Today is January 19, 2020 the 21st Anniversary of my limbloss.
Yes, this is my 21 years as a person with disability.
I thank God for His mercies, that am alive today is God’s uncommon miracle. Everyday, I see more reasons to say thank you Jesus Christ. That day, January 19, 1999, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, while I was praying and begging God to help me, the rebels were angry with me. The called for fuel, which they poured on me and set me on fire. The blood was gushing from my two hands, while the cloth I was putting on was on fire.
Praise God that He heard my cry for help, He helped me. Suddenly, the commander of the rebels came to the scene and commanded them to put off the fire, which they did. He requested me to go and show my condition to the Nigeria government with their message that they should stop attacking them in the name of ECOMOG and that Freetown is for Sierra Leonians not for Nigerians.
With divine strength, I was able to leave the rebel held area to the government side where our soldiers were in charge. That’s around Ferry roundabout in Freetown. It was at this point that I met the UN officials and ECOMOG soldiers that rescued me to Coughnut Hospital, Freetown. I was given first aid before I was moved to ECOMOG Hospital, and thereafter I was evacuated to the Nigeria Army Reference Hospital, Yaba, Lagos by the Nigeria Airforce.
I would like to use this opportunity, once again to say thank God for all the people used, and are still being used to lead me this far, because I am a work in progress. Memuna, Fatmata, Uncle Emma and Uloma, Gen. Jonathan Aremu, Gen. Sam Njoku and all those that allow God to use them to lead me this far. You know yourself, from sis. Titi Adebayo to friend and family members. God bless you all really good. Amen.
Disability is not good at all.
Today, I would like to share some of the lessons I have learnt as a person with disability in Nigeria.
It is bad to be an Igboman and have a disability, especially if you are from Abia State. The habitants or the government and people of Abia State discriminates, isolates, marginalize and treat people with disabilities with disdain. The demonic inflected among them would be looking at you as an object for rituals. The governments of this area are insensitive to the conditions of persons with disabilities. Things like rehabilitation and legal protection for persons with disabilities as provided by States likes Jigawa, Bauchi, Kano, Ekiti, Ondo, Lagos, Kwara, Anambra and Nasarawa States, even Kogi State are strange to them. However, you see some of their policy makers on Sundays or Saturdays as the case be, sitting in front rows of the Church to read Bible and offer thanksgiving to their gods in appreciation for using them to oppressed the poor. It is sad.
That was why in the year 2000, when their oppressive conducts became unbearable to me while in Aba, Abia State I had to run to Lagos, even though I was clueless of where I was going to lay my head. Lagos is a better place to reside as a person with disability in Southern Nigeria.
Another lesson I learnt in the cause of my so journey as person with disability is that it is easy for poor people to support you than the rich. However, when you get a breakthrough with one single rich person, your situation if properly managed, would change for life. So, I was begging for help to procure artificial hands, those that could give me the prosthesis without stress were not interested. Those in government that could ordinarily use State vote to support me were not interested, instead, they were busy looting the money to help themselves and their friends. Guess what they were using the money for? Charter aircraft to funny places, offering car gift to those that were not interested, and sometime, pay for suits in big hotels for their friends, even when no one was in it. One of them once told me that I have no economic value, therefore, it would be very difficult to get support for me. But today, how market?
It is not true that all those that are sympathetic with your condition truly care for you. So, by reason of your condition, they see you in public places, you see them showing before the public that they love or care for you. Just wait, the moment they see you making progress, you will notice this subtle attitude like, oh you think you have arrived, suddenly they activate and put on their garment of stigma, discrimination and isolation. When I noticed this attitude from some people, I was shocked. The question I asked myself was, does it mean that these people want me to remained a perpetual dependent on others to live. It is not my portion, I prayed God to help me.
Oh, I didn’t tell you about those that craved for worship from you. Imagine, seeking for worship from an activist so as to to get support for rehabilitation? I will wait patiently for your tenure to come to an end. Inu kwa?
On my part, I resolved to continue to praise God at all time for His mercies continued in my life, for my God is a great God, a great King, above all gods.
The RUF rebels of Sierra Leone chopped off my hands in Freetown, Sierra Leone because of my identity as a Nigerian. The Nigeria government was sponsoring ECOMOG Peace Keeping Operations in that country which hindered RUF rebels from toppling the then government of President Tijan Kabbah. That was the reason for the xenophobic attack on Nigerians in that country.
Thank you Lord for I am alive today to witness this 21st anniversary