Oyo-born scavenger, Azeez Ismail, nicknamed Alfa Jakujaku, has narrated his journey as a scavenger and how he has made fortunes from the business, marrying nine wives and raising thirty-five children with the job.
The fifty year old Ismail said he developed passion for the business many years ago despite his parents push and wish for him to get educated.
Speaking with Punch newspaper on what led him to the scavenging business, he said, “Growing up, my parents wanted me to go to school but I decided to attend an Arabic school instead; the school is called Alawosan in Oyo. I obtained a certificate as an Arabic scholar. I am an alfa, so I can also have my own Arabic school.
“I thought of what business to do apart from being an alfa. I went to the North hoping to find a good business over there; I spent two years in the North but there was nothing interesting I could do over there. I started missing home, missing my parents and I decided to pay them a visit in Oyo, where I was before I left for the North.
“My mum told me she had gone to different soothsayers to ask them what my future would look like. She narrated that they told her I would be travelling to different places. She however advised me not to choose a distant location to settle down for business. I started thinking again about the kind of business I could do. In the course of thinking, I met some people picking metal scraps.
“I was curious; so, I made enquiries from them about how they ran the business. They explained that they sold the metal scraps to some Hausa people in the neighbourhood. So I joined them.
“After two weeks of starting that business, my father, as a wealthy man, frowned on my decision; he told me the job was not meant for responsible people; he added that most of the people doing the job were orphans who had no one to look after them. He said he would give me one of his cars, so I could do whatever I wished with it. He told me in strong terms not to go into metal scraps business”, he added.
Describing how he got dubbed “Alfa jakujaku”, he noted that he started his metal scraps business little by little in Iseyin and because he picked metal scraps; people saw it as a dirty job and started calling him Alfa Jakujaku.
Ismail said although the name sometimes make him feel irritated, he is used it.
Recounting his challenges, he narrated, “My parents were one of the reasons I ventured into the business. They wanted me to have a formal education, since they already had an idea of what my future held; I had to stay in a place not too far from Oyo. I started making money at a point, which made me stick to the job.
“People tagged me a madman, thief and kidnapper because of the way I look, with my sack always hung around my neck. I was beaten several times.
“I used to drive a small truck but it was seized by people who thought I was a thief. In addition, so many women turned me down”, he added.
When asked if he would allow any of his children to be a metal scrapper like him, he said, “My children already love the job; the grown-ups among them are already selling metal scraps. If any of my children refuses to do this job, definitely he or she doesn’t have an idea of the kind of money I am making from the business”.