• She roamed streets in rags for seven years, residents say
From Paul Orude, Bauchi
In the past few days, Bauchi, the capital and commercial hub of Bauchi State has been agog.
A woman that regained her sanity on Sunday, July 24, after over seven years of insanity has got residents of Rafin Zurfi and environs in the state capital talking.
For seven years, she roamed the streets of Bauchi aimlessly and purposelessly. She was clearly insane. Simply known as the Sack Woman, Daily Sun was able to unravel her identity.
Although details of what led to her insanity remained unknown at the time of filing this story, investigation showed that her name is Dinatu All. She was married with two children and she is in her late 50s.
It was learnt that she ran from her matrimonial home following her mental instability and her whereabouts was a mystery to her family for years.
She resurfaced and made her abode around the Rafin Zurfi area. It was not immediately known whether her immediate family abandoned her following her insanity.
The madwoman was a well-known character whose abode was on the dual carriageway along Yelwa. She usually roamed the streets eating dirty food and drinking dirty water.
But her presence usually elicited pity, forcing many to offer her food and water. But no amount of clothing appealed to her, as she preferred to be dressed in sack, which formed a heap on her, making walking a Herculean task for her.
But since her miraculous deliverance from insanity, hundreds have been trooping to see her and hear her incredible story.
When she walked the streets as a lunatic, she was known by children and adult alike as the woman who wore sacks.The sight of Dinatu sleeping on the culvert around Benco Junction in Rafin Zurfi every day, sometimes during heavy rains, melted many hearts.
Even in the rain, with her pile of rubbish gathered in one corner in the middle of the road, Dinatu would wrap sacks around her body.
“When I saw her with the sack tied all around her body, I realise that it is only a mad person that could carry this weight everyday without feeling it,” said Ibrahim Marafa who sells meat in the area.
Most residents of the area also feared for her because the road was prone to accidents, which has claimed many lives. Most residents of Rafin Zurfi who saw her often wondered what could have led to her madness. Daily Sun learnt that many also made efforts to remove her from the street before her miraculous delivery.
“She used to sleep here every night and we usually heard her singing praises every night,” says Mr Yakubu Bawa, a man who resides in the area that Dinatu used to sleep.
Road to sanity
While she roamed the streets of Bauchi as a madwoman, one of those that had pity on her was Lillian Rabo. Lillian and her family usually gave Dinatu food.
Because of her closeness with Lillian, Dinatu moved her bag of sacks and other rubbish close to Lillian’s house.
“We noticed her presence around this place about four months ago,” Lillian said.
“Everyone, including my family, had pity on her and we used to take her to the saloon to get a haircut,” Lillian said.
Few weeks earlier, some members of the Deeper Life Bible Church had invited members of the public to their special service in Bauchi where the founder and General Superintendent, Pastor William Kumuyi was billed to minister.
Lillian and some neighbours decided to take Dinatu to the special service tagged Morning of Refreshing scheduled for Sunday July 24.
“They mounted a small billboard few metres to where the madwoman usually slept on the dual carriageway,” said Peter Masoyi who operates a saloon in the area.
“There was a day they came and they were singing and dancing and the madwoman was also singing praises and dancing. She is always a jovial and happy woman who minded her business,” said Blessing David, a student of the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi.
“From my house I used to hear her sing praises early in the morning. I think she was a devoted Christian before this madness affected her.”
Zamani Christopher Gopep teamed up with Lillian. They managed to convince the mentally challenged women to follow them to the crusade.
Gopep recalled: “When Lillian went to her place to take her, she refused initially. So we went back with myself, my son, Ayuba, Lillian and one man called Mathew. She also refused to follow us. We were on it for almost 30 minutes when Lillian told her that we were going to meet Jesus. That was how she followed us in my van.”
He said the security men stopped them from entering but that he went round and they eventually entered.
According to Lillian, after Kumuyi’s preaching, it was time for deliverance.
“As the prayer went on, one of the pastors came to her and after praying for her, asked that all the sacks on her body be removed. Then some women rushed to her and gave her clothes. After some time, she came to her senses.”
Gopep said Dinatu was shocked to see herself covered with sacks instead of clothes.
“She was asking, ‘who put these sacks on me? What happened to me?’ So we took her home. She had her bath, ate and rested.”
News of Dinatu’s transformation
The news that Dinatu, the mad woman had regained her sanity spread like wild fire.
Soon a large crowd had gathered at Lillian’s house
“I couldn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes,” said Kauna, a saloon operator who cried as soon as she saw Dinatu reclining on a mat inside the compound.
Most of the people who gathered didn’t know the identity of the madwoman. Some of her relatives also came. One of them was Grace Wilson, a nursing mother who cried profusely on sighting the woman
“She is my father’s sister. I lived with her in Muari when I was small. I left her after my primary school. I was in the secondary school when the news reached us that she had gone missing,” she said.
Dinatu who spoke with our correspondent in Hausa and Sayawa languages managed to mumbled some inaudible utterances.
She was smiling but the stress was evident all over her.
“She complained about her legs. She said her legs were hurting,” said Lillian.
Grace told the reporter: “I am happy to see her healed. I am sad at the same time. During the period she had this problem, she lost her son Monday who was sick. She didn’t know about it and soon she will get to know.”
Lillian’s house at Rafin Zurfi, where Dinatu is currently residing, has turned to a Mecca. Many have been going there to catch a glimpse of the woman.
Many are praying that she would not go back to her former condition.
“This woman has really suffered. You need to see her condition before now. Her transformation is amazing,” Mukaila Kola, a vulcaniser in the area, told the reporter.