Judex Okoro, Calabar
Succour has come the way of the physically challenged persons in Cross River State as the oldest Lodge in Calabar has donated twelve wheel chairs to the Orthopedic Department of the University of Calabar as well as the General Hospital Calabar.
The Calabar Lodge 3434 EC, which was established on April 27, 1910, is one of the lodges that houses the freemasonry in NIgeria as well as the cradle of all Lodges in NIgeria. .
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that has both philosophical and social aspects and whose basic principles rest on a tripod of Brotherly love, Relief and Truth.
They are inextricably interwoven and interpret brotherly love and relief as charity and are also the oldest fraternity in existence, having survived for more than 300 years.
Speaking while donating six wheel chairs apiece to the Orthopedic Department, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and General Hospital, the Past Master of the Calabar Logde, HRH Muri Ekpo Eyo, said the gesture is charitable which is one of the tenets of the organization. He said the practice is also building on the foundations laid in 1919 by the illustrious predecessors of the organization and also celebrate the unique contributions of the Calabar Lodge 3434EC which blazed the trail for the formation of District Lodge of Nigeria and also hosted a peace treaty where money was raised for charity.
“It is important to point out that every kobo expended in the course of charity are contributions from members, building on the foundation laid in 1919 by our illustrious predecessors.
“Calabar Lodge 3434, was the Fifth English Lodge that was warranted in Nigeria, and the First established in the ancient city of Calabar in the former Eastern Nigeria.
“There were two remarkable events credited to the Lodge that distinguished it from the other five Lodges in existence then. At a very tender age of about 2 years old in 1912, Calabar Lodge was the second youngest English Lodge in the country out of six. But the young Lodge blazed the trail when it initiated a proposal for the formation of the District Grand Lodge of Nigeria.
“The next event was in the evening of Tuesday 5th April 1919 when the Lodge hosted a Unification Meeting of all Masonic Lodges in Calabar, comprising, English, Irish and Scottish Constitutions.
“The meeting was well attended by all Brethren within reach of Calabar, atleast to witness and celebrate the signing of the Peace Treaty. During the meeting, a significant sum of Fifty Pounds, Fifteen Shillings (£50.15d.) was raised for Charity and this was in Aid of the Masonic War Hospital.
“The occasion marked the beginning of Charity Projects of the Lodge. The Wheelchairs we are donating today, were purchased through contributions from members of this Lodge as well as contributions from our own Right Worshipful Bro. Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, the District Grand Master of Nigeria, English Constitution”, he said.
He said the practice of charity, particularly assistance to institutions that care for patients, is a practice Freemasons are known for all over the world and this underscores the basis of their assistance to these public health institutions.
Responding, the Chief Medical Director of Universirty of Calabar, UCTH, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme, represented by The Chairman Medical Advisory Council, CMAC, Prof Okpo Ngim, commended the organisation for their gesture at this critical time when the hospital is facing great challenge.
Ikpeme said:”We several the poorest of the poor and it is a big challenge because this is the apex hospital in Cross River. Sometimes we receive patients from Cameroon because of our expertise and influx of refugees.
“Here we see old patients struggling to move around. So this wheel chairs would really help the patients. It is a welcome development and we would make use of it for the benefits of the patients.”
Describing the donation as a Christmas gift, the Medical Supritendent of the Cross River General Hospital, Dr Etim Ayi, represented by the Hospital Administrator, Dr Etta Eleng, said:” We dont have any wheel chair here and these six donated to us is a life saving facility.
“We thank the Freemason for partnering with our hospital and filling the gap. These wheel chairs would really go a long way to assisting our patients.”