Family abandoned patient at mum’s healing home since 1991 – Lady
A Lagos-based lady, Christiannah Nwokoro, tells OPEYEMI ADEFEMI about her mother’s efforts to locate the family of a patient with memory loss abandoned at her her facility since 1991
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Christiannah. My mum’s name is Mrs Nwokoro and she is from Agbor in Delta State. She runs a healing home for mentally ill persons in Lagos.
Recently, you said a family abandoned a patient in your mum’s facility and that the person has got well and has been staying with you for 31 years. What really happened?
The patient’s name is Maria; that is the only name we know her as. We call her Aunty Maria. She was brought to my mum for treatment in 1991. She was unconscious when they brought her in.
What was the nature of the sickness?
She was mentally ill.
How did she get abandoned for years?
It was her younger sister, who we knew as Ebere, that brought her in for treatment. Ebere was accompanied by her husband when Aunty Maria was brought in. They paid for treatment and they kept on coming to check on her. But after a while, they stopped coming to see her. So, my mum and my uncle traced the address they provided, which was in Ojuelegba in Lagos. On getting there, they met Ebere and her husband and queried why they stopped coming to see Aunty Maria. They apologised and promised that they would continue visiting. They came as promised but prior to their visit, my mum had reported the case to the police. Ebere’s husband was taken to the police station for questioning and he apologised again. He also promised to relay what was discussed at the police station to other family members. But that was the last day we saw him and Ebere. Since then, no one has come for Aunty Maria.
We have been going back and forth to police stations to report the case, but we’ve made no headway. We have even gone to radio stations, tried to contact chiefs from Abia State to see if they will know Aunty Maria or any member of her family. My mum has been speaking to Igbo people, particularly those from Abia State, to see if anyone will know Aunty Maria or her family.
It is not like my mum wants Aunty Maria taken away. Even the woman is not willing to go. My mum only wants to know the reason the family abandoned her. How would one have a relative somewhere, bonded by blood, and abandon them?
Ebere told her Aunty Maria is her elder sister. How will one abandon their sister like that ? It is not as if they don’t know the location of the healing house, even though we have moved from where we used to be. The healing home was formerly at Iju Ishaga but at some point we moved to Alagbado, where we currently are. And Ebere’s husband has been here. So, it is not as if they don’t know this place. That is why my mum is really bothered as to why the woman was abandoned. Mum is not complaining of feeding Aunty Maria or clothing her, she just wants the family to show up to say why they abandoned her.
What is the name of the healing home?
Nwokoro’s Healing House.
For how long was Aunty Maria treated before she got better?
She got better within one year of treatment.
Has she totally recovered now?
Yes, she has but she can’t remember much about her family. The only information she could supply was that her Aunty’s name is Rose, her brother is called Peter, her father’s name is John and that she is from Umuahia in Abia State. She also mentioned that she used to attend a Catholic Church. That is everything she can remember.
How old is she now?
We don’t know her real age but she should be around 60 years of age. The family members are the only ones that can give accurate information about her age.
What did the police say when the case was reported?
They only told us they would look for her family. Most people are saying that the only solution is to go to Abia State to search for her family but how to locate them in Abia is the challenge. Even when we made announcements on the radio, no one showed up. When we went back to look for Ebere’s husband the people we met there said they had moved and they don’t know where they moved to.