By Wole Mosadomi, Minna
It may sound unbelievable but it is real.Â While millions of people, especially women are praying against being infected with the deadly disease like cancer, two women saw nothing bad in spelling doom for themselves to the extent of exposing themselves to the world and for the sake of money.
This is a story of the women, who pretended to be afflicted with a deadly cancer of the breast and were parading the length and breath of the city of Minna, soliciting for alms to cure themselves.
The duo in order to draw the attention and sympathy of members of the public, went as far as disfiguring their breasts with bandages, cotton wool, engine oil, tooth paste and gum. They plastered the materials onÂ their breasts to make it look as being ruptured as a result of the cancer.
In order to paint a very pathetic picture,Â they engaged four teenagers and dragged them along as their biological children to be fed and taken care of as they move from one street to the other in Minna, begging for alms..Â TheirÂ plan was perfected and it worked as sympathizers could not do otherwise than to help them with different gifts.
While some gave them cash, many others gave them other useful items including foodstuffs and other household materials.
Nemesis however caught up with them few days after they stormed Minna as people started suspecting their claims.Â Â Â The question agitating the minds of people was why cancer infested patients should be looking so robust and with a burbling energy to be moving from house to house on the streets of Minna, on a daily basis.
What finally broke the camelâ€™s back was the discovery that the two â€œpatientsâ€ and their four â€œfollowersâ€ have been residing in a luxurious hotel along Tunga area in Minna, the state capital for days.
The alarm eventually blew open.Â Â Proper investigations were carried out by members of the public, some either out of sympathy or those committed towards unraveling the mystery.Â Â The outcome of their findings was a confirmation that they were fake cancer infected patients.
In a jiffy, the enraged members of the public stormed their hotel room with Policemen and they were whisked away for interrogation.Â Â Police sources said they have made useful statements to the police.
In an interview with Crime Guard, one of the fake patients believed to be the leader of the gang, Ngozi John confessed that nothing was wrong with her two breasts.Â Â Ngozi, a middle-aged house wife claimed that her husband who is a carpenter fell from a skyscraper while carrying out his legitimate duty and was crippled.
She said they took the husband from one hospital to the other and even sought the assistance of local bone setters but it did not work out. Ngozi said because of lack of money, she had to devise a way of livelihood, hence the resort to stigmatizing herself as a cancer- infected patient.
According to her, â€œpoverty led me into this and I regret finding myself in this mess.â€
The other fake patient, Chioma Ibe who is a youth said she lost her father at infancy and that since then, nobody was taking care of her. In order to make ends meet, she said she resorted to selling groundnut in Onitsha.
While she was hawking, she said she stumbled on a woman engaged in the trade i.e. living as a fake cancer patient and raking in money on daily basis.Â Â Â According to her, â€œI learnt the trick from her, studied how she was disfiguring her breast and exposing it to the public just to rake in money and after getting the trick very well, I decided to travel out of the town to a different environment to start the trade and that is how I found myself in Minnaâ€.
Crime Guard reliably gathered that within few days into the trade, they have raked in over N50,000 into their coffers.
Niger state police command spokesman, ASP Richard Uguche told our correspondent that the two â€œpatientsâ€ have made useful statements to the police and that they will be charged to court very soon.