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EVEN WHEN WE GET MARRIED, WE'LL STILL OPERATE JOINT ACCOUNTS – IDENTICAL TWINS

By NBF News

'For the first time, I would say that the police and the federal government have done a wonderful job.  We thank them.' These were the words of Husseini Manji, a lanky, dark-skinned young man while describing his experience in Bauchi recently. His twin brother, Hassan, nodded in agreement.

The identical twins, born of a Christian father and a Muslim mother, were among the hundreds of people who besieged the Pensions office at the Bauchi State Police Command to collect the gratuity of their deceased police relatives.

After collecting a cheque of N1.2 million as their late mum's gratuity, they confessed that they had every reason to be happy, saying that they did not face the usual problems associated with the collection of such payments.

Huseini and Hassan lost their mother, Inspector Hafsat Ahmed Manji, to an illness in Sokoto on May 27, 2003.

Although they hailed from Demsa Local Government area of Adamawa State, Husseini said they have grown to love Sokoto State.

Dressed in yellow brocade, the duo stood out among the crowd that stormed the pensions office. Most of the people came from far away states to collect the benefits of their breadwinners who died in active service.

With smiles on their faces, Husseini and Hassan told Daily Sun of how glad they were to receive the cheque. They said the money would be handed over to their father, ASP Manyi who would decide how the money should be spent.

'When we heard the news on TV, we boarded a car and got here. We presented our introduction letter from the CP in Sokoto, death certificate and two passports photographs as next of kin and we got the cheque. It was so smooth.

'We really thank the Federal Government,' Hussein, a graduate of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto and more outspoken of the two said.  Hassan, a graduate of Business Administration from Sokoto State Polytechnic only chipped in one or two contributions throughout the interview.

'The federal government made it easy for us. People have been struggling since our mother died to collect her gratuity. This time around, they made it easier. In those days, we would go to Lagos and queue on the line for one month before getting the cheque. But this time around, there was nothing as such,' Husseini said.

On growing up as twins, Husseini said they didn't play pranks as kids. 'Growing up was nice for us.  We were brought up in Sokoto,' he said, adding that some people find it difficult to recognize them.'

Do they ever fight, you asked. The twins said they could recall fighting only once since they were born 24 years ago. 'But we occasionally disagree,' Hussein said.

The Manji twins love reading Christian literature and are best of friends. Hassan said Husseini will be the best man at his wedding which comes up soon.

They won't be getting married to twins, though. But they operate a joint account.

But marriage, they vow, will not create a wedge between them. 'The bank account will remain. We intend to have that understanding.'

So what do they hope to become in future, you ask them. 'Pastors,' said Hussein. 'Our mum was from a Muslim background and she died as a Muslim. But our father is a Christian.  It is the grace of God.  Now I have a ministry, which I call Divine.  It is a word ministry and I call it divine because everything about us is divine.  When we were growing up, I never knew what family altar was because our father was really not a strong Christian.

  But we were influenced through our friends and through the books we read.'  Hassan, who never spoke much during the interview, dispelled the view that Sokoto is an Islamic state where Christians live in fear.  He said: 'Sokoto is the most peaceful place you can ever be. The people are nice and Christians are not molested.  We have a good relationship with the Muslims.'