The family of late Emmanuel Ugwu of Umuebiem, Agbamere community, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State,are rejoicing after their mentally-challenged mother, Victoria, who was hit by a vehicle became sane again.
The accident, which occurred at Ugwuawarawa in Nsukka, would have sent the 62-year-old mother of four to her grave, but instead it served as the beginning of her healing process from the protracted mental illness that bedeviled her.
For well over three decades, Mrs. Ugwu, popularly known as Mama Nnenna, has literally become mad, and many times gone stark naked as a result of her ill health. The woman who has been staying at Total Roundabout in Nsukka, attracted the attention of Daily Sun when for over three months her whereabouts could not be accounted for.
A source revealed that after the accident, Mrs. Ugwu was rushed to Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, by the driver of the car that hit her, though she refused all medical attention given to her by the hospital.
However, when Daily Sun visited her at GRA, Nsukka, where she is currently staying, she has changed from the dirty mad woman who specialized in collecting all sorts of dirty cloths and tying them around her waist, leg and head to a mentally stable mother. She was busy sweeping her room and cleaning her environment.
Mrs. Ugwu spoke in an emotive and hear-breaking voice:
“I am here suffering; I don’t know what I did to people that I am put in this kind of condition. I believe that what is happening to me is not ordinary. Somebody did this to me”.
When asked about the whereabouts of her husband, she said she has not seen him and could not tell where he was.
On further enquiry to ascertain what actually was wrong with her, Mrs Ugwu, a mother of six, though two out them were said to have passed on, said her problem started about 30 years ago and wondered why she was in such an agonising situation:
“I was down there (pointing at Ugwuawara side) picking food in a dustbin when two children met me and asked me to stop picking anything there. But later they asked me to continue picking. Then, I continued but I did not know when a vehicle came and hit me. It knocked me down and ran over me.”
She could not tell where she was taken to. It was gathered that the driver of the car, who was said to be on evangelism mission, rushed her to Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, where she was admitted for medical attention.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Ugwu was said to have left the hospital days later and found in a heap of refuse almost dead. Her neighbour, Mr. Paulinus Ezeaku, and his wife quickly took her out from the dirt to her residence.
Mrs. Ugwu’s daughter, Nnenna, explained that
“what happened to my mother can best be described as miraculous healing. I have never seen such a rapid healing. I am so happy that she is now recovering though we are currently facing challenges of getting money to buy her drugs regularly.
“Her drugs cost like N15,000 monthly but presently, I don’t have such kind of money. Even her feeding is becoming increasing difficult for me because I am the only person staying with her. I am just a staff of Nsukka Local Government Area and you know the salary is not forthcoming regularly.”
Asked where she has been when all these years her mother was ill:
“I have been with my uncle. Each and every time I came around Total filling station and saw her tattered and picking refuse from dumpsites, I always felt so bad. It was always heart rending and too difficult to imagine.”
“Her problem started as far back as 1984. She started by taking her children to the streets and refuse dump to pick some food. When her husband’s relations saw what was happening, they took the children away from her and she came back to stay with her husband who was then a driver with the local education authority.
“Few years after this, her husband disappeared and I alerted his relations about the development and they started looking for him. Later, they found him dead somewhere in Nsukka and took him to his village and buried him. Mrs Victoria continued living here all alone amassing all sorts of refuse to her house since all these three decades.”
On her present situation, Ezeaku:
“When we went to see her at the hospital after the accident and discovered that she couldn’t receive any medication from the hospital, I reported to the police for permission to take her back to her house and also to treat her using both orthodox and herbal medicines. I was given the permission and I brought her back here and since then, she has been getting better by the day.
“The only problem we have now is finance. I am a retired director in the Nsukka Local Government Education Authority. I have not received my gratuity neither has the government paid me pension since 2014 I retired. For this reason, I have no money to continue taking care of her medically and otherwise.”
Ezeaku, however, said some philanthropic individuals and organizations have made donations toward the upkeep of the woman, pointing out that since then, nobody has been willing to help her financially: “Her daughter, Nnenna is too young to carry such financial burden.”
He explained that for some weeks now, Mrs. Ugwu has not been taking any drugs due to lack of finance to buy the drugs, pointing out that she equally needs advance medical attention for further healing. He expressed optimism that Mrs. Ugwu’s problem would soon be over.
He said since the signs of insanity like hallucination and soliloquizing have stopped; and she was able to take her bath, use chewing stick in the morning and could exchange pleasantries with people, her future would be bright.
He, however, noted that the woman still requires continuous treatment as the sickness has stayed longer in her. “The drugs for schizophrenia and that of feeding is costly.”
It was also revealed that she has been battling with mental instability for the past 30 years and has lived the greater part of her life on the streets, fending for herself under the rain and scorching sun.