Four months ago, when Fatima Bayero’s fundraising campaign was aired on Bauchi State Television (BATV), Mukhtar Aliyu Betara, a lawmaker representing Borno State, decided to offset her medical bills through Ilyasu Makaye, an Abuja-based Bauchi politician, but the latter “diverted” the funds.
Fatima is a 14-year-old orphan who has been suffering from fractured legs and skin disease for the past five years.
In an interview with BATV, the young girl explained that she sustained the fractures when she was primary one, but her parents could not afford any medical treatment except for traditional form where the herbal doctors could not fix the legs.
Subsequently, Fatima lost both parents and relocated to her sister’s place in Bauchi. They would later visit Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, where they were asked to pay more than N400,000 for surgical fees.
“We cannot afford it,” she said in the video. “I am calling on the public to help me sponsor my medical bills.”
She also spoke of her dreams to become a medical doctor. “I aspire to become a medical doctor in the future and I am still hopeful of that after my legs are fixed,” she added.
After Fatima’s appeal was aired on BATV, Makaye contacted the victim’s family to inform them that Betara had decided to settle the medical bills.
The lawmaker’s intervention was confirmed in another video obtained by WikkiTimes titled ‘Betara’s Intervention‘, where the victim was interviewed and she expressed her gratitude to the lawmaker for agreeing to take care of her.
However, Fatima’s hope was short-lived after the promised funding wasn’t disbursed.
WikkiTimes spoke to a family member of the victim on condition of anonymity who said Makaye had confirmed that he had received Betara’s funding on behalf of Fatima and would deliver it to the victim’s family.
“But days became weeks and we didn’t hear from him,” he lamented. “We contacted him again after some weeks, he apologised that he will bring the money in a few weeks’ time when he comes to Bauchi because he lives in Abuja but he still refused to show up.”
When asked, the family member said they tried contacting Betara to confirm if the money was disbursed to Makaye but to no avail. His numbers were not reachable and neither did he respond to texts sent to him.
BAUCHI FIRST LADY’S TO THE RESCUE
After waiting endlessly following the drama that played out between the victim’s family and the intermediary [Makaye], the family appealed to BATV to air Fatima’s video again. Perhaps, help will come.
“After the video was aired again, a woman contacted us informing us that Bauchi State First Lady, Dr Aisha Bala Muhammad has promised to sponsor Fatima’s surgery,” Maryam Bayero, the victim’s sister and guardian told WikkiTimes on Thursday.
She further stated that Fatima’s surgery was successfully sponsored, adding the procedure had commenced at ATBU Teaching Hospital.
But Maryam still has reservations about Makaye’s act.
“Our hopes were raised and deflated after Betara’s intervention,” she told WikkiTimes. “But Alhamdulillah now that someone has shown up to rescue my sister.”
In a telephone interview with WikkiTimes, Makaye denied the allegations, saying Betara did not disburse the funds before he flew out of the country a month ago.
According to him, he had sought the intervention on behalf of Fatima and the delay shouldn’t be a reason to be suspicious. “Let them wait, Betara is not in the country at the moment,” he said repeatedly.
Efforts to reach Betara proved futile as his phone numbers could not be reached. Also, text messages sent to the lines had not been responded to at press time.