Mentally-Challenged Family Recover 6 Years After Roaming Streets
A family of five thought to be mentally-challenged after roaming the streets of Ogoja, a Local Government Area in Cross River State, are back to normal at a hospital.
It was gathered that Mr. Bernard Ogar – suspected to be in his mid-50s – his wife Blessing as well as his three children namely – Joshua, Joy and Ebenezer – lived like a nomadic group before a corps member, Progress Oberiko, brought the attention of the family to the public on social media.
Shortly after the photograph went viral, a rescue team from the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Calabar, swung into action and was able to take into custody the vagrant family from their make-shift tent in the outskirt of Ukpah in the Bekwarra LGA.
In a chat with The Punch, Dr. Essien Ekpe, the head of Clinical Services at the facility revealed that Ogar’s situation has been brought under control following his positive response to medications.
It was gathered that it was only Ogar, who was mentally unstable as the wife and three children were normal.
His words: “We got to know about this when we saw a post on social media that a family of five (vagrants) were just perambulating the area. After that, we got a call from the minister of health mandating us to do something about it.
“Immediately, the Medical Director in charge of the hospital directed me to arrange a team to bring them to Calabar.
“So, a crack team, led by Dr. Ndubuisi Ikedife, went to Ukpa and the whole family of five were brought here. The only altercation we had was the man, who though resisted, but was not violent. It was as if he had taken the vagrancy as a way of life.
“Reports reaching us indicate that he was a comfortable person in one small tent in a bare land. He had an attitude of not receiving anything from anybody, not even from those who wanted to help.
“He does not accept money but could direct one to where to buy food for him and he will accept the food.
“On getting to the hospital, we got more information regarding his history. We were told that he is a graduate of the University of Calabar; he read Mathematics.
“He was somewhere in Enugu State doing business and was doing well with all the indices of a progressing man.
“The family was intact. Somewhere along the line, it was learnt that the brother died and he lost his job – that was where his deterioration began. He was said to have relocated back to the village and he started living like a lunatic.
“The family found out and collected the first two children from him, but he still went on to procreate and that was how he gave birth to three. They have been living happily as vagrants.
“They are not all mentally ill, it is only the father that is mentally sick, but because of his influence, he wielded some power on them and they had to follow him all over the place the way he wanted.
“Otherwise, the children are like every other children jumping about with curiosity. The wife has been very quiet.
“At first, we thought she was very secretive, but further interview with her showed nothing. In just one week, the family has done very well.
“The man has become less delusional, but we are still keeping him because we noticed a form of over-valid idea.”
When asked what the next step could be after rehabilitation, Ekpe called on government and well-meaning individuals to provide shelter and means of livelihood for the Ogars.
“It is left for the government. The same government that showed interest in their rehabilitation should also show interest in resettling them because that will be the only thing that will help maintain the stability. He is becoming very stable and in just one week, he has done tremendously well.
“What will sustain them are good rehabilitation facilities from government. We would assist in the reintegration; but first, they must have somewhere to stay. These are the things needed to bring him back to normalcy,” he added.