly to get help for the driver .
I started screaming loudly to attract attention .
‘ They just shot my driver , ’ I kept saying .
Sadly, nobody was willing to help , except a Good Samaritan , another Taxify driver with a rider who waited and conveyed me to a spot where a police patrol vehicle was parked .
“ Luckily the policemen had heard the gunshots and they were already running towards the scene .
They drove the Taxify driver to the hospital .
I’ ll say that God was truly with this young man .
He had lost a lot of blood , but finally made it to the hospital in two hours due to heavy traffic .
“ The driver, Tomi Waziri, is alive today because of God .
Unfortunately , he lost his eyes and two front teeth in this awful attack .
Also the impact of the shattered glass seriously affected his face .
“ Now, he can ’ t do anything without help because he cannot see .
The system has failed this 27- year – old man , who was waiting to serve his country and decided to work with Taxify in the meantime .
This is what he got for not begging for food. ”
The passenger , whose name is Oke , said that as at the last doctor ’ s appointment , Tomi was informed that there was nothing they (the doctors ) could do medically to help him to regain his sight due to a damaged optic nerve .
According to her , a retina transplant can only be considered when the optic nerve is restored .
“ In the meantime , Tomi has decided to acquire a skill from The Society for the Blind.
He will be needing the following :
- Tuition for two years at N 300 , 000 ; denture for his two front teeth at N 700 , 000 ; a laptop computer at N 140 , 000 ; a typewriter , N 10, 000 ; headphone , recorder , and memory card at N 12 , 000 .
- “ The objective is to raise N 1 , 262 , 000 for Tomi to acquire various skills , such as computer training , Braille , mobility, typing and to help him start a career in music , as well as to fixing his teeth. I can ’ t do this alone and that’ s exactly why I’ m pleading with well – meaning Nigerians to help out, ” she said .
- The Executive Programme Director at Disability Awareness and Development Initiative, Emmanuella Akinola , said her organisation , which runs a rehabilitation technology , would provide professional rehabilitation service for Tomi.
- According to her , the programme is aimed at
- providing adults who lose their sight through training on accessible technology and vocational training skills .
- She said , “For Tomi Waziri, we have donated a white mobility cane and organised a mobility orientation for him so he can move around easily.
- “ We are managing his rehabilitation programme to ensure that he continues to live productively. ”
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